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NHL Puck Line Bets

Regardless of the sport, it is never possible for two teams to be 100% evenly matched. There is always at least a slight difference between the skills and current condition of competitors which oddsmakers need to somehow equalize. To their aid comes the point spread that serves as a handicap between the opponents. Although this type of betting is found in different disciplines and is subject to similar principles, for some sports it has specific characteristics and comes with non-identical names. For example, in baseball, the spread is referred to as the run line, while in ice hockey it is called the puck line.

The spread indicates the number of goals a team needs to win by for the bet to be settled as a winning one. Online bookmakers tend to adjust expectations so that it is not enough for the favorite to just win. In the NHL, puck lines are almost always set to 1.5 since it is extremely rare for a game to finish with a goal difference of 2 or more. Puck line betting is advantageous from punters’ point of view as it provides more profitable odds than the moneyline betting market.

NHL Puck Line Bets Explained

If you plan to start placing NHL puck line bets you need to be sure you perfectly understand the concept of spread betting in relation to hockey. It may sound a little complicated so let’s first look at an example.

Winnipeg JetsPuck LineNew York Rangers
+ 1.5
(- 142)
– 1.5
(+ 118)

In the above game from the National Hockey league, the New York Rangers are considered favorites with a puck line of – 1.5. What this means is that if you have placed your wager on that particular spread and the team wins by 2 or more goals, your bet will be successful. In this case, you will win $118 for a stake of $100. If however, the favorite achieves a victory with one goal only or suffers a loss, you will lose your stake. Those who decide to back the underdog with their real-money bets have more options to enjoy a win. Wagers on the Winnipeg Jets will be successful if the Canadian squad either wins the game with a one-goal difference or is defeated by the New York Rangers.

Statistically, placing bets on the underdogs provides you with a massive advantage not only due to the fact they perform better in the NHL than in many other major sports leagues but also because of the often occurring difference in the score of a maximum of 1 goal. Let’s also not forget that according to overtime rules, the first team to score wins, so there is no way for the game to finish with a big goal difference. Of course, it is not impossible for a hockey team to “explode” and win with 2 or more goals, but as far as the expected probability is concerned, betting on the minimum 1-goal difference is preferred.

Odds Movement and Alternate Spreads

In brief, the aim of online sportsbooks is with every bet to get the same amount of activity on each side of the game, add a small percentage on top, and thus win money, no matter who the winner is. As puck lines are usually fixed, one way to level the field is to change the odds in an attempt to direct the wagered amounts to one NHL team or another.

This approach of encouraging or discouraging betting enthusiasts is not universally applied by all bookies. Many betting operators prefer offering alternative spreads and there are two ways to do it. Some shift the puck line once they notice the prevailing number of bets are placed on one of the options. Do not worry if the spread is changed after you have confirmed your wager. Once you make a bet, you remain locked in that particular point value. On the other hand, there are bookmakers who have included several different puck lines in the selection of betting markets they provide. Logically, the less likely a result is, the more favorable the odds. In the below table, you can see a comparison of three separate puck lines with the respective betting odds.

SpreadAlternate Spread 1Alternate Spread 2
Winnipeg Jets+ 1.5
(- 142)
+ 2.5
(- 260)
– 1.5
(+ 470)
New York Rangers– 1.5
(+ 118)
– 2.5
(+ 205)
+ 1.5
(+ 700)

As regards Alternate Spread 1, the principle of bet settlement remains the same with the only difference being the goal gap you need to have in mind. If you think the New York Rangers are in superb form and their top scorer Artemi Panarin will lead the team to a high-score victory, you should try betting on the – 2.5 puck line. If the underdog allows 3 or more goals in its net and scores nothing, you will add $205 to your bankroll compared to just $118 with the original spread. The most lucrative payout comes with Alternate Spread 2 which however indicates the least likely result. For your bet on New York Rangers to be considered successful, the team must be defeated by 2 or more goals.

NHL Puck Line Betting Tips

Whether you are practicing sports betting just for fun or your goal is to earn a significant income, the puck betting tips we have prepared for you will undoubtedly contribute to a better result than that of punters who rely solely on intuition or good luck. If you have set yourself high goals and want to improve your chances of winning, you need to spend some time and get acquainted with the basics of the National Hockey League as a tournament to bet on. Patience today will pay off tomorrow, there is no doubt about that. Once you are confident in your knowledge, just try to put it into practice, starting with small bets. If you follow the below simple tips, over time, you will adjust to the field of NHL betting and puck lines in particular.

  1. Check the matchup history
    Regardless of their current form, when certain NHL teams step on the ice, we are witnessing fireworks. Other squads choose to set explosiveness aside and rely primarily on strategic outplay. There is no way to know for sure how the upcoming match will go, but a look back at the last few meetings between the relevant contenders will help you have at least an idea of what to expect. It would be even better to take into consideration their overall performance in the season so far and know if they are usually scoring high or just the contrary, they tend to allow too many goals in their net.
  2. Explore teams’ line-ups
    No trend is endless, though. It is of utmost importance to keep yourself informed about both teams’ line-ups as they may be indicative of how the game is going to unfold. Although a certain NHL team is considered the favorite, if you see that the coach has decided to leave his top scorer on the bench, you should think twice before placing your bet on the – 1.5 puck line, for example. Even the best goalies are not always in their best shape and within some periods of time make more mistakes than usual. If you have done your homework and are aware of such information, maybe it is reasonable to put your money on that particular team losing the game by 2 or more goals (i.e. + 1.5 puck line).
  3. Make your own puck line predictions
    We know this is not the typical betting tip but we strongly believe it is one of the best we can provide you with. Take the NHL game you are interested in and use your own judgment to determine what the puck line should be. Then explore several online sportsbooks and look for lines that are equal to or more favorable than yours. Driven by their impatience, a lot of betting enthusiasts let official bookmakers’ lines affect their opinion. To avoid that mistake, do not check the spread options offered by your bookie of choice before making your calculation.


Although NHL puck line bets are a simple type of hockey wagers, they are very powerful when it comes to making a profit. Proof of this is the fact that professional punters all around the world use them on a daily basis to achieve significant winnings. With this article, we laid the foundations of your knowledge about the specifics of puck line betting. Now, when you have gone through all the preceding sections of our guide, it is time to take all the provided information, mix it with your predictions, and start your competition with online bookmakers. Betting on puck lines is certainly a strong weapon in this endeavor.