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Hockey Point Spread

A hockey point spread can be commonly understood as the number of goals by which the winning team will defeat the opposing team during the game at play. However, this is only a layman’s understanding of the term. Essentially, a hockey point spread is the precise line at which the bookmaker believes that the total money riding on the match will be split across both sides. In most hockey matches there will be one team that is at least perceived to be slightly ahead of the opponent. As such in the absence of any correcting mechanism, a majority of the gamblers would like to wager their hard earned money on the team that they believe have the maximum probability to win the match. While this is simply common sense, this trend of one side of the match becoming heavily leveraged does not augur well for bookmakers. Bookmakers would not like to face the possibility of a massive payout in case of a victory by the favorite. As such they determine the hockey point spread. This is the line wherein gamblers would like to more or less equally bet on both sides. A hockey point spread is also referred to as the goal line bet.

How Point Spread Work

The hockey point spread is therefore essentially used to ‘handicap’ the favorite team and split the wagering evenly on both sides. The hockey point spread can range between 1 and 2.5 points. A team winning by more than 3 goals is a rare occurrence, though not entirely an impossible one. So even if the favorite team is handicapped by more than 2.5 goals, the gambler can still fancy his chances of achieving a payout. As in money line bets, the favorite team carries a minus sign while the underdog carries a positive sign.

For example, let us assume that the Colorado Avalanches are taking on the Calgary Flames in a regular NHL league match. The bookmakers have pegged the hockey point spread for the match at -1.5 in favor of the Colorado team. This means that for a gambler who has bet on the Colorado team to get his winnings, the team must not only defeat their opponents but also beat them by at least 2 goals.

Money Line Bets and Point Spreads

Hockey point spreads are often interpreted and offered to gamblers as money line bets. Money line bets are the money equivalent or the price at which a gambler can purchase a point spread. Thus, a gambler who reads money line bets is actually looking to judge whether the hockey point spread converted is justified or not. In the earlier example, the operating money line bet was -190 for Colorado and +160 for Calgary. This means that Colorado is the favorites to win the match and gamblers will need to put down an initial amount of $100. This is colloquially referred to as ‘putting up the juice’. Gamblers who bet on the underdogs do not have to make an initial ‘juice’ payment. Here Calgary is the underdog. Gamblers will get $160 for every $100 they bet on the underdog as per the operating hockey point spread odds. Money line bets thus, eliminate the need for the winning team to win with a preset margin because that is already inbuilt into the odds being offered. The winning team needs to just win out-and-out for the bet to be successful.

Game Total Score – Over/Under

Apart from the hockey point spread, bookmakers also post the total score for a match. Gamblers can predict whether the actual aggregate score will be over or under the posted total. In the Colorado v/s Calgary match the total score posted was 105. So the total number of goals scored by both sides must total 105 according to the bookmakers. The limit has been set at 5.5. So if the total score exceeds the posted total by more than 6, the gambler will get his payout. It is immaterial as to who actually wins the match. Over and under bets are similar to hockey point spread bets in that respect that gamblers need to wager the initial $100 if they need to make a $110 winning.

There are several online hockey betting websites who offer hockey point spread bets as well as over and under bets. A gambler can carefully analyze the odds put forth by them before deciding whether to purchase these bets or not. The playing form of the two goalkeepers of the match is also a critical criterion while deciding on over and under bets and the point spread. The role of goalkeepers during a hockey match cannot be understated. Detailed statistics are available online regarding the total goals saved, total goals conceded and other related information. These must be gleaned to assess the efficacy of the odds put forward in order to make a successful betting decision.