Because the puck line always involves a 1½ point spread, as opposed to the flexible point spread used in sports like football and basketball, the NHL betting prices for each team can vary considerably. Interestingly, you typically have to risk more to wager with the puck line on an underdog, so the prospect of NHL betting on underdogs with the puck line deserves special consideration.
NHL betting on underdogs with the puck line can often involve laying -200 or more. However, a 1½ point handicap in online NHL betting is quite large, so this type of betting actually involves wagering on underdogs that seem to have a good chance of winning. In other words, the biggest puck line prices will be for NHL betting matchups that are expected to be very close. One reason why the 1½ point handicap impacts NHL betting lines so dramatically is that when games go to shootouts the winning team is given one point in the eyes of the sportsbooks.
Consequently, a wager on the puck line underdog, who will be listed as +1½ in the NHL betting odds, will invariably win when an NHL betting matchup goes to a shootout, which is relatively common. Nevertheless, laying -200 or more in an online NHL betting matchup must be done carefully because you must win a high percentage of such wagers in order to come out ahead in the end.
In order to bet on the big puck line underdogs successfully, you will want to ensure that each team has a good chance of staying close in an NHL betting matchup.
One important factor to consider during this analysis is the advantages enjoyed by road teams. Home underdogs can often provide quite good NHL betting value and they may exceed expectations with relatively high frequency. Also, defensive teams can often provide nice value for expensive puck line underdogs because such teams can keep games close. By keeping the score low in a matchup the team will have a good chance of keeping the score close, and possibly putting the game into a shootout. Furthermore, during each online NHL betting season several common underdog teams end up defying expectations and playing very well throughout the year. By identifying these teams early in the NHL betting season you will likely find excellent value in the teams’ puck lines.
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