What is the Puck Line in Betting?

The puck line in hockey betting is the line that separates profits from losses. To understand what it means, let’s examine the meaning of a few terms used in hockey wagering:

Verdict

A verdict is a judgment or decision that is made by a group of people, typically jurors, after a trial. In a hockey betting trial, the participants are the individual bettors and the betting shop. The verdict is simply the combined result of all the individual bets placed on the outcome of the game. In other words, the verdict is a reflection of the winning bets versus the losing bets.

Puck Line

The puck line is the point-spread line that separates the betting action, or participants, in a hockey game. For example, if you wager $100 on your favorite team to beat the puck line by 3 points, you are risking $100 that your team will cover the spread and win the game by 3 points or more. If your team covers the spread but loses the game, you lose your $100 bet. In the context of hockey betting, the puck line is the line that separates winning from losing bets. The goal of every hockey bettor is to cross the puck line in their favor.

Handicap

A handicap is a system established in golf that allows for more equitable distribution of strokes. In hockey, a handicap system is used to determine the “strength” of a team, which is usually based on the team’s overall record of wins versus losses. The objective is to give every team an equal chance at winning, so the stronger teams play one another more often than not. In other words, a team with a better overall track record will beat an average team by the same amount, or more often than not.

Win

A win is a victory by a sports team over another sports team. In hockey, a win is typically measured in terms of points scored versus goals against. A win also includes the outcome of a playoff game, as long as it meets the criteria established by the league. In other words, a hockey win includes everything from the game to whether or not your team advanced to the next round or (in the case of a tie) went to a shootout.

Scoring

Scoring is the totality of all the goals and assists in a sports game. In hockey, scoring is usually measured by the number of points accumulated by a team during a game. A scoring team is one that scores more points than it allows, while a non-scoring team has the opposite profile. In other words, a good scoring team will allow fewer goals than it scores while a poor scoring team will allow more goals than it scores.

Odds

The odds are the betting terms that are used to reference the likelihood of an event occurring. For example, the “over/under” odds are used to reference the spread of points, or the total number of goals scored in a game. The over/under odds for a hockey game are normally expressed as a percent (e.g., 100 bets placed at 5-1 odds result in a profit of $500).

Stat

A stat is similar to a “fact” in business but represents more of a subjective analysis. With a fact-based business, you can often look up historical performance data that will tell you how successful a strategy has been in the past. With a stat, you are looking for trends and figuring things out based on that. In stat-based analysis, the “over/under” number for a hockey game is derived from the team’s win-loss record in the previous seasons. The “over/under” stat for the Anaheim Ducks in 2017-18 was 53 goals scored and 55 allowed. Based on that information alone, you would have to bet $100 on the over (you make a $100 profit on a $100 wager) and the odds would be 9-1 (you win 9 out of 10 times you bet on the over).

Lay

A lay is when you place a wager on an event that has already happened, as opposed to placing a bet on the outcome of an upcoming event. In lay betting, you would put down a winning wager when your team has scored more points or allowed fewer goals than implied by its present performance. The opposite is true for a lay loss. For example, if you think the Boston Bruins are going to beat the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, you can lay down a $100 wager that the Blackhawks will win the game (your $100 will be returned as long as the game ends in a tie; if the game is over by then, you will get back just your $100).

Take

A take is an action that you take in sports betting that involves some amount of risk. For example, you can take the points in a hockey game, or you can take a goal or an assist in basketball. Taking a goal in hockey, whether you are at even odds or the favorite, is a high-risk proposition because the other team can tie or even win the game. The opposite is true for an assist. You are not risking much if you bet on an assist; you are only losing what you already wagered or made a profit on (in the case of an assist, your loss is limited to the amount you already wagered on the game). In general, you should try to avoid taking large positions unless you are confident that the trend will continue in your favor. In other words, you should use trial and error to figure out which bets work best for your personal style.

Future Betting

Future betting is very much like playing the lottery, only you are doing so with sports. Essentially, you are placing a bet on the outcome of an upcoming game, but you do not know what the score will be. For example, if you think the Toronto Blue Jays are going to beat the New York Yankees today, you can put down a $100 wager that the Jays will win (you will get your $100 back if the Yankees lose). However, if you were looking at yesterday’s game between the Blue Jackets and the Flames, you would have had to bet $600 that the Flames were going to win (they didn’t, but you won $600 on that bet). Tomorrow is different, however. The Blue Jackets might have improved, and you will need to adjust your wager accordingly.

Overall

An overall is a combination of everything from the goal line to the handicap system. Essentially, it is a blend of all the factors that contribute to a team’s chances of winning. In this case, the overall for the Anaheim Ducks last season was 4.91, which means that they had a 41% chance of winning based on all the factors, including the handicap. If you are new to the world of betting, it is a good idea to use handicaps to find your way around, rather than trying to learn how to calculate odds and perform stat-based analysis by yourself. That is a lot of information to digest, and, as a result, a lot of anxiety that comes along with it.