What Is Puck Line in Sports Betting?

Jake Brannen
Jake Brannen
Betting Education
What is Puck Line? A complete guide on puck line bets in Canada

If you are familiar with the term point spread, then understanding the puck line will come easy to you. Puck line is just hockey’s term for the point spread. Similarly to every other major sport, Hockey betting presents you with three options: the spread (puck line), the moneyline, and the total (over/under). 

Puck Line Bets Explained

The puck line is the term Canadian betting sites use to represent the point spread. Similarly to Baseball, with Hockey being such a low scoring sport, the puck line is almost always set at -1.5 for the favourite and +1.5 for the underdog. For the favourite, this means they need to win the game by two goals or more, but for the underdog, this means that they need to either win the game or lose by one goal. 

NHL betting sites use the puck line as a way to give both sides a fair chance to win, despite one team being much more skilled than the other. It is a great way to either improve the chances of your underdog bet winning or receive a larger payout when betting on the favourite. 

Let’s use the Leafs vs Canadians as an example.

TeamMoneylinePuck LineTotal
+290+1.5 (+110)O 7.0
-385-1.5 (-140)U 7.0

As -385 favourites, you will need to wager $385 on the Leafs to make a $100 profit. If you are searching for a greater payout, you can opt for the puck line at -140, meaning if you wager $140, you will make a $100 profit. The puck line is a much riskier option of course, as the Leafs would need to win the game by two goals or more. 

As +290 underdogs, you will need to wager $100 on the Canadians to make a $290 profit. If the Canadians winning is too risky for you, you can instead opt for the puck line at +110, meaning you would have to wager $100 to make a $110 profit.

What’s the Difference Between Puck Lines and Moneylines?

The difference between the moneyline and the puck line lies in the scoring differential. Moneyline wagers are simple win/lose bets, while the puck line requires a team to either win or lose by a specific margin. You could wager on the winning team, but if the line is set at -1.5, a one goal win won’t cut it. On the flip side, you could wager on the losing team and still receive a payout if they lose by one goal with a line of +1.5.

The answer to the question “Should I bet the puck line or Moneyline,” isn’t a simple yes or no. The specific matchup will dictate what you “should” and “shouldn’t” do, but we have some interesting trends for you to keep in mind. Since 2005, favourites have been slightly more successful on the money line, while underdogs have been slightly more successful on the puck line. This isn’t to say you should follow these trends blindly, but if you are on the fence, it is something to consider.

What Happens in Overtime for Puck Line Bets?

For NHL betting, overtime is used to settle the final score past regulation. It consists of one five min period where teams play three-on-three hockey. The first team to score wins the game, but if the game remains tied, it will go to shootout. Each team will get three attempts in the shootout, and whoever scores the most goals wins. If there is still a tie, teams will alternate until one team scores and the other does not. The winning shootout team is awarded one goal on the final score.

All sportsbooks provide the most basic betting options known as the two-way line which includes the moneyline, the puck line, and the over/under. For these wagers, the official final score will be used, even if the game goes past regulation. 

For puck line wagers, this means that betting the underdog will always win if the game goes to overtime with an opening line of +1.5. The game is guaranteed to be decided by one goal, meaning the favourite at -1.5 has official lost once the third period horn sounds and overtime begins.

Top sportsbooks will provide you with the opportunity place wagers soley on regulation time as well, meaning a tie after 60 mins of play would result in a push.

Three-way Puck Line

Another form of regulation wagering is known as three-way betting. With 23% of NHL games going to overtime since 2005, this form of betting grants you the option of wagering on a tie after 60 minutes of play. 

The three-way money line is fairly straightforward, with three odds given for the favourite, the underdog, and a regulation tie. For the three-way puck line, NHL sportsbooks will give the favourite team a handicap of either -1 or -2, meaning that they essentially start the game losing either 0-1 or 0-2. 

Example: Oilers +1 (-175) / Tie +1 (+850) / Leafs -1 (+200)

The underdog (Oilers) can win the game or tie, the favourite (leafs) must win by two or more goals, and the “tie” would receive a payout if the underdog (Oilers) wins by exactly one goal. 

Example: Canadians +2 (-250) / Tie +2 (+950) / Leafs -2 (+300)

The underdog (Canadians) can win, tie, or lose by one – the favourite (Leafs) must win by three or more goals, and the “tie” would receive a payout if the underdog (Canadians) wins by exactly two.

Puckline Betting Tips and Strategies

Now that you understand the puck line, you are probably looking for an optimal strategy for placing puck line wagers. Let’s take a look at some of our tips and strategies.

  • Injuries and lineup decisions

Not keeping up with injuries is an easy way to get burned in the betting world. The betting odds may look incredibly appealing for one team that has a much better record on the season than another, until you realize their best player is sitting out after the fact. 

Analyzing lineups is a great way to gain an edge. Keeping up with the latest news like which goaltender is starting today, line combinations, and last-minute scratches can help you make more educated decisions.

  • Betting based on the odds

Betting isn’t as simple as just placing wagers on the teams you think are most likely to win on any given day. You can take this approach if your goal is to just be correct more often than not, but the primary concern for most sports bettors is their overall profit. 

Always placing wagers on a heavy favourite isn’t an optimal strategy because payouts are low and sports are random, meaning upsets happen all the time. Your entire profit can be erased quickly with a few bad beats. 

A great way to still justify betting on heavy favourite is utilizing the puck line. By placing a -1.5 wager, you are increasing your overal risk but also increasing your profit, doubling down, and showing you so confident in a team winning that you will lose the wager if it within a one goal game. 

On the flip side, taking an underdog on the puck line is a great strategy when you think the odds for the favourite to win are much too high. Even if your team does not end up winning, a one goal loss in regulation, a tie in regulation, and a win in regulation will all result in winning bet. A one goal game is the most probably outcome in the NHL, with 3-2 as the most common final score.

  • Betting based on the schedule

Taking the schedule into account is a massive factor when it comes to puck line betting. Teams tend to play much better at home, but it’s important to be aware of the outliers and factor that in accordingly. 

Is a heavily favoured team travelling and nearing the end of a difficult schedule with lots of games packed into a short period of time? This might be a great opportunity to fade them and take a chance with an underdog on the puck line. 

Teams will often sit their starting goaltenders when playing on consecutive days, or three of the last four nights. Paying attention to these developments before oddsmakers adjust the lines is a great opportunity to create value on the puck line.

Important Puck Line Stats

  • Record against the puck line: Some teams, ranging from the best to the worst team in the league, have a knack for playing one goal games. It’s important to identify this before placing a puck line wager. 
  • Empty net goals: Both scoring and preventing empty net goals play a huge factor in covering the puck line. Referring to this statistic before puck line betting is something we highly recommend. 
  • Corsi: This is an advanced hockey statistic that combines both shots on goal and shots against in five-on-five play. A shot on goal will add to the statistic and a shot against will subtract from the statistic. A corsi above 50% represents a team who creates more scoring chances than they allow, meaning a negative goal differential would indicate they have been getting unlucky. Teams with a Corsi not aligning with their true goal differential can be great targets for betting if their past misfortune is not reflected in the puck line odds.


Is the puck line the same as the point spread?

Yes. The puck line is hockey’s version of the point spread used in sports such as football and basketball. They key difference is Hockey lines are almost always set at +/- 1.5, similarly to Major League Baseball. 

Is overtime included for puck line bets?

Yes. Overtime and shootout goals are included, but since overtime guarantees a one goal game in Hockey, the underdog at +1.5 has already won.

What is the 3-way puck line?

3-way bets include ties in regulation giving you three options rather than two. The 3-way puck line is much different than the 3-way money line, however. NHL sportsbooks will give the favourite team a handicap of either -1 or -2, meaning that they essentially start the game losing either 0-1 or 0-2.

Is overtime included for 3-way bets?

No. Overtime is not included in 3-way bets so make sure you are aware of this before placing a wager.

Can you still lose the bet on the puck line if your team wins the game?

Yes. If you place a puck line bet on the favourite, in most cases they will be -1.5 and be required to win the game by two goals or more.

Can you still win the bet on the puck line if your team loses the game?

Yes. If you place a puck line bet on the underdog, in most cases they will be +1.5, meaning if they lose by one goal you still win the wager.


The puck line is Hockey’s version of the point spread, but unlike Football and Basketball, moneyline wagers hold the crown as the most popular form of betting. This is not to say that betting the moneyline is more profitable, it is just difficult to predict a heavy favourite to win by two with so many games concluding as one goal games. Betting the puck line is a great way to increase your odds, or provide insurance on an underdog pick, should they loss by one goal.