What is the Three-Way Puck Line Handicap in NHL Meaning?

Betting on the National Hockey League (NHL) is a bit different than betting on some of the other sports around the world. There are some very limited betting options available, but some of those options do come with ways to add to the degree of difficulty.

A three-way puck line handicap bet is similar to a three-way money line bet as this bet is limited to just the first 60 minutes of action. There are still three options that you will see listed, and a “tie” will always be one of those options.

Any time that you see the word “handicap” used when discussing sports betting, you can assume that one team is seen to have an advantage before the game begins. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers take that advantage into account, and then they apply it to a three-way puck line handicap wager. 

The betting odds are usually the same for each team with this type of wager, and you will usually see those odds at -110. The result of a “tie” will then have a completely different set of odds, and you will see that in the example below. 

Explaining the Puck Line

The puck line in hockey is similar to betting against the spread in other sports. The Moneyline is the most popular way to bet on the NHL, but betting the puck line provides a terrific opportunity as well. 

The puck line then handicaps the two teams in a matchup, but there is always an option to bet on a “draw” or tie as well. That means that there will always be a true outcome with this type of bet, and you won’t ever have a push.

Most sports fans would agree that the overtime period in the NHL does not resemble what takes place during the first 60 minutes, and that is why this bet only focuses on the regulation period. If the two teams head to an overtime period with a tie score, this three-way puck line handicap bet has already been settled one way or another.

Three-Way Puck Line Handicap Example

In an effort to explain a three-way puck line handicap better, we will look at an example bet of what this might look like. Remember that each sportsbook will have different betting lines for each game in a three-way puck line bet.

For this example, we will use a fake matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues.

  • Blackhawks -1.0
  • Blackhawks -2.0
  • Tie 

For this example, the Blackhawks are expected to win this game based on the handicap, but there are a few options listed. You can either bet on Chicago to win the game by one goal, by two goals, or a tie. 

This also means that the St. Louis Blues are basically starting the game off with either a one or two-goal lead if you are planning on betting on them. Remember, this bet only focuses on the first 60 minutes of action, and anything that is done in overtime doesn’t count.

The Blackhawks would need to win the game by at least two goals to win the bet in which they are -1.0. For the other example, Chicago would have to win the game by three goals to cover the -2.0 spread. If the game is decided by just one goal during the first 60 minutes, then that is when the tie would be the right play.

You can also flip the handicap around and instead look at this from the perspective of the St. Louis Blues. 

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