Betting on hockey can be very exciting, as surprises happen very often, and the odds are generally excellent, especially in countries where this sport is popular.
That said, sometimes betting on hockey, especially the HNL, isn’t very profitable, as the odds are tight because the favorite is evident or the bet isn’t very enticing because of the specificity of the matchup.
This is where puck line bets can come in very handy.
They open up more diverse betting possibilities than you would have with regular moneyline bets. In this guide, we’ll discuss how puck line betting works and how you can use it to make money betting on hockey.
What is the Puck Line Meaning in Hockey?
Before we can discuss how puck line betting works in hockey and go over the best tips for betting on puck lines, we should firstly cover the meaning of puck line.
In simple words, a puck line is a spread bet in hockey. It works similar to handicap betting in other sports. It’s one of the main types of bets you can exercise when betting on hockey.
For example, let’s say that you want to bet on a specific match, but one team clearly being the favorite and the other the underdog means that making a standard win bet just isn’t very profitable.
The next best option is to place a puck line bet.
In this scenario, the favorite will have a negative number (for example, -1.5) before their line, while the underdog will have a positive number (in this case +1.5) before their line.
If you make a puck line bet on the favorite, they need to win by two or more goals for you to win the bet. On the other hand, if you bet on the underdog, they mustn’t lose by more than one goal for you to win the puck line bet.
This added handicap increases the odds on the favorite and lowers the odds on the underdog but provides you with a more realistic option to bet on.
The example from above is just a basic guide, as oddsmakers calculate the odds depending on each matchup and the popularity of the betting market at the moment.
How to Read Puck Line Betting Odds
To be successful at puck line betting, you also must know how to read puck line betting odds.
With this in mind, let’s go over another example, this time including puck line odds and the size of the bet as contributing factors.
Just for the sake of this example, let’s say that the Canadiens are playing the Canucks. The odds on -2.5 on the Canadiens are -175, while on the Canucks +2.5 are +155.
In this particular case, the oddsmakers are giving the Canucks a very solid goal padding of +2.5. In other words, for you to win the bet, the Canucks need to win or not lose by more than two goals.
If you bet on the Canadiens at -2.5, they have to win by at least three goals, which can be challenging.
The other numbers help you assess how much money you can expect if you take either puck line bet. If you decide to bet $100 on the Canadiens at -175, you’ll get a total of just over $157 if they clear the puck line number.
This includes your initial $100 stake and the $57 profit.
Conversely, if you bet the same amount on the Canucks at +155 and they win the game or lose by two goals or less, you’ll win $255. This includes your $100 bet and a solid profit of $155.
This is basically it when it comes to reading puck line betting odds, and the same principle applies to every puck line bet you can place. The only slight differences will be in the specific odds you’ll be betting at.
Of course, if you’re a beginner and struggle to fully grasp this concept, you can always use a free online odds calculator.
An odds calculator is a convenient tool that can help you understand how much you can expect to win based on your bet size and the odds you want to bet on.
When Should You Place Puck Line Bets
With everything above in mind, puck line odds seem very interesting. That said, this also draws another question, which we’ve kind of touched on previously.
When should you place puck line bets?
The simplest and most effective answer is to place puck line bets when these bets seem more profitable than regular moneyline bets.
When the odds are too much in one team’s favor, a puck line bet can help you bet on the favorite for more profit or make a more secure bet on the underdog at slightly reduced odds.
How to Place Puck Line Bets
Since hockey games often finish very close or have a clear favorite, placing puck line bets is often the most profitable way of betting on this sport.
If you know how to pick and place puck line bets, you’ve already done most of the work. To help you out, he’s a quick and straightforward guide on how to place puck line bets:
1. Pick the Games You Want to Bet On
The first step to every sports bet, and the puck line bet as well, is to pick a handful of games that you would further research and consider betting on.
In this step, you’re just trying to find the right matchups and pick the ones that would provide you with a good value for a puck line bet.
Ideally, these should be teams you know and follow, or can easily learn the useful latest information on before betting.
2. Filter the Bets with the Best EV Odds
Since hockey is not a very popular sport in most countries outside of the US, you can easily find very generous odds with a bit of research.
This is because not many sports bettors bet on this sport, and therefore oddsmakers don’t put in a lot of effort into tailoring the odds.
If you’re a fan of hockey in general, you’ll have a great edge over punters who are only betting for best values.
With a bit of work, you can filter out the matchups that provide you with the best-expected value for your bet and take advantage of favorable betting lines.
3. Compare Different Betting Sites
Once you’ve chosen the games you want to bet on, it’s time to compare the odds at several betting sites.
This will allow you to gain that extra edge on top, as different sportsbooks often have different odds based on their estimates.
This is a relatively quick step to complete, and you can even use an HNL bookmaker odds comparison site to directly see which betting site would offer you the best odds for your selections.
4. Determine the Size of Your Wager
Once you’ve found the puck line games you want to bet on and compared the odds at multiple betting sites, you can proceed with making the bet.
This is also the step in which you should decide how much you want to wager.
Ideally, you should never stake more than five percent of your total sports betting bankroll. If you don’t have a dedicated betting bankroll, make sure only to bet the amount you can afford to lose.
5. Check Your Selections and Place Your Puck Line Bet
The last step in this puck line betting process is to double-check whether you’ve chosen the right betting selections and inputted the right amount of money for your bet.
After that, you can confirm your puck line bet. Some betting sites will automatically accept your bet, while others will prompt you to confirm one last time before they process your bet.
Handy Tips for Puck Line Betting
Just like every other type of bet includes some tips and strategies you need to remember to bet more efficiently, puck line betting also has some tricks you can employ to increase your winning chances. Here are a few top tips for puck line betting:
Never Skip on the Research
We can’t stress enough the importance of doing research when betting on puck lines. This is the key determinant for making intelligent bets.
Specifically speaking, this includes following the latest trends, the two team’s latest form, lineups, and any suspensions and injuries.
For example, even knowing a little detail like which goalie is starting for the game can give you a massive edge when puck line betting.
The best way to do so is to regularly read updates and tips from several sources to make sure you know any news and changes.
Don’t Shy Away From Shopping Around
As we’ve highlighted in the step-by-step puck line betting guide above, odds shopping is an integral part of the puck line betting experience.
For every puck line bet you place, it’s natural to make sure that you get the most for your money.
This is especially important in this sport, as sometimes there are huge odds discrepancies between bookies.
Of course, if you don’t have a betting account with a particular online sportsbook that offers the best odds, you will need to sign up. But, these few minutes of your extra time can potentially mean a lot more money in your pocket.
Always Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Puck line bets are undoubtedly a great betting market but should be enjoyed with care. As with other handicap bets and accumulator bets, it’s important to focus on finding the best betting options rather than spreading your attention across many games.
For this reason, we recommend you place single bets on the puck line or stick with accumulator bets that don’t have more than a couple of puck line selections.
When betting on puck lines, the quality of choice always trumps quantity, especially in the long run.
Puck Line Betting Conclusion
Puck line bets have become very popular since they were introduced into hockey betting. This is for a good reason, as they provide hockey bettors with an excellent alternative to traditional bets that sometimes aren’t very tempting due to their odds.
And, winning puck line bets can certainly be very profitable. That said, it also requires a good bit of research and proper betting habits.
But, with the tips and tricks we’ve shared with you in this puck line betting guide, you’ve put yourself in a great position to make smart and well-educated puck line bets that give you the best winning chances.
Remember the key points from this post, bet responsibly, and enjoy this exciting hockey betting market!
Puck Line Betting FAQ
No, if an NHL game goes to overtime, the puck line bet ends. So, if your puck line is settled by overtime, you win the bet. If you were losing the puck line bet when the game went into overtime, you automatically lose the bet.
Although these two types of hockey bets sound similar, there are significant differences between them.
Most notably, the moneyline bet involves betting on a hockey team to win a game outright. In contrast, puck line bets include a margin of victory you need to take into account to determine whether you win or lose.
Yes, you can place puck line bets on live hockey games, even in later game stages. This can be a lucrative bet, especially if you’re betting on -2.5 puck lines.
However, there is a limit to when you can place this bet, which usually runs out when there are around three minutes left in the game.
A three-way puck line bet is just an additional form of the puck line bet, which includes a draw as the possible outcome.
This can be a great bet, especially as it generally applies an even bigger handicap to the favorite team than regular puck line bets.