With the Stanley Cup playoffs looming on the horizon, it’s time to prepare your bets for the upcoming National Hockey League action. Choose your favorite teams, study up on the best goalies, and pledge your allegiance to the top scorers.
Now, what’ll it be, puck line or moneyline?
If that question makes you think we’re asking about an offsides call, then this is the guide for you. When it comes to how to bet on hockey, puck line and moneyline are two of the most popular NHL hockey betting options. In this guide, we’ll go over puck line vs moneyline bets, how to read each line, and potential NHL betting strategy and scenarios to prepare you for this season and beyond.
What is the Difference between a Puck Line and a Moneyline?
Both puck line and moneyline bets are ways to wager an NHL game. And they each involve choosing a predicted winner of an individual game. Additionally, when deciding on your winning team, both types of bets will designate one team as the favorite and the other as the underdog to help you make your decision.
So what’s the difference between the two? It mainly has to do with how they’re structured:
- Moneyline – With a moneyline bet, you’re simply betting on who will win the game.
- Puck line – With a puck line bet, you’re choosing a winner but the score also matters. Even if your team loses, you may still be able to win the bet if it’s a close game. Similarly, your team may win the hockey game but you still may lose the bet if they don’t win by enough points.
Those are the basics, but let’s take a closer look at each type of bet to understand how they work and how payouts are impacted when you’re sports betting on ice hockey.
Moneyline Bets 101
As we said, with a moneyline bet you’re simply betting on who will win the game. However, the nuance comes when you consider how the payouts are structured. Let’s look at a sample moneyline to give you an idea of what we mean:
- New Jersey Devils + 250
- Tampa Bay Lightning - 320
This is a typical moneyline that you might see on any sportsbook. While it doesn’t look like much, there’s a lot you can learn from just a few numbers:
- Betting on New Jersey – Again, a moneyline bet is simply a bet on who you think will win. In this case, if you think New Jersey will win, you should bet on them. However, the “+” near their name means they are the underdog. It also shows you how much a bet on them will payout. In this case, a $100 bet will pay $250 if you win. Your payout is higher because you’ve taken a risk betting on the underdog.
- Betting on Tampa Bay – If the “+” signifies a team being the underdog, you probably guessed what the “-” means. A “-” symbol means Tampa Bay is favored to win. It also shows that you need to bet $320 to win $100. Your payout is much worse because the book thinks Tampa will win.
Moneyline bets are a popular way to bet on the NHL because they are easy to understand and you can still find good payouts. However, especially if you like the favorite, you may want to look at the puck line.
Puck Line Bets 101
The puck line is a technique used by sportsbooks to even the odds of a matchup. Similar to a spread in football, the puck line “spots” the team that is favored by a goal or two depending on how much the book thinks they’ll win by. Puck line betting combines the idea of a moneyline and point spread betting.
However, unlike football, ice hockey is a low-scoring game. As such, most puck lines will be 1.5 goals. Only in very uneven matchups will it climb to 2.5 or 3.5.
Let’s look at the example again:
- New Jersey Devils +1.5 (-102)
- Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (-122)
In this case, the “+” and “-” still show you who is favored, but a bet on New Jersey will still win even if they lose so long as they only lose by one goal. A bet on Tampa Bay only wins if they win by two or more goals. The numbers in parentheses represent the new payout structure:
- Betting on New Jersey – In this case, a bet on New Jersey is less risky because they can still lose by one and you’ll win your bet. The payout reflects this as you have to bet $102 to win $100.
- Betting on Tampa Bay – Puck line betting on Tampa is now no sure thing since they have to win by two goals or more for your bet to hit. The odds reflect that as you now only need to bet $122 to win $100.
As you can see, the odds are much closer to even this way, meaning if you think Tampa’s going to win in a rout, this offers a better payment structure for you. However, if you like the upset and think New Jersey is going to win outright, you’d be better served by a moneyline bet.
Combining to Hedge
One advanced technique you can use is to bet big on a favorite to win by one. In the example above, if you think Tampa will win the hockey game by only one goal, you can bet on Tampa's moneyline and New Jersey’s puck line.
If it works out the way you expect, you win both bets.
If Tampa wins by more than one, you win your moneyline but lose your puck line bet. If Tampa loses, you win the puck line but lose the moneyline. This is a possible strategy to minimize losses while maximizing your payout if you believe in a specific outcome.
Get the Full Line at Tipico
NHL moneylines and puck lines are only two options. At Tipico, we have all your Stanley Cup betting and other NHL bets, including live lines, over/unders, and player prop bets. And, by joining today, you can claim a risk-free bet on the sport of up to $750.
So strap on your skates and get over to Tipico. It’s time you got in on the game!