What Is A Puckline and How Does it Relate to Sports and Hockey Betting?
As a proud Canadian and a lover of hockey, this article shouldn’t really surprise my American counterparts. You already know we like to do things differently here in Canada with our pro sports. A prime example is the CFL. However, hockey is no different. If you bet on hockey, you’re usually betting the money line – who you think is going to win the game straight up. But in crazy Canadian fashion, sportsbooks offer something called the “puck line” which is exactly like the American version of the point spread.
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What is the Puckline in Hockey?
When the majority of the betting public bets on hockey, they usually stick to the money line or total options and call it a day. The sharper hockey bettors are the ones who look at the puckline in hopes of finding value. The puckline is essentially the point spread of the game, except the term point spread is usually used within basketball and football discussions. Since the scoring in the NHL is much lower than football and basketball, the puckline isn’t a crazy number. The majority of games have a puckline of 1.5 pucks and stay that way no matter how much action it takes. Sometimes you will see a 2.0, but that spread is usually reserved for the big mismatches. In order to win a puckline bet, the favorite team would need to win the game by two or more goals, while the underdog would cash your ticket with an outright win, or a one goal loss.
Example of a Puck Line:
If the San Jose Sharks are rolling into Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, the money line could look like this:
San Jose -130
While the puckline would look like this:
San Jose Sharks -1.5 (+155)
Toronto Maple Leafs +1.5 (-180)
In this case, the linemakers expect the Sharks to win by one goal. The puckline has now turned the Sharks into the underdog to win by two or more goals, which means there could be value in playing the Sharks on the puck line.
Is there Value in Betting Pucklines?
Since goals are hard to come by in hockey, the value of a puckline bet is undecided. The only positive about betting the puckline, especially when betting on favorites, is that is presents the favorite with a much lower price tag. A hockey favorite might be -200 or higher, but on the puckline, you could get them at even money or better. Obviously wagering on the puckline favorite brings in a lot more risk to the equation. Goals are hard enough to come by, but now you are asking a team to win by more than two goals in a league that may just have the most parity top to bottom. It’s a tough ask.
The negative aspect of betting the puckline lies with betting the underdog. Typically speaking, an underdog is an underdog because they are the inferior team. They will likely lose the game outright, often time by more than one goal. If the underdog is down by one goal late in the game, they will pull the goalie and the likelihood of giving up an empty net goal and losing by two goals is extremely high. The other problem with betting the underdog, is the price tag. Underdogs of +1.5 pucks usually start at (-150) and get worse. So, at the end of the day, the value is undecided based on which side you are wanting to play.
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