Betting the NHL Puck Line

Let’s talk about betting the NHL puck line.

Key Points

  • The NHL puck line is hockey’s version of the point spread.
  • There are advantages to betting the puck line over the moneyline.

The standard betting options when placing wagers on a traditional sport like football, basketball, etc. are moneyline bets, point spread bets, and totals bets. 

These wagers exist in NHL hockey, but point spread betting is a little different. In hockey, there is less scoring than in sports like football and basketball. That is why moneyline betting is more popular among NHL bettors.

You can still bet on the spread in hockey. It’s just called something different – the puck line.


What Is the NHL Puck Line?

The puck line is simply the spread in NHL hockey. The puck line, like the run line in MLB, is set at a particular number because of the lack of scoring in hockey games.

The NHL puck line is -1.5 for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog. The juice, or vig, will vary depending upon the abilities of each team, injury reports, and other factors. 

To cover the spread, a favorite will have to win by two goals. An underdog covers if it loses by one goal or wins the game outright. Let’s take a look at an example from America’s Bookie to help the explanation.

Penguins -115 -1.5 (+180)

Flyers +105 +1.5 (-220)

In this case, Pittsburgh is a -115 favorite over rival Philadelphia. A $115 bet on the Penguins to win will pay $100 if they do so, regardless of the score. A $100 bet on the Flyers on the moneyline will return $105 if they pull the upset and win.

Essentially, this game gives almost equal return on either side of the bet making it a toss up. However, there is value on the puck line.


The Puck Line Bet

Notice that if you like the Penguins to win by at least two goals, your $100 bet will pay out $180. That makes sense as it is a little tougher to win by two goals than simply win by one. 

Likewise, you have the option of betting the Flyers on the puck line. A $220 bet would pay out $100 at your online sportsbook. Remember, it is easier to keep a game within a goal and there’s always the possibility of the upset. 

Puck Line or Moneyline?

There is no simple answer to the question. There are times when it is more beneficial to bet on the moneyline and there are situations where the puck line makes more sense. Taking a long look at scores and odds from recent games can be an indicator.

Oftentimes, the answer comes down to the individual bettor. One instance where betting the puck line makes sense is when there is little value on the underdog on the moneyline. That indicates the favorite can win by two goals.

Betting the favorite on the puck line will likely give you the opportunity to win a higher profit as well. You will find better prices on strong moneyline favorites on the puck line. 

Another puck line strategy involves live betting. When a favorite has a one goal lead late in a game, the underdog or losing team often will pull its goalie. Favorites often end up covering a 1.5-point spread with a late empty-net goal. 

Betting the puck line can be fun and profitable i