Hockey Totals Betting: Master the Over/Under & Season Point Totals
There’s no shortage of options for betting on the NHL these days. Many bettors find the range of over/under propositions the most exciting, and there are totals betting options for both individual games or the entire season. Below you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown of the different types of hockey totals bets and an explanation of how you can gain an edge with each of them.
Individual Game Totals
Single game totals are one of the most exciting bets you can make on a night to night basis. Like other single game totals bets, you’ll wager on whether the combined final score of the game is over or under the predetermined amount set by the sportsbook.
Betting the over should never be counted out in the current climate of the NHL. There is so much skill and scoring in the league that a barrage over a 5 or 10 minute span can always bring you back into play, even late in the game. That’s not to say over is always the right play, but betting on a high-scoring game does ramp up the entertainment value.
Hockey betting sites will set the totals line for a single game somewhere in the range of 5 to 7 total goals, depending on which teams are playing and a variety other factors likely to affect the final score. If you see a total like 5.5 or 6.5, the half number is just to guarantee there won’t be a push (a tie bet where you get your money back). If you take the over on 5.5, for example, the final score will need to be 6 or higher in order for you to win the bet.
Single Game Totals Betting Tips
Here is a list of 5 things you should consider before deciding to bet over or under on any given contest:
- Goals For & Against Per Game for both teams
- How have the teams performed recently? Are they on a hot streak in terms of goals scored?
- How much rest has each team had?
- Are there any significant injuries that could change the outcome?
- Are either of the teams starting a backup goaltender?
The first two points are obvious, as you’ll want to gauge the rate at which each team typically scores and allows goals. Rest is also a very big factor – teams playing back to back games are more likely to be tired, which could lead to added offense for the opponent. Significant injuries are key as well. Thankfully, very little is kept private on social media. Checking the Twitter account for each team the afternoon before the game will give you all the info you need.
Lastly, always scout those social media accounts or blogs to see if a backup goalie is playing. With the salary cap playing such a big role in today’s game, many teams are forced to sign a cheap backup that can’t come close to matching the quality of the starter. Monitoring these trends can give you a decided advantage when wagering on the hockey over/under.
Use SBD Sharp to Monitor Past Performance
SBD Sharp is a proprietary tool that tracks teams as investments over time, showing you how they’ve performed in specific situations in seasons past. In terms of hockey totals bets, you can see each team’s record and sports betting return on investment when wagering the over/under all season, at home, when away, or as a favorite vs underdog.
Check out the tool yourself to see how the teams you’re interested in betting performed last year on the totals line.
Season Long Totals Betting
In addition to single game totals bets, there are two different season-long hockey totals bets you can make:
- How many games the team will win overall
- How many points the team will accumulate during the season
Season wins totals are obvious – teams tally a win anytime they outright win the game in regulation, overtime or in a shootout.
Total points does not refer to the number of goals the team scores throughout the year. Rather, they are the ranking system used in the NHL for playoff berths. Teams are awarded two points for each game they win outright, and one point for making it to overtime, even if they lose.
Betting a team’s point total is advantageous because you can add up these “loser points,” as they are referred to in the hockey community. The Florida Panthers were the best example of this during the 2018-2019 season, gaining 14 points for losing games in overtime or a shootout.
Rather than needing to correctly predict the exact number of wins or points a team will accumulate, these wagers are presented as over/under propositions. Betting on your favorite team to go over or a rival team to go under their projected totals is a great way to add a little excitement to each game you end up watching.
Season Long Totals Betting Tips
If you’re looking to dive deeper and want to make wagers using analysis, here are some things to consider before making your bets:
- How did the team perform last year?
- What changes did they make in the off-season? (Did they add talent which will lead to a point increase or lose good players that will lead to a decrease?)
- Are there any significant injuries affecting the roster?
- What division does the team play in?
These four things will help you decide which side of the wager you want to be on. If you have a young team with a low point total, it stands to reason they would be improving with a full year of experience. Alternatively, an older team with a high point total could find it difficult to match their point total from the previous year. The odds makers will always consider significant injuries, so it’s important you do so as well.
Pay Close Attention To Which Division a Team Plays In
Finally, the division a team plays in is very important. Teams play more games in their own division than they do anywhere else, so it could play a big role in a team’s full season point total.
Teams play each team in their division 5 times, the other teams in their conference 3 times and teams from the opposing conference twice.
Zero in not only on the team you’re betting on, but the divisional opponents they will face most often. If the team of focus is trending upwards and playing in a division with older teams or those worn down from long playoff runs, the over could be a strong play. If the team plays in a stacked division (say the Central Division in the Western Conference in 2019-20) you need to factor in some extra losses due to the strength of schedule.
Knowledge Is the Key to Hockey Totals Betting
Beyond betting for your favorite team or against your least favorite, being informed is the key to turning a profit when it comes to over/under bets. Whether it’s day to day or full season, any bit of added information that could give you an edge is important.
Scour multiple reliable sources, follow insiders and team accounts on Twitter, and always be out for any nugget that can give you an edge. The odds will always be close to even (you’ll often see over and under both listed at -110) so to spin things in your favor you’ll need to keep an eye on the tips and trends.
If you’re looking for additional NHL betting resources, be sure to check out the rest of the hockey articles in our sport-specific betting advice section.