Definition of Puck Line
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With a money line or fixed-odds bet, the sportsbook pays out based on the binary outcome of an event: a win or a loss. The contrast to this is a spread bet, which the sportsbook pays out on based on the accuracy of the wager.
For hockey, specifically the NHL, the sportsbooks use three main types of bets: money line, totals and puck line.
Prior to the puck line, the money line was the most popular type of hockey bet.
Totals or over/under bets, which use the total goals scored by both teams, have always been quite popular too.
The puck line, however, has become the preferred wagering format for the NHL and hockey in general. It is a hockey-only wager, essentially a standardized spread bet: -1.5 goals for the favorite and +1.5 goals for the dog.
Unlike a spread bet, puck lines do not move. The spread is always 1.5.
To the bettor, the benefit of the puck line is that it pays out more for the favorite, although lower for the underdog.
If a bettor has great confidence in the favorite, the puck line is often the much better wager.
Most sportsbooks display the money line equivalent of the puck line, which you can use for comparison.
Example: Winnipeg Jets +177 +1.5(-150) at Philadelphia Flyers -215 -1.5(+130)
In the example matchup, the Flyers are the favorite, and if you're willing to spot the Jets 1.5 (essentially 2) goals, then the puck line, which is equivalent to +130, is much more lucrative than the money line, which is -215.