The National Hockey League has always been the least bet of the four major North American professional sports leagues. That's why it’s surprising to hear about how much money the betting professionals in Las Vegas make betting hockey.
The fact that so few people bet on the NHL means that the people making the lines spend that much less time on them. They know that even if they put out a bad line, the damage will still be minimal. Remember, they only take so much money on hockey games.
With the bookies spending more time focusing on the lines for football and basketball games, it creates plenty of opportunities for players to find favorable NHL hockey totals and exploit them.
The Underlying Advantage
The biggest advantage that players have when betting on the NHL odds is in its totals where – for a long time – there was major reluctance to put up numbers other than 5.5. There might be a number like 6 or even in the rare case a 6.5. Mostly, though, bookies sit 5.5 as their key number for NHL totals. The fact that it’s so rare so see a number move and even when it does it isn’t a very significant move is proof that the bookies don’t spend too much time on the hockey lines.
Take baseball as the perfect example of a sport that the bookies really pay attention to in terms of adjusting the totals over the course of the summer. The lines for MLB totals could move all the way from 6.5 or 7.5 in matchups featuring elite pitchers to 11.5 and 12.5 for weak pitching matchups in games that feature explosive offenses.
While the totals for the NBA and NFL are adjusted even more than the MLBm that is to be expected because of the point totals and disparities the same cannot be said for a sport like soccer where the majority of games finish with around two to three goals scored. However, even in soccer the bookies will move the totals from 2 to as much as 3.5 or more. So why do the bookies not make bigger adjustments to NHL totals? And what can players do to take advantage of it?
Focusing On The Goaltenders
The smartest approach to betting NHL totals is to focus on the starting goaltenders. There are 22 teams in the NHL that average more than 2.50 goals per game. That ranges from the Tampa Bay Lightning with the most at 3.14 goals per game and the Montreal Canadiens at No. 22 with 2.54 goals per game.
The difference between the two isn’t even a full goal, so do you bet the Over or the Under when these teams play? The smart bet depends on the goaltender match up. While the best goalies in the league have been able to keep their GAA around the 2.00 mark, any goalie outside of the top-10 has a 2.30 GAA or higher. In the right matchup, that could be the goalie you pick on for the Over.
Since the the best betting sites rarely adjust the lines, it’s important to search out those goalies and find the perfect situations to bet the Over.
The NHL is the least bet out of the four major professional North American sports leagues but that could also make it the best if you are able to read between the lines and find the winning totals.