Like runline betting in baseball, puckline is a form of spread betting for hockey. When you bet the puckline, you are placing a wager that one team will win with the addition or subtraction of a certain amount of goals to their final score (usually + or – 1.5).
A Case Study – Pucklines
So the New York Rangers are facing off against their rivals from Philly – the Flyers. Of course, you want to place a bet, but what options do you have?
You could bet the moneyline. Here, you can bet on the favorite (Rangers), which would require a $122 bet to win a $100 profit (-122 odds). Or you could take the underdog (Flyers), and risk $100 for the chance to win $111 (+111 odds).
A moneyline bet is the most straightforward wager you can make, and, unlike in most other sports, it’s also the most popular in hockey. With a moneyline bet, you are simply betting on who you think will win the game.
With a puckline bet, you no longer care who wins the game (at least not really). Instead, you care about the spread. Betting the puckline can be a great way to shake things up and give you an alternate set of odds.
As we can see in the example above, the Rangers are the moneyline favorite at -122. But, when we look at the puckline odds, the Rangers become a large underdog at +240. This means that if you wagered $100 on the Rangers to win the puckline, you would have a potential profit of $240.
The puckline odds also flip for the Flyers. They start as the moneyline underdog at +111. When you bet the puckline, though, the Flyers become a huge favorite at -280. This means you would need to risk $280 for a potential profit of $100.
The odds flip when betting the puckline because you are no longer betting on the simple, in-game winner. We can see that the Puckline is -1.5 for the Rangers and +1.5 for the Flyers.
This means that to win a puckline bet on the Rangers, they would have to win the game by 2 or more goals. This is because the puckline subtracts 1.5 goals from their final score.
Likewise, if you bet the puckline on the Flyers, you are hoping that they will either win outright or lose by less than 2 goals. Here, the puckline is adding 2 goals to their final score.
Let’s assume this is the outcome of the game:
In this case, had you bet the Puckline on the Rangers, you would have lost the bet, despite the Rangers winning the game. They didn’t cover the spread. If the Rangers had scored one more goal, however, you would have won big.
Had you bet the puckline on the Flyers, the result would be the opposite. Even though the Flyers lost, you, fortunately, won! The flyers’ 2 goals get upgraded to 3.5 thanks to the puckline.
When To Bet The Puckline
Because hockey games tend to be low scoring, betting puckline on the underdog can be a wise decision. Unless you expect a blowout, you wouldn’t often assume that the underdog would lose by 2 or more goals.
When betting the puckline on the favorite, things are a bit different. I mean how often would we expect the Rangers (as a slight favorite) to beat the Flyers by 2 or more goals? Probably not often.
On the other hand, if we switch up the odds, a puckline bet on the favorite can be quite attractive:
In this case, betting the moneyline on the Rangers gives you -240 odds. If you agreed with the sentiment and thought the Rangers were going to win big, the puckline would offer you a way to get better odds. Now you could get -105 instead of -240.
We also get pretty good odds on the Flyers here. -115 odds and they don’t even have to win. All they need to do is not get crushed.
Is The Puckline Worth It?
All in all, the puckline is a nice way to get a different set of odds. While betting the puckline on the favorite may seem enticing, don’t get sucked in by the big payout. In hockey, the moneyline will often be the way to bet. Though, on games with a big favorite, a puckline bet on either team can be a great option.