Making Money Betting the NHL Puck Line

Learn how to make money betting the NHL puck line.

Key Points

– Betting the NHL puck line can be very lucrative for smart bettors.

– There are situations where betting the NHL puck line is more beneficial than betting the moneyline.

Making Money Betting the NHL Puck Line

If you aren’t betting NHL hockey, you might want to consider doing so. Hockey receives far less attention from both bettors and sportsbooks than other sports. The NFL and NBA reign supreme when it comes to betting major sports in the U.S.

Oddsmakers, of course, spend more time making sure their lines and odds are sharp for NFL, college football, NBA, and college basketball games. The NHL is almost an afterthought. As a result, smart bettors can come across odds and lines that are extremely advantageous.

Betting the NHL puck line is one of the situations where hockey bettors can score big. There are often times when bettors find a team that has an advantage or the odds seem questionable. It is these situations where bettors can make money betting the NHL puck line.


Why the Puck Line

The puck line in hockey is similar to the run line in baseball. Because of a lack of scoring in both sports, oddsmakers establish the puck line at 1.5 goals. The favorite is listed at -1.5 and the underdog at +1.5.

The favorite must win by at least two goals in order to cover the spread. Likewise, an underdog must lose by one or win the game outright in order to cover the spread. 

When betting the NHL puck line, there is more risk on the favorite. That is because in any given season anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of games are decided by a single goal. With more risk involved to cover the -1.5 puck line, the odds associated are usually beneficial for the bettor.

Consider the following example. The Carolina Hurricanes are playing the New Jersey Devils. Carolina is a -125 moneyline favorite.

  • New Jersey Devils +1.5 (-260)
  • Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 (+205)

These are two good teams playing each other. Oddsmakers believe this has the makings of a one-goal game. Carolina is favored at home, but they have to win by two goals to cover the spread. 

Bettors that believe the Hurricanes can cover or they are undervalued for some reason can win $205 on a $100 bet. That’s the power of betting the NHL puck line and one of the reasons why sports betting is so popular right now.

Baseball vs. Hockey

Betting the run line in baseball is actually a little easier than betting the NHL puck line. Baseball teams have the ability to score more runs than hockey teams. That makes it easier to win by two or more runs. 

However, the one advantage in hockey is the empty net goal. Teams losing by a goal will often pull their goalie late in a game in an effort to tie the game and either win outright or send the game to overtime. 

In the history of the NHL, roughly 91 percent of all games have seen six or fewer goals scored. The most likely outcome in those games is a final score of 3-2. Again, that is why NHL puck line odds are typically more beneficial for the bettor.

Making Money Betting the NHL Puck Line

The Power of Betting the NHL Puck Line

Back when the Detroit Red Wings were enjoying their dynasty years, they traveled to Edmonton to take on the Oilers. At the time, Edmonton was having a tough time winning games. 

Despite playing on the road, Detroit was a clear favorite as indicated by their -140 moneyline odds. On the puck line, the Red Wings were listed at -1.5 with +200 odds. There is a big difference between -140 and +200 and smart bettors could exploit that disparity.

Detroit was one of the best teams in the NHL. Edmonton was struggling on defense and their offense was inconsistent, primarily because the Oilers were so young. 

As a result, smart bettors put $100 on the Red Wings to cover instead of plunking down $140 to win $100 on the moneyline. 

In true NHL fashion, this was a one-goal game until late in the third period. The Oilers did pull their goalie in an attempt to tie the game, but Detroit did score again. The final was 3-1 and smart bettors pocketed $200 instead of $100 on the moneyline.

When to Bet the Puck Line

It is clear that the puck line has power. However, there are issues that, if you’re not careful, could get you into real trouble as an NHL bettor. Despite the sizable payouts when you do win, betting the NHL puck line without a strategy can cause you to lose a lot of money. Whether you are using advanced NHL stats or not, keep the following in mind when placing these wagers.

  1. Think about defensive matchups. When you handicap the puck line, you should pay close attention to how well the opposition will be able to stop the top two lines. The opponent will be able to match lines if your team is playing on the road because they have the most recent line change. You can gauge the top lines’ ability to check and the likelihood that your offense will have a productive day by reviewing how they played against the same opponent in recent games. Don’t bet the puck line if the top lines are not likely to have a strong day.
  2. Be absolutely certain of your edge before betting the NHL puck line. You are predicting that one team will not only defeat another, but also dominate them. You are better off with a moneyline wager if there is not a clear advantage.

If you find an NHL that you believe has the makings of a puck line play, go back and review the previous 10 games for each team. Confirm that the team you want to bet on has won multiple games by two or more over that span. Also confirm that the opposition has lost multiple games by two or more during that same span. If the teams have won/lost several games by two or more goals, you may have a winner.