What is puck line betting?
Puck line betting is a method of betting on hockey. It is one of the most popular markets for hockey betting.
Puck line betting is more commonly known as spread betting, or handicap betting. It is only known as puck line when betting on hockey.
Puck line is used by bookmakers to essentially even the odds of a hockey game, giving bettors the option of backing both teams with a relatively even chance of winning.
How does puck line betting work?
Puck line betting works through the application of a spread, or handicap, to a hockey game.
This means that the team that are favourites to win will start at a disadvantage, and the underdogs will start with an advantage.
While the spread in other sports varies a lot depending on which teams are involved, the puck line in hockey betting is always 1.5.
On the sportsbook, the favourite will be denoted by a minus sign (-) followed by 1.5. This means that 1.5 will be subtracted from their final score at the end of the game.
So, if you back a favourite on the puck line, they need to win by two or more goals for your bet to come in. This is known as covering the spread.
The underdog, meanwhile, will be denoted by a plus sign (+) followed by 1.5. This means that 1.5 will be added to their final score at the end of the game.
If you back the underdog and they lose the game by just one goal, then your bet is a winner. Backing the underdog in puck line or spread betting is known as betting against the spread.
An example of a puck line bet
To help you understand puck line betting more easily, here is an example.
Let’s say the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Ottawa Senators.
The Leafs enter the game as clear favourites, with the Senators the betting underdogs.
The puck line market on the sportsbook would look something like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs (-1.5) Ottawa Senators (+1.5)
If you back Toronto in the puck line market, they must win the game by two or more goals for your bet to be a winner.
If you were to back the Senators, then your bet is a winner if they win or lose the game by one goal.
Do puck line bets include overtime?
If you are betting on the puck line and a game goes to overtime, then the result of your bet has already been decided. This is because overtime in hockey is over once a single goal is scored.
So, if you backed the favourite, you cannot win your puck line bet once a game goes to overtime, as they need to win by two clear goals for your bet to win.
Therefore, if you back the underdog and a game goes to overtime, your bet is guaranteed to be a winner.
What is 3-way puck line betting?
There is another form of puck line betting called 3-way puck line in which another outcome – the draw – is introduced.
The 3-way puck line market is useful if you want to apply an even bigger handicap to the favourites or provide more of a buffer when backing the underdog.
It is a good market to bet on if you think a team is going to win a game easily – sometimes by three goals or more.
An example of a 3-way puck line bet
To help you understand 3-way puck line betting, let’s take the example from above.
With a draw included as an outcome you can bet on, the spread in the 3-way puck line market is always a round number instead of a decimal.
With the Toronto Maple Leafs being clear favourites over the Ottawa Senators, the 3-way puck line market may look something like this:
Toronto Maple Leafs (-2) Draw (-2) Ottawa Senators (+2)
If you back Toronto, then they must win by three or more goals for your bet to come in.
If you back Ottawa, then they must win or lose by one or fewer goals for your bet to be a winner.
If you back the draw, then your bet comes in if Toronto win by exactly two goals.
3-way puck line bets do not include overtime.
Visit Betway’s NHL betting page.