What Does -1, -1.5 Mean in NHL Betting Lines?

NHL betting lines can be daunting. They seem to always be in motion, changing constantly as the game progresses. But what do all those symbols and numbers really mean?

To make things easier for you, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of all the most common NHL betting line symbols and what they mean.

Over / Under

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If the over/under is set at 2.5 goals, then you’re betting that the total number of goals will be between 2.5 and 7.5. If you think the total will be 7.5 or more, you’re playing the under. In a three-goal game, you’re looking at a total of six goals, so this is a pretty tight fit. But it’s still possible to make a guess and be right more often than not.

These next two are pretty self-explanatory as well. If the number in parentheses is odd, it means the line is opened, or “struck”, meaning there’s more betting on one side than the other. If even, it means there’s even betting on both sides. So, in the event of a draw, there will be no line movement. As for the initial line, it just means whatever first set of numbers the bookmakers came up with. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the official NHL lines, just that’s what they are being used for the moment.

Book / Odds

This one is pretty self-explanatory as well. If the odds are set at even money, then you’re playing the game with “real” money, although you may be required to make a deposit before playing. If the odds are set at odd money or higher, then you’re playing the game with “composite” or “fake” money. Typically, odds are set between 1/2 and 3/1 so that it’s a “true investment” for the player. If you’re using fake money, make sure the odds are in your favor so you don’t end up losing too much when the game is over.

As for the abbreviation for odds, BOV (Bet Odds vs.) is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to know what the lines are in real money, look up the BOV and see what the betting is currently around. You can also check the forums for more information. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone where you got the information from.


As the game continues to evolve and new statistics are continuously added, a growing number of people want to keep track of all the numerical value of each team, player, and statistic. For that purpose, the internet was made, and today we have websites like Futtabulous, which was created with the sole purpose of cataloguing each team’s wins, losses, and total (both actual and prospective) in a single, searchable database. The idea is to create something that’s easily portable, so if you play on the go, you can bring the statistics with you.

These are generally known as “futures” or “predictions”, and they allow the user to input specific parameters (team, score, date, etc.) and get a crystal-clear picture of what will happen in the game. The problem is that not all of them are created equal, and it’s up to the user to make sure they’re using a reliable source.


This is one of the most popular betting options in the NHL. It’s exactly what it sounds like, with the difference being that instead of placing a wager on the outcome of the game, you’re making a wager on which team will score the most goals (or wins, in the case of a tie).

The plus/minus indicates how many goals (or wins, for a tie) the player is responsible for. So, in the above example, Chris Mueller is the +1 goal/win part, and Nashville is the -1 goal/win part. If you had picked Nashville, you’d win your bet since they were the team with the fewest goals (or wins, for a tie). Similarly, if you had bet on a draw, you would have won since there were no goals scored in the game.

Moneyline bets are also known as “even chance” bets, “total” bets, or “prediction” bets. If you want to keep things simple, you can also call them “goal bet” bets. Just make sure you understand the implications before placing that bet.


This option is pretty self-explanatory as well. It’s simply a wager on the total amount of goals (or wins, for a tie) the selected team will score during the game. Just note that if your team wins by exactly the same number of goals as you’re wagering on, you’ll still win your bet. For example, if you wager on a 5-goal victory and your team wins by 5 goals, you’ll still win your bet. But, if you had picked Detroit to win by 3 goals, you’d lose your bet since there were more goals scored against you than there were for.

In a nutshell, a proposition bet is simply a “pick’em” bet, where you’re choosing both teams to either win or lose the game. It’s a popular option with some people because it gives them the opportunity to bet on a game they couldn’t otherwise access (for example, college football).

Point Spread

The point spread is the difference between the points awarded for a win and the points awarded for a loss. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep track of the scores of games you’re following, then point spreads are perfect for you, as they provide a visual representation of the game’s current standings. You can use things like Hockey’s Pointstreak to track the scores of games you’re following easily.

However, just because a team is in first place in their division doesn’t mean they’re automatically a lock to win the league. Look at the 2017-18 Montreal Canadiens, winners of the Northeast Division, for example. They had an extremely difficult schedule at the beginning of the season, battling for divisional supremacy with other NHL teams (namely, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins). The Canadiens ended up losing three of their first seven games before finally looking like they were coming into their own.

Point spreads can also be used to project the final standings of an NHL season. For example, BetOnline (an internet-based bookmaker) has projected the NHL standings at the end of the 2018-19 season using point spreads and VegasInsider.com has projected the NHL standings at the end of the 2022-23 season using point spreads as well.

Home / Away

As the name would suggest, this is a betting option where you’re choosing whether the selected team will win the game at home or away from home. As with the other NHL betting line options, the lines can be a little bit tricky to figure out. Still, you can usually get a good idea of whether a team will do better at home or away from their home arena by looking at things like performance trends, opponent quality, and the like.

On the surface, home / away betting would seem to be an easy option to pick up since it’s exactly what it sounds like, but things can get complicated when you have to consider all of the variables that go into an NHL game. Still, if you think you have a decent sense of which way the wind is blowing, then home / away betting is a fairly easy wager to make. Just be sure to do your homework first.


This is more of a “hunch” or “intuition” option, where you’re choosing whether the game will end in a tie. Generally, it’s a bad idea to wager on a tie, since there’s no definitive answer as to who will win when the game ends in a tie. However, if you think there’s a solid chance the game could end in a tie, then you could put some money on it. Just make sure you’re aware of the implications before you place that bet.