NHL Team Totals Betting Guide, Tips and Strategies

Bettors searching for success can find a niche in betting on NHL team totals. Betting on hockey takes some time and effort to find real value but oftentimes the most value can be found on betting NHL team totals.

Unlike football and basketball where points are aplenty, scoring in hockey is like that of baseball. Betting the spread, or puck line, in hockey is always the same bet – betting on a favorite to win by two or more or betting on an underdog to lose by one or win outright.

Betting NHL team totals offers bettors a way to increase profits, but they have to understand the bet first. Then, they can put a few strategies to work.

The NHL Team Totals Bet

When placing an NHL team totals bet, you are betting on the Over or Under on an individual team’s point total. Here’s an example.

Vegas Golden Knights:

Over 3.5 (+110)

Under 3.5 (-150)

Minnesota Wild:

Over 2.5 (-120)

Under 2.5 (-120)

In this matchup between Vegas and Minnesota, bettors could wager on the Golden Knights to score more than 3.5 goals. If Vegas scores four or more goals, a $100 bet on the Over would pay out $110.

Likewise, a sports bettor could wager $120 on Minnesota to score fewer than 2.5 goals. If the Wild scored two goals or less, the winning bet would pay out $100.

Understanding NHL Final Scores

An NHL game total is typically set at between 5 and 8 goals. Allocating those goals per team, bettors will find that a typical team total is between 2.5 and 4.

It’s also important to understand common final scores. The most common result in an NHL game is 3-2. The second most common is 4-2. Knowing these results can help in determining how to bet a team total.

Tips and Strategies for Betting Team Totals

Betting an NHL team total comes down to a couple factors. One is the goaltending matchup. Let’s say that Vegas has one of the better goaltenders in the NHL. His GAA, or goals against average is 1.98 which ranks him in the top-5 among all NHL goalies. Add in a save percentage of .928 and you should understand that this goalie doesn’t allow too many goals.

Let’s also say that the opponent in this case, the Minnesota goalie, gives up 2.63 goals per game and has a .915 save percentage. Neither ranks in the top-20 in the league. In addition to the goaltender matchup, it’s also worth checking out how the two teams have fared against each other in a given season.

You find that Vegas has scored four or more goals in two of its past three games against Minnesota. With the same two goaltenders going up against one another, there is some value in Vegas Over 3.5 goals at +110.

In addition to looking at goaltending, bettors can also look at shots against statistics to get an idea of how good a team is defensively. Better defensive teams allow fewer shots which results in fewer goals.

If Vegas is a top 5 team in shots against and is also a top 5 team in goals against, there could be value on the Knights’ opponent’s total. Using our Minnesota example, a bet on the Wild to go Under 2.5 goals is a sound bet though you may wish to use another simple strategy before placing that bet. Shop around to find the best NHL odds on a given bet before placing it.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.