I know football trumps all when it comes to sportsbetting, both in the college ranks and the National Football League; it’s just the way it is, and most likely always will be. However, those top handicappers looking at wagering on hockey have liked what they’ve seen so far this season. Let me tell you why.
First off all, scoring has been off the charts so far this NHL season, and online bettors backing the OVER have been reaping the rewards. The Pittsburgh Penguins finished last season with the most goals scored per game at 3.39, 0.18 more than Minnesota, who finished second with 3.21. Only seven teams finished the 2016-17 season with 3 goals per game or above.
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While it’s true we are only a quarter the way through the 2017-18 season, at this point we have 15 teams that are averaging 3 goals or more per game. Of those 15, six of them are averaging above the 3.39 the Penguins finished with to lead the league last season. Also noteworthy is the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning are lighting the lamp at an unreal pace, at 3.95 goals per game.
If we go back a few years and see where the leaders finished really shows just how impressive this stat is. In 2015-16, Dallas lead the league with 3.23, Tampa Bay with 3.16 the year before, Anaheim with 3.21 in 2013-14, Pittsburgh at 3.38 and 3.33 in 2012-13 and 2011-12, respectively.
If you want to look at the other end of the spectrum, the Buffalo Sabres are scoring the least this year, averaging 2.29 goals per game, with the Colorado Avalanche finishing the 2016-17 season scoring at a 2.01 goals per game clip.
But let’s look at the number 2.59. Last season, eleven teams scored 2.59 goals per game or less. Only 5 teams have averaged less than 2.59 goals per game. What this shows is that not only are the top NHL teams scoring more goals, but so are the bottom feeders in the offensive categories.
So what is causing this increase in scoring? Baseball blamed the massive number of homeruns this season on a new ball, one that was stitched tighter, giving a greater exit velocity and in turn making it travel farther. But did the NHL bring in a new puck? Don’t think so.
One thing the increase in goal scoring has in common with the increase in homeruns are the advances in physical fitness, helping make the professional athletes bigger and stronger all while shortening their recovery period. All these factors are leading to better numbers across the board.
How has this actually translated when it comes to betting on the total in the National Hockey League this year? We have to remember that NHL Bookmakers are very quick to catch on to the trends and are even quicker to adjust. As of last week, we have seen 69 totals of 6 goals. What does this matter you ask? That number has already surpassed the total number of six goals totals of any season over the past six years.
Overall, the OVER is 324-282-24 (numbers from vegasinsider.com) with Colorado the best OVER bet at 14-4-1, followed by Vegas, Tampa and the New York Islanders. The best UNDER teams are San Jose, Anaheim and Columbus.
Although scoring is way up, you still need to do your research and pick your spots. The tips and advice are out there to help you on your way, but if the scoring trend continues, look for the OVER to pad your sports betting account.
By Joe Berra