Hockey is a sport that sees lots of participation in North America and Europe and makes inroads in countries with no winter to speak of. Men and women play hockey, and worldwide, 1.6MM play the game. It is a rough and bruising sport, with players often attaining speeds – while skating – of 30 mph.
Many professional leagues govern the sport, and the Olympics is the ultimate accomplishment for the amateur player. With all these players and games being played, it only makes sense that sports bettors would be paying attention and making sports bets on the outcome of games. One frequently common bet is on the puck line, and at My Top Sportsbooks, we will fill the net with facts for puck line betting so that you can shoot and score on your betting slip.
The NHL Puck Line
Puck line betting on NHL games is akin to betting on a point spread betting in other sports – think NFL point spreads here – but there are some subtle differences between the puck line betting odds and a point spread bet. When choosing a betting vehicle, the puck line often has better odds than the Moneyline for the same game.
When betting, the puck line poses unique strategic considerations – betting strategy – that we will illuminate through this article. Like the NFL point spread, the puck line is the most popular NHL bet in the regular season and playoffs. Betting on the puck line is like betting against the spread or placing a bet with the run line in baseball.
Puck Line, NHL Point Spread Betting, a Little Bit
Hockey games are generally tight matchups; you don’t see too many 8-1 blowouts in NHL games. Most games are low-scoring affairs, making for rigid odds with the puck line set at 1.5 or -1.5. You can get alternate puck lines that run higher than 1.5, with payouts corresponding to the higher odds.
The favorite on the puck line always has the negative sign, and the underdog always has the plus sign to indicate the odds from the oddsmakers. If you bet on the favorite (-1.5), you are telling the world that you think the favorite will win by two goals. If you bet on the underdog (+1.5), you are saying that you believe the underdog will lose by a goal or win outright. Using a half goal in the odds all but eliminates a push or tie as the final outcome.
NHL betting sites or online sportsbooks want to avoid the tie. The half-goal hook assured that there would be one true outcome a win or a loss on the puck line. To uncomplicate things, look at a puck line bet this way as a betting option: at the end of a game, add 1.5 goals to the underdog total and subtract 1.5 goals from the favorite total to determine winning bets.
Betting on The Puck Line, Why?
As a value bet, the puck line offers much better odds with much bigger payouts than the Moneyline bet or a straight-up bet. The puck line is the great equalizer between two teams with substantial talent differences. Once you have handicapped the difference between teams, the sportsbooks can attract action on both teams, and you make a smarter bet.
You want to make a wager on the favorite, only to find out that the Moneyline odds on the Moneyline are working against you – too much money bet on the favorite – and the sportsbook has skewered the odds to attract action to the underdog. Betting on the puck line in this instance, you will find much better odds – but the caveat here is the favorite must win by two goals. If the game looks tight on paper, you can take the underdog with a single-goal margin of error, reducing your risk of play.
Experts Tips for Puck Line Strategy Betting
On the surface, hockey might look like a brutal game. Equipment-clad players using hockey sticks like weapons and body checks to drive opponents through the boards are what you see when watching hockey. But for the sports bettor, hockey is a data-driven game that relies on statistical information to pick a winner. Metrics like coaching, goaltending, injuries, puck possession, quality of scoring chances and shots on goal, all contribute to hockey betting strategy.
One thing you should be aware of when betting on hockey is a team’s travel schedule; it influences game results. Hockey bettors should look at puck line odds at Draftkings, Fanduel, BetMGM, or Caesars, check for a promo on their online sports betting app and add a player prop to make a parlay bet on the puck line.
Travel Schedules and How they Affect the Home and Road Team
A home team with the benefit of a few days’ rest waiting for a road team to show up is a huge advantage. Especially if the road team is on an extended road trip – 7 games in 12 nights, coming off back-to-back games – makes for a weary road club. Hockey teams play multiple games per week, which is extremely physical – lots of wear and tear to the body. Travel compounds the lethargy, and a tired team, even if favored, is a bad bet when they will be gassed at the end of the road trip.
National Game Telecasts Add Some Jump to Player’s Legs
The Toronto Maple Leafs were an awful mess in the decade between 2000-2010. They lost many more games than they won and perennially missed the playoffs in a league where almost everybody makes the playoffs. When the bright lights of a national game telecast hit the Blue and White, they tendered a solid effort and looked like world-beaters in the process. The same holds true for many teams across the NHL, like the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Penguins of Pittsburgh or the New Jersey Devils, or San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens like to shine on Hockey Night in Canada