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What is the Puck Line?

by January 20, 2022
Andrei Vasilevskiy

While baseball has the run line, named after scoring in baseball being counted in runs, hockey’s “puck line” is essentially the same concept, as they use pucks instead of balls. This is what makes hockey unique. Given that these two have similar scoring outputs on most nights, this sort of spread applies to these two sports the most, however there is usually more juice in baseball lines relative to that of hockey games. This is because there are more baseball games separated by two or more than there are in hockey. As a result, you may see a puck line set at -1.5 set at +180 or even higher!

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Hockey games have totals, money line bets, and props like all other sports, but people prefer to bet the puck line because there is more potential to make profits off of a smaller bet. There are 2,624 games in a full season, and there have been 694 to this point of the year. The Underdog on the Puck Line has hit 58.2% of the time (346-248), meaning that the favorites hit at a 41.8% clip. In reading these stats, it is understandable why they offer good odds to entice people to bet the favorites. Compare this to how favorites perform straight-up, and you’ll see that they win 65% of the time. This creates an illusion that the team is playing well enough that the Puck Line may just be the play, but the players don’t care how much they win by, but rather just to win the game.

Overtime is more prevalent in hockey than in any other sport, and this is also directly related to why the puck line offers so much value, when you spot it right. There have been 81 overtime games already, which is good for 11.7% of all games. Adding in all of the 242 one-goal games in the NHL this season, going with the puck-line as opposed to the money-line has you at a 34.9% disadvantage right off of the bat. With that being said, the puck line is not a bad bet when you put time into researching who is playing for each team, especially who is in net, and when you factor in recent offensive output and rest time for the teams.

The sportsbooks look to entice their users by giving them opportunities to take this puck line, and while the puck line on the dogs carries a heavy price tag more often than not, most people avoid it because of the fear of the empty net goal. This occurs when the losing team takes their goalie out of the game and replaces him with an attacker to try and score to tie the game. Often times if they cannot score, the other team brings the puck down to the unguarded goal and extends their lead. This is crushing for the underdog puck line, but when looking at the numbers, it doesn’t hamper the results as much as it may feel.

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Betting 101, Hockey, How-To