If you are wagering at the sportsbook at DraftKings and you come across an abbreviation PL in a New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils betting line, don’t panic. You haven’t discovered a new exotic form of wagering. PL is merely an oft-used short form for the puckline, a prominent method to handicap wagers on NHL games.
Whereas the moneyline is a straight up win/loss proposition in terms of the outcome – if the team that you wagered on wins, whether it’s by one goal or 10 goals – you are also a winner on the bet that you laid down.
With a puck line, you get a little help, or you give a little help. Since one-goal decisions are the most common outcome in NHL games, the puck line is generally set at +1.5 for the underdog and -1.5 for the favorite.
So if the Rangers were -1.5 in this game against the Devils, that would mean they are the team expected to win and if you choose to wager on the Rangers, you will be giving the Devils 1.5 goals – basically a 1.5-0 lead on the scoreboard before the game starts – and in order for you to cash a winning ticket on your bet, the Rangers must beat the Devils by at last two goals. But the benefit to you is that you’ve flipped the odds. True, you are giving away goals, but now the payout to you is a positive number, meaning you can bet less in order to win more.
Should you chose to make a play on the Devils at +1.5, you will be getting 1.5 goals, so you’d be starting the game with a 1.5-0 lead. But if the Devils manage to just lose the game by a goal, say a 3-2 setback, then even though they go home losers, you go home a winner because of the 1.5-goal handicap. But because you are gaining the help of those 1.5 goals, you must give odds to the house and your bet will come attached to negative odds, say -120. So you’d need to be $120 to win $100.