Before the introduction of the shootout, sports books routinely offered bettors the infamous plus-or-minus half-a-puck to the line in collaboration with the money line.
It was a quick, effective way to prevent refunding tickets due to the numerous ties that savaged the NHL scoreboard.
In the future, could the same be done for hockey totals?
Case-in-point, “my” Los Angeles Kings, which are drowning in a scoring drought.
Since Christmas Day, the Kings have played just a pair of OVERS in 19 games. However, among the other 17 games, seven were pushes on the total of 5.
“It seems like all of our games are 3-2,” quipped Kings coach Darryl Sutter back in November.
You can shop around for the best odds all you want, but a push is a push no matter what, offering no reward for your handicapping time. In fact, more than 27 percent of all NHL games land on 5 over the past three seasons.
In non-pushes, the OVER comes in four of the remaining seven times. However, the odds usually point toward that side, so you will be laying considerable chalk to reach a break-even mark.
Thus, most hockey bettors, usually inexperienced players who are in town for the weekend, would rather bet their money somewhere else rather than endure a boring 2-1 game – even if it means winning the wager.
Speaking of boring, the Kings actually are playing okay, but just can’t get the puck into the net. Last week, they took a rare road victory at San Jose, albeit just 1-0, continuing a current string of six games scoring just once or getting shutout.
With no end in sight (including a trade for some scoring help), if there’s a team that needs the Olympic break, this is the one.
Other teams to look at for UNDER plays include most of the Pacific Division.
San Jose is 6-0-1 toward the UNDER, along with Anaheim (5-2), Edmonton (5-3) and Phoenix (3-0).
On the flip side, Vancouver has played four straight to the OVER. In fact, when the Canucks go OVER they tend to lose (1-8), so look for this parlay opportunity.
While the attention of major books is transferring from football to basketball with spring training baseball just month away, the smart bettors continue to find soft lines in the NHL, which take less action and remain vulnerable.
Many local books admitted the public has been blindly betting on top teams, such as Chicago and Pittsburgh, no matter the odds or situation. Don’t do it!
With several teams going through the mid-season blues, the Blackhawks just lost four straight and 5-of-6, while the Penguins are just 4-3 over the past two weeks.
Sochi: What do I know about international hockey? Zip. But I can read the Internet. On paper, based on the number of NHL players participating, the USA and Canada figure to play for the gold.
Sweden, with quite a bit of recent international tournament success, might offer the best payoff.
However, Johan Franzen of the Detroit Red Wings is out due to a concussion, which will hit his home country hard in the battle for medal contention.
Franzen was one of a handful of players back from the Swedish team that captured gold at the 2006 Turin Games, the same year Sweden also won the world championship. He also represented Sweden in Vancouver 2010.
Tre Kronor (translates to Three Kings, the team’s nickname) are also the reigning world champions, so they are the obvious selection for an upset special.
Contact Nick at [email protected].