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Hockey Betting Guide: NHL Pucklines

From the preseason to the summer months, where teams stock up on new players and rid their rosters of bad fits, you have different betting options available. The NHL is rife with more bet types than you can shake a stick at – a hockey stick, obviously. One of these wagering options is the very popular puckline.

What is a Puckline Bet?

The puckline is hockey’s version of the point spread and similar to baseball’s runline. For the NHL, oddsmakers give the underdog an advantage of 1.5 goals while disadvantaging the favorite by 1.5 goals. The line is adjusted accordingly based on how strong the fave is and how weak the dog is.

The reason this type of NHL bet only uses 1.5 goals is because hockey games are not high-scoring affairs. The most goals scored by a National Hockey League team is 16, when the Montreal Canadiens put on a clinic over the Quebec Bulldogs in March of 1920. However, this is generally not the case as NHL teams have averaged 2.95 goals per game over the last five years. The most common outcome is a 3-2 final.

How to Read Puckline Odds

At your sports betting site of choice, puckline odds would look something like this:

Detroit Red Wings -1.5 (-175)

Toronto Maple Leafs +1.5 (+150)

In this scenario, oddsmakers are giving the Leafs padding of 1.5 goals because Toronto would have to win the game outright or not lose by more than two. As for the Red Wings, they would need to win the game by two goals or more to cover their line.

The numbers in brackets are what you use to calculate how much you’d win. Let’s say you were to bet $100 on this game. If you take the Wings at -175 and they did win by two goals, you’d get a payout of $157.14 – your $100 comes back along with your winnings of $57.14.

If you were to take the other side of that bet, and the Leafs either won the game or didn’t lose by more than two, you’d get $250 – your original $100 is returned plus your winnings of $150.

Our Odds Calculator will show you exactly how much you’d win based on the odds and amount wagered.

What’s the Difference Between the Puckline and the Moneyline?

Although both betting types have the word “line” in them, they are vastly different. The moneyline requires you to pick a team to win outright, whereas puckline betting relies on goals scored and not on wins and losses.

Another bet that often gets confused with this betting option is a totals wager. This bet requires you to choose if the combined score of both teams will go OVER or UNDER the oddsmaker’s set number, not if a squad will win or lose by two goals.

When to Bet the Puckline

There are instances where this kind of betting makes more sense than taking the moneyline or making a totals or spread bet. When there is a strong appeal in wagering on the favorite on the oddsboard and little value on the underdog, a puckline bet could net you more profit. By betting on the favorite to win by two or more goals, you can get the likely winner of the game at a reduced price.

Hockey Bet Parlays

This wager combines two or more individual wagers into one bet. Parlays are like smoothies, except you’re not adding protein powder or almond milk, you’re adding a puckline wager on a team to win by two or more goals and/or any other type of hockey bet. Furthermore, hockey bettors can pair a puckline bet with other NHL bets or even other sports like baseball, football and basketball. However, in order for your parlay bet to cash out, all bets on the ticket need to win.

We have a Parlay Calculator that gives you an idea of what you’d win based on each bet’s odds and total amount wagered. You can add up to 100 bets, but we do not recommend creating parlay tickets like that because you are severely hindering your chances of winning.

Handicapping NHL Betting

Winning NHL pucklines requires good money management and, of course, a little bit of research. The great hockey pages here at Odds Shark will take care of the research part. Before betting on the NHL, look at our Odds, Betting Trends, Consensus, Offensive and Defensive stats, and Free Picks pages to ensure you’re making an educated wager. We have the handicapping tools needed for you to determine if you’re taking the right side of a two-goal game. It could mean the difference between making Sidney Crosby dollars and Phil Kessel cash*.

*Not an actual unit of currency. Do not go to your bank and ask for 30 Phil Kessels. You will be disappointed.