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NHL point spread betting explained
This is a form of point spread betting in the NHL that's commonly referred to as the puck line. Below we'll tell you all you need to know about betting the puck line in NHL.
Ⓒ Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NHL puck line betting key takeaways
Betting the puck line is to bet -1.5 goals with the favorite (handicap them -1.5) or take +1.5 goals with the underdog.
There are alternative puck line wagers that would allow anyone to bet -2.5 goals/+2.5 goals, -3.5 goals/+3.5 goals, etc.
Often you have to bet a bigger price when taking a team +1.5 goals on the puck line
What is the spread in NHL?
This is a form of point spread betting in the NHL that is commonly referred to as the puck line. It involves handicapping the favourite team, or giving the underdogs a head start.
Betting the puck line is to lay -1.5 goals with the favorite (they start at -1.5 goals) or take +1.5 goals with the underdog. There are also alternative puck line wagers offered at a multitude of sportsbooks that would allow anyone to bet -2.5 goals/+2.5 goals, -3.5 goals/+3.5 goals, etc.
It’s very simple. If you bet a team at -1.5 goals on the puck line, they need to win the game by at least 2 goals for your bet to win. If you bet a team at +1.5 goals on the puck line, they need to either win the game or lose by just a single goal to win your bet. Be aware that often you have to lay a bigger price when taking a team +1.5 goals on the puck line. There is much greater risk involved with betting underdogs on the puck line compared to favorites.
|New York Rangers||-1.5 (+210)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+1.5 (-280)|
Let’s assume the New York Rangers are -1.5 goals on the puck line at odds of +210 while the Tampa Bay Lightning are +1.5 goals on the puck line at odds of -280 in a head-to-head matchup and we are looking to place a $10 wager. We would be risking $10 to win $21 on the NY Rangers -1.5 goals and risking $28 to win $10 on Tampa Bay +1.5 goals. It's important to remember there is no minimum NHL puck line stake with most major sportsbooks.
NHL point spread explained
NHL spread betting isn’t as common or popular as it is in the ‘point spread’ sports like football and basketball. Despite this, the NHL spread, known as the puck line, is a useful betting tool to turn a larger favorite on the moneyline into an even money or plus odds bet by taking them on the puck line laying -1.5 goals to win by 2 goals or more.
The downside of spread betting in the NHL is taking the plus odds underdog at +1.5 goals because the prices on those teams are higher than -150 most of the time and that makes it more difficult to sustain a positive ROI when puck line betting.
How to bet the NHL spread
It's important to point out that we can place any amount of money on a spread wager. Most sportsbooks allow an amount as low as a few cents to be placed on a spread wager with maximum amount wagers that vary from one book to the next depending on the limits each sportsbook institutes.
The process of placing a bet on the NHL spread/puck line is very simple. We login to our sportsbook account, navigate our way on the sportsbook website or app to the sport and the game of our choice.
We will see next to the moneyline options, the spread aka puck line and the favorite in the game will be -1.5 goals and the underdog in the game will be +1.5 goals. The -1.5 goals spread wager will cash if that team wins by at least 2 goals. The +1.5 goals wager will cash if that team either wins the game or loses by exactly one goal. Be sure to check out our bet calculator at to help you out when placing your NHL spread wagers.
Choose the NHL game you want to place a bet on
Find and select your puck line for that game
Click on the bet slip at the bottom and place your bet
What do minus and plus NHL odds mean?
Minus odds in an NHL bet means the team is favored to win, while plus odds represents the underdogs. Minus odds for NHL spread/puck line betting are often in play for the underdog when betting them +1.5 goals. Plus odds for NHL spread/puck line betting are often in play for the favorite when betting them -1.5 goals.
As with all other types of wagers, minus odds indicate that we are risking more to win less. Plus odds indicate we are risking less to win more.
Why bet the spread vs the moneyline in NHL?
We’ll notice that unlike moneyline betting where the favorite is minus odds and the underdog is plus odds, you will often see the reverse with an NHL spread wager. The favorite on the moneyline will often be plus odds on the spread laying -1.5 goals while the underdog on the moneyline will often be minus odds on the spread laying +1.5 goals.
The NHL is a sport where betting the puck line or spread as opposed to the moneyline is a great idea especially with favorites. There will be many instances when a favorite on the moneyline at -200 can be taken at plus odds on the spread or puck line at -1.5 goals.
We are in an era where empty net goals late in close games are becoming more prevalent in NHL games and teams are extending margins beyond one goal late in games.
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