The first few weeks of the NHL season saw a majority of games go over the total.
Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood spoke out at the beginning of the season, commenting that the referees “call the most ridiculous things for the first two months of the season trying to jack up the scores then they call nothing as the season goes along.”
A month and a half later and most games are going under the total. Oddsmakers usually set totals of 5.5 and 6 goals, but the last few weeks has seen more than a few totals of “5”.
The Atlanta Thrashers, the NHL’s highest scoring team, has gone over the total the highest percent of time in the league – 64.7 percent (11 of 17 games). More impressive, is that Atlanta has had a total of “6” set for every game this season.
The New Jersey Devils have allowed a league low 50 goals, and have gone under the total 21.7% of the time (5-16-2 record) – the lowest percent in the league.
The Phoenix Coyotes have gone over the total just 24% of the time (6-18-1 record). The Coyotes have scored 60 goals and allowed 61 in 25 games.
New Jersey is one of a handful of teams that should see totals of 5 in the near future. Other teams are Boston, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Phoenix.
5 is an important number, because once a game is 2-2, the best that under backers can hope for is a push (tie). During the clutch-and-grab era and during the NHL playoffs, it is not uncommon to see a total as low as 4.5.
Oddsmakers have yet to set a total of 6.5 this year. The closest was an October 29th game between Washington and Atlanta. The total was set at 6 goals, -131.
Totals are a fun way to bet a game – especially if you don’t particularly care for either team. Betting the over is almost always more fun, but lately the under has been coming in a higher percentage of the time.