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Playing the Puck Line

Playing the Puck Line

Playing the Puck Line
By Judd Hall

Bettors are always looking to find another avenue to get the best bang for their buck. Sure you can play a multi-team parlay, Grand Salami, teaser or the round robin. But sometimes you don’t need to make the plays that complicated for you. Instead, focus on the simple bets that can yield a decent payday. The puck line is the perfect example of that type of wager.

For those of you that aren’t too familiar with puck lines, they play exactly the same as what you would see in baseball with the run line. Teams that are favored to win outright will also be set up for an option to win by 1½-goals, basically asking you to make the bet if you believe they’ll win by two or more goals. If you take the “chalk” to win by two or more scores, then you’ll get a return on investment of no worse than plus-145 (risk $100 to win $145).

While the paydays are nice, they don’t come too often. In December, 42 percent of all games played have been decided by a single goal. That would make you want to take the ‘dog in a lot of games, but it also means you have to drop well over $200 bucks just to make $100. That is definitely not worth the risk.
It’s best to start at the top of the standing when looking for teams to ride on the puck line during the year. Reason is simple enough: clubs sitting atop the standings are normally beating the competition handily.

The Bruins are a perfect team to focus on for these purposes. Boston has scored 106 times this year, while yielding just 67 goals. The B’s run two lines deep when it comes to being able to light the lamp. That prowess has helped them post a 24-6 mark against the puck line this season. They’ve been like an ATM machine for bettors at home this year by winning by two or more goals in 10 of 13 home games. The only time you might want to fade them is when they’re listed as a “chalk” on the road: they’ve gone 1-3 in that situation.

Washington is another solid club that you can plunk some money down on and see some immediate returns. They have some of the most electric young talent in the game today with Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. And the Capitals have used that talent to their advantage at home in going 10-4 on the PL. They even give you a genuine fade when away from the Verizon Center with a 6-11 mark in this situation. However, they have 5-2 PL in the seven times they were installed as a road favorite.

Now not all teams that are sitting atop a division will give you a chance to fatten your wallet…well, they won’t if you decide to back them at the betting shops. But you can’t look at the down side of these clubs. Nope. Think of them just showing you a way NOT to win money.

The Rangers are one of those clubs to stay away from when look for a puck line play. New York has won 20 games this year thanks to some great performers from players like Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Nikolai Zherdev and Henrik Lundqvist. As talented as the Blueshirts are, they’ve not been able to win by multiple goals all year. It’s not hard to figure that out when you realize they are 9-24 PL during the 2008-2009 season.

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