Bettors liking more offense in NHL, but is it worth the wager
October 17, 2017 3:05 AM
For NFL football bettors, teasers and money-line parlays are killing the sportsbooks. In fact, the advantage for players is so great, some books have adjusted teaser odds to their favor just to trim their losses.
For NHL hockey bettors, especially those of you visiting Vegas just for the weekend, the choice is to bet Over the total. Sure, you might be considered the “square” money – professional gamblers tend to look first at the Under – yet the Squares are the ones going to the window after the game with winning tickets.
In a midweek story posted on the GamingToday website, I discussed the “gluttony of goals” in the early-going of NHL play. I offered numbers that demonstrated the league is scoring more than seven goals per game in the vast majority of situations.
Betting types were pleased with the analysis, yet others point out that in some seasons this is a normal trend that reverses in Week 2. So, let’s look at the results for Week 2.
Date OV UN
Oct. 9 4 3
Oct. 10 3 4
Oct. 11 3 2
Oct. 12 5 2
Oct. 13 3 2
Oct. 14 7 7
Total 25 20
Four of the six days the Over remained the standard, giving the “high side” a win rate of nearly 56 percent. It’s not enough to bet blindly on the Over or throw a bunch of games into a parlay, yet that trend continues.
Although the sample size is limited, are there any emerging trends for a Side & Total parlay this season? The most obvious is the Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 contests, 5 Overs in starting fast with a 4-1-0 record. Similarly, Tampa Bay is 4-1-0 with 4 Overs.
Can the Leafs keep winning? Well, my power rankings still rate the Atlantic Division as the weakest of the four NHL divisions. And with intra-division games taking 34 percent of the schedule, the Leafs have a shot at challenging Tampa Bay, Florida and Montreal for the top spot.
Why the Over
As stated online, there are two obvious reasons.
• The expansion draft to stock “our” Vegas Golden Knights took a second- or third-line defenseman away from almost every club. With the slight dilution in the talent pool, some clubs are having trouble seeking an acceptable replacement.
• Others state the new emphasis on referees to call slashing penalties, making every goal-scoring sniper a bit more dangerous by not getting two-handed by a stick on the arms or hands – or worse.
The skeptics state that many early-season games go Over since it takes longer for the defense to develop cohesion – the opposite of football where offenses can struggle early. However, that variable is stronger this season than in the past, thus, it became noteworthy to the hockey handicapping community.
Teams to watch
Ottawa: Following a pair of overtime losses at home to quality competition that left us wondering, the Senators (3-0-2) swept a three-game swing through western Canada. A strong defense, like we saw during their Stanley Cup playoff run, was backed by a Craig Anderson shutout in Calgary, then back-up Mike Condon stymied Edmonton.
Meanwhile, unexpected New Jersey (4-1-1) and Detroit (4-1-0) are winning with rosters almost as young as the Vegas Golden Knights.
Unders in history
I reminisce when the New Jersey Devils were hoisting the Stanley Cup under head coaches Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson and the late Pat Burns. You blindly bet the Devils to the Under, then three hours later return to the window to collect your parlay winnings.
Those were the days!
The first time I wrote for GamingToday, I recall a Devils game in 2000 – it was on my mother’s birthday – when I visited the old Stardust and asked the manager for a special wager: I wanted New Jersey Under 3.5 goals (instead of the posted 5); would he give me +200 or better.
He asked how much; I said $100; he said not enough. I said $200; he said not enough. So I opened my wallet and said $1,000 (to prove I had the money); he declined any action at 3.5.
The final was a scoreless, overtime tie with the Islanders. Oh, well.