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What does minus mean in hockey betting odds and lines?
A minus (-) sign in NHL betting indicates the team (or odds) that are favored to win.
When you see a negative number in a betting line on an NHL game, it means that you are giving odds to the sportsbook. Say you were wagering at PointsBet on the Nashville Predators vs Winnipeg Jets game with the following odds:
- Predators -135
- Jets +155
In this example, PointsBet has listed the Predators as the favorites to win the game. Moneylines are based on $100 increments. In a negative moneyline such as this one, the -135 means that you would be required to wager $135 on the Predators if you desired to finish the game with a profit of $100 on your bet.
The moneyline isn’t the only place in an NHL betting line where negative numbers are going to appear. You might also see a line that looks something like this:
- Predators -1.5 (-105)
- Jets +1.5 (-130)
This is what's referred to as the puck line which is hockey’s version of a point spread (widely popular in the NFL). In almost every instance with an NHL puck line you will either get 1.5 goals (+1.5) or give 1.5 goals (-1.5).
If the Jets were listed as +1.5 against the Predators at PointsBet, that would indicate that they are the underdogs, so they receive a 1.5 goal handicap. Next to the +1.5, you might see a number such as -130.
With the puck line, since you are being given the advantage of having an extra 1.5 goals on your side of the wager, the underdog Jets have become the favorites in the eyes of the bookmakers and therefore you will need to wager $130 on the Jets in order to win a $100 stipend.
You will also find negative numbers if you choose to wager on the total number of goals:
- Over 6.5 (-120)
- Under 6.5 (-110)
This means the sportsbook thinks the under has a slightly greater chance of hitting, so you receive better odds.