Tip-In Tuesday: Hockey Betting Advice of the Week, Part Four

Tip-In Tuesday- Hockey Betting Advice of the Week, Part Four

Every Tuesday, we dive into one aspect of hockey betting or one important thing to note for bettors of all varieties. For those interested in betting on the NHL the differences compared to other sports, there are few with a lot of similarities between hockey lines and odds and other sports. However, there are some things to note that will not only make you a smarter bettor but hopefully a more profitable one. With that, here is the weekly column where we look at a specific aspect of hockey betting and how to understand it.

Making Sense Of Over/Unders

Like any sport, the total is always a great way to bet on a game when you don’t have a specific team to root for or believe is going to win. The total allows the fan to watch the game as a neutral and unbiased fan and in a way, appreciate the game better. For many general sports fans, this is an ideal way to bet on hockey and understand the game more as many fans don’t have a team they root for in particular (or simply don’t have a rooting interest between the Ducks and Canucks, for example).

Most totals will generally fall at 5.5 or 6 with the average team scoring three goals per game and allowing around the same number as well (think about how in the MLB, the total is generally 8.5 or 9). On occasion, a total will be 6.5 for games that are projected to be higher scoring. With this in mind, it’s always important to keep in mind the teams that are scoring the most goals per game, as of Tuesday, November 16th, below are the top five highest-scoring teams in the NHL.

TeamGoals Per Game
Edmonton Oilers4.14
Florida Panthers 3.73
Washington Capitals3.60
Anaheim Ducks3.56
Colorado Avalanche3.50

It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers are higher than usual, especially since it’s still early in the season and the stat will eventually regress to the mean but looking at last season’s top five offenses, we still see how the Over can cover even with a high total.

Team Goals Per Game
Colorado Avalanche3.52
Pittsburgh Penguins 3.45
Vegas Golden Knights3.39
Florida Panthers 3.36
Washington Capitals3.36

The other important thing to understand with the totals is how they can be different, especially as a game unfolds. For starters, a “backdoor cover” is harder and less likely in hockey. In most sports, an Over can cover with a pile-up of points late in the game but with hockey (and for all intents and purposes, soccer), there is only one point per goal and more importantly, if a game is tied heading into overtime, the total is determined to go Over or Under.

Likewise, when betting the totals in hockey, it’s easy to determine early on when the Over or the Under is going to cover based on the pace of the game and how the teams look on the ice. While teams can pile on the goals late in a game or conversely, see a scoring drought in the final period, it’s much less common to see the pace of the game change in a matter of minutes.

Furthermore, there’s a belief that it’s always more fun to bet the Over in sports, after all, the more scoring the better. However, in hockey, that isn’t the case. Goals are rare and it can be gut-wrenching to watch a scoreless game with both goaltenders playing well knowing you had the Over on 5.5 goals. In fact, the defensive struggle can oftentimes be just as exciting, which can’t be said about the other major sports.

What This Means For Bettors?

Like any sport, bettors need to know how a team plays and their style of play before betting the total. Watching the games is key in this regard but more importantly, following the league allows fans to know who is finding the back of the net or which goaltender is a brick wall. Moreover, matchups are pivotal when it comes to betting on the total, while hockey doesn’t often have one on one matchups or isolated situations, a specific unit can take advantage of another.

Finally, knowing how a game unfolds allows fans to bet midgame. Many betting platforms allow fans to bet in the middle of the game and as a result, you can take advantage of a total knowing how the teams are playing on the ice. This is especially noteworthy since hockey totals are easier to gauge early on in a game compared to other sports.

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