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What is Puck Line Betting?



In Hockey, a unique betting method is known as puck line betting which you won’t see for other sports. This betting method is popularly known as spread betting or handicap betting, but when it comes to hockey, it is called the puck line. 

Let’s understand everything there is to know about this puck line betting, how it works, and its tips and strategies. 

What is Puck Line in Hockey Betting?

When betting on major sports like the NBA or NFL, there are three major betting options: the spread, the moneyline and the over/under bet.

  • A point spread bet introduces a spread which allows the house to offer close to even money on your wager despite any discrepancies between teams. 
  • A moneyline in betting means you simply bet your money on a team which will win the game outright. The odds are set by the sports on which team is the underdog and which one is the favourite. 
  • The over and under meaning is a bet is placed on whether a specific statistic for a game will be higher or lower than a pre-agreed value. 

Most casual betters understand the idea of a point spread, which can be defined as the puck line in hockey. The difference is that instead of using the term “point spread,” the term “puck line” is used. 

What is a Puck Line Bet?

The puck line is used by bookmakers to even the odds of a hockey game. It gives the bettors the option of backing both teams with an even scope of winning. The puck line is considered -1.5 goals for the favourite and +1.5 for the underdog for every game in hockey. 

The favourite must win by two goals, and the underdog can either win or lose by one goal. By betting the puck line, bettors can either take a favourite at an increased payout or increase the chances of winning their underdog bet. 

Let’s consider the following example to understand hockey bets better:

TeamsMoneylinePuck Line
Team A-114-1.5 (+185)
Team B+104+1.5 (-225)

So, in this scenario, Team A is the favourite to win the game at -114 on the moneyline. In simple terms, it would take a $114 bet to win $100. The +104 odds on Team B indicate that a $100 bet would win $104. However, since both the bet prices are fairly close to an even return this game is seen as a near toss-up. 

If you consider puck line betting, you have the option to bet on whether Team A will win by more than one goal or Team B will keep the score within a goal or win directly. In the puck line betting method, a win by more than two goals is more than a win, therefore, Team A would come at a payout of +185 ($100 wins $185).

On the other hand, Team B is listed at -225 ($225 wins $100), as keeping the game within one goal significantly increases the chances of winning the bet. 

How Does the Puck Line Bet Work?

A puck line is essentially the hockey version of a point spread. However, there are some minor differences which set it apart from the standard point spread that you may see in the NBA and NFL. 

The most common difference is that puck lines for hockey are always set to 1.5, where -1.5 is for the favourite and +1.5 for the underdog. This aspect is in contrast with point spread where the exact number can greatly vary. 

Another critical difference between point spread and puck line betting is that in the former, the spread itself accounts for the disparities and matchups between teams almost entirely. Because of this, many sportsbooks generally offer close to even odds on point spread bets. 

When it comes to point spread betting, a sportsbook aims to gain more money wagered on both sides. So, regardless of the outcome, most sportsbooks are able to collect a percentage cut from the bettor’s winnings due to the -11- (or close to it) odds on either side. Therefore, as long as the money is close to 50/50 on both sides, the sportsbook ends up profiting.

However, hockey is a low-scoring sport due to which puck lines cannot account for true discrepancies between teams. In this case, the favourites are -1.5 and the underdogs are +1.5. So, some teams are quite evenly matched, while others are not. Despite this, the puck line remains the same, whatever the matchup.

So, as a bettor, you will often see that puck lines have a spread involved along with wildly different odds on both sides. On the contrary, you will notice that this is not the case when it comes to placing bets for the NBA and NFL.


Now, puck line betting is mainly of two types. Let’s understand each of these types with an example:

  • 2-Way Puck Line Bet

Let’s assume that the Detroit Red Leafs are playing the Calgary Flames. The Red Leafs enter the game as favourites, while the Calgary Flames are the betting underdogs. 

The 2-way puck line market on the sportsbook would look like:

  • Detroit Red Leafs (-1.5)
  • Calgary Flames (+1.5)

If you bet on the Red Leafs in the puck line market, they need to win the game by two or more goals for your bet to be a winner. If you bet on the Flames, then your bet is a winner if they win or lose the game by one goal. 

But what happens in the case of overtime and shootouts? 

If you are betting on the 2-way puck line and a game goes to overtime, then your bet has already been decided. The reason is, in hockey, over time is over once a single goal is scored. Similarly, if the game goes to a shootout, then it is also decided by a single goal.

Therefore, if you bet on the favourite, you cannot win your puck line bet once the game goes to overtime. This is because the team needs to win by two clear goals for your bet to win. So, if you back the underdog and a game goes to overtime, your bet is guaranteed to be the winner. 

  • 3-Way Puck Line Bet

A 3-way puck line is another form of puck line betting where another outcome, the draw, is included. The 3 way line market is useful if you want to apply an even bigger handicap to the favourites or provide a sort of buffer when betting on the underdog. 

It is a good market to bet on if you think one team will easily win the game, sometimes by three or more goals. When the draw is included, the spread in the 3-way puck line is always a round number instead of a decimal. 

For instance, when the Detroit Red Leafs are the clear favourites over the Calgary Flames, the 3-way puck line market may look like:

  • Detroit Red Leafs (-2)
  • Draw (-2)
  • Calgary Flames (+2)

So, if you bet on the Red Leafs, then they must win by three or more goals for your bet to have a favourable outcome. And, if you back the Flames, then they must win or lose by one or fewer goals for your bet to be the winner. Lastly, if you bet on the draw, then your bet comes in if the Red Leafs win by exactly two goals.

Should You Bet on Puck Line or Moneyline?

The moneyline is the simplest type of wager you can place in a hockey game where you are betting on the team who may win the game outright. On the other hand, puck line betting, the hockey version of a point spread, covers the favourite (-1.5 in most cases) and the underdog (+1.5).

When it comes to betting, there is no sure-shot answer of which bet can lead to long-term profits. It ultimately depends on the odds you are able to obtain on any wager. The puck line bet may offer you more value depending on the situation, and vice versa.

In puck line betting, the spread in addition to the plus (+) and minus(-) odds provides the opportunity to make some advanced odds calculations. Plus, the importance of overtime and empty net goals add factors to this betting form.

Since bettors tend to be attracted to greater payouts, puck line bets are more usually used on favourites while moneyline bets are used on underdogs. If you consider past data, both wagers are similar in their net results on average. Ultimately, it would depend on how well you can place the bets by considering the aspects of the game. 

Puck Line Betting Tips and Strategies

If you are thinking of betting on the puck line, keep the following tips in mind to give yourself more opportunities for winning:

  • Analyse the Odds: 

Consider the odds on both sides because the odds significantly vary in hockey games. The value of getting or giving goals via the puck line compared to the odds you are receiving plays a key role. Use this to find odd inefficiencies to exploit.

  • Consider Overtime: 

Overtime may frequently occur in a hockey game because of its low-scoring nature. Once a game is in overtime, a team cannot win by more than one goal. Since a favourite must win by at least two goals, therefore, there is less inherent value on puck-line favourites in hockey. In this case, the underdog wins on the puck line regardless of the team who wins. 

  • Consider Empty Net Goals: 

When overtime occurs, the underdog highly benefits from it. But you also need to consider the empty net goals which have the opposite effect in times of late goals. Consider a team is down by one goal. It will pull its goalie in an attempt to gain a skater advantage to score a net goal to tie in. 

This leaves their net open, meaning that the winning team will most often score an empty net goal to go up by two. Therefore, the puck line bet on an underdog will go from winning to losing in this instance. 

  • Observe the Starting Lineups:

Starting goalies and line combinations are announced in hockey fairly close to game time, particularly line combos. A resting goalie means the backup will be starting. This can have a massive impact on the game with the possibility of changing its outcome. 

Moreover, injuries and teams trying out different combinations of hockey lines should also be considered before placing a bet.

How to Place a Puck Line Bet?

Now that you understand what a puck line is, you can use this knowledge to place a puck line bet at a leading online sportsbook of your choice. Although the process of using the sportsbook may differ based on which sportsbook you pick, you need to follow the below steps to place this bet:

Step 1: Register and sign up for an account in a leading online sportsbook. If you already have an account, simply sign in. 


Step 2: Find the hockey section and assess the games and available puck line options. 

Step 3: Select a puck line wager you would like to place. 

Step 4: After you have placed your wager, your selection will populate on the bet slip of the sportsbook. Select an amount that you would like to wager and place your bet. 

And you are all set!


Thus, puck line betting in hockey is similar to point spread betting with a few differences. You need to understand the mechanism of how this bet works before placing your bet on a hockey game. Learn the point spread system, observe how the game works and implement the necessary strategies to successfully win the bet!