Upcoming Match-ups

Blackhawks Overs and Islanders Unders Were the Best Totals Bets Last NHL Season

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NHL Hockey

Updated Sep 30, 2019 · 7:17 AM PDT

Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks games went over the total at the NHL's highest rate in 2018-19. Photo by Lisa Gansky (Wiki Commons) [CC License].
  • The 2019-2020 NHL season begins Wednesday October 2nd
  • Last season, Blackhawks games were the most likely to go over the total, while Islanders games were the most likely to go under
  • Which teams are likely to replicate their 2018-19 performance against the total this season?

There was some serious money to be made last NHL season by simply betting the over in every single Blackhawks, Panthers and Sharks game. Conversely, you could have been just as successful betting the under in every Islanders, Blue Jackets and Stars game.

2018-19 NHL Over/Under Records

Team Over/Under Records ROI%
Chicago Blackhawks 51-26-5 23.99%
Florida Panthers 47-29-6 16.16%
San Jose Sharks 57-40-5 12.67%
New York Islanders 30-56-4 -29.36%
Dallas Stars 29-54-12 -24.41%
Columbus Blue Jackets 34-52-6 -21.73%

With the puck set to drop on a new NHL season Wednesday, it’s time to examine whether or not these teams are likely to replicate their success or failure against the total in 2019-20.

Will the Over Trends Continue?

Betting the over in Chicago’s games last year must have felt like stealing money. The Blackhawks were a perfect mix of good offense and lousy defense, and at one point they hit the over in 16 consecutive games.

They ranked 30th in shots on goal and goals against, and dead last in penalty kill percentage. On offense, they were top-12 in goals for, power play percentage and shooting percentage, and all seven of their top scorers are back for another season.

They did make moves to try to solidify their blue line, but it doesn’t appear to be enough to transform them into a shut down defensive team. They’re a near lock to be a top-10 scoring team and will be an over target on a nighly basis, but the same cannot be said for Florida or San Jose.

The Sharks lost star forward Joe Pavelski to free agency and didn’t do enough to replace his offensive production. His departure will be felt most on the power play, where he scored 12 times to help San Jose finish sixth with the man advantage. He also led the team in shooting percentage and that type of efficiency loss hurts their chances of being a team that routinely exceeds the total.

As for the Panthers, upgrading from Roberto Luongo to Sergei Bobrovsky drastically reduces their expected goals against average which was a big reason why they were involved in so many high scoring games. Bobrovsky has a GAA of 2.75 or lower in seven straight seasons, and new head coach Joel Quenneville will place a much greater emphasis on defense.

Who’s Most Likely to be in Lower Scoring Games?

The Islanders, Stars and Blue Jackets ranked first, second and 10th in goals against last season. All three teams had an excellent penalty killing unit and finished in the bottom half of the league in shots on goal, so it’s no wonder the majority of their games struggled to go over the total.

Both the Isles and Jackets were atrocious on the power play and had league average shooting percentages so its hard to argue they’re due to turn things around offensively. New York relies heavily on defense and goaltending to win games and besides Matthew Barzal, doesn’t feature a lot of firepower.

Columbus did little this offseason to replace their number one scorer Artemi Panarin, who left in free agency, and have all the makings of a team who’ll struggle to score goals again this year. It’s easy to project these two clubs will once again be involved in plenty of low scoring games, but Dallas might be a different story.

Jamie Benn had his worst statistical season in the last six years in 2018-19, and Tyler Seguin produced his second lowest goals total since joining the Stars. Both players have a stellar track record of success and should revert back to their career norms which will increase Dallas’ offensive production. The Stars made a big splash this offseason by signing Pavelski, and his 40-goal ceiling and power play proficiency should make them one the league’s most dangerous teams.

They still have Ben Bishop between the pipes, so they’re going to be involved in high scoring games every night, but their offense is potent enough now that they shouldn’t be considered an under candidate as frequently as last year.

Author Image