NHL First-Period Totals (O/U) Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Betting on NHL first-period totals can feel a little like watching the 100m sprint at a track and field event.

We love sporting events of all kinds, but the best part of a football game, baseball game, or basketball game is usually the very end, especially when a game is close.

As a first-period totals bettor, we are dealing with only 20-minutes of game time, and then it’s done.

Every power play, every big save, and every goal has a significant impact on the outcome of our bet.

Whether sitting on an over the ticket or cheering for the under, NHL first-period totals betting will prove to be a very entertaining 20-minutes of fast-paced action.

How Does First-Period Totals Betting Work?

Like totals betting for an entire game, first-period O/U betting is about deciding whether the combined score in the first period will be above or below the number set by a sportsbook.

In the case of first-period totals, that number is usually 1.5 total goals.

Example First-Period Totals Bet

Colorado vs. Calgary – 1st Period Totals

  • O/U +1.5 goals
  • Over -142 | Under +124

Our example above shows that the Avalanche vs. Flames first-period total is set at 1.5 goals.

1.5 means the over will be considered successful if the teams combine to score two or more goals in the first 20 minutes.

One goal or zero goals means the under was the winning side.

Importance Of The Moneyline

When it comes to first-period O/Us, a bettor can expect that the total will be set at 1.5 goals most of the time, but they need to be very aware of the moneyline associated with those 1.5 goals.

In the case of our Avalanche vs. Flames game above, the moneyline is heavily juiced in favor of the over. (-142)

This tells us the under, set at +124 on the moneyline, is considered an underdog.

These moneyline odds are slightly different from your typical full game over/under, where both sides are more even, and often either side can be found at -110 or close to it.

Why Bet First Period Over/Unders?

Now more than ever, we have the options available and the ability to consume only the sports that interest us the most.

Even as fans of a specific sport, betting products allow us to focus on particular aspects of a game that interest us.

Some bettors love playing over/under tickets on an entire NHL game.

Others prefer their over/under chase to be shorter and more dramatic right from the opening puck drop.

Another reason bettors enjoy analyzing first-period over/under lines for NHL games is that the more niche a market, the less time and effort a sportsbook can put into creating those lines.

Betting on the point spread for a prime-time NFL game is considered the sharpest and most difficult betting market to succeed in.

Betting on NHL first-period totals is definitely a more niche focus and might provide more opportunities to find an edge for those willing to put in some time and effort.

Another, the first-period popular bet is GIFT (Goal In First Ten).

2021-22 NHL Highest-Scoring Teams

TeamTotal GoalsGoals / GameRegular Season Standings
Florida Panthers3374.11st
Toronto Maple Leafs3123.84th
St. Louis Blues3093.89th
Colorado Avalanche3083.82nd
Minnesota Wild3053.75th
Calgary Flames2913.56th
Edmonton Oilers2853.511th
Tampa Bay Lightning2853.57th
Carolina Hurricanes2773.43rd
Washington Capitals2703.313th

Our table above shows us the correlation between teams who score a lot and teams who win a lot in the NHL regular season.

Of the top 10 scoring teams from last year, all ten finished in the top half of the league standings, and eight finished inside the top 10.

As a first-period O/U bettor, you will notice their goals per game are all over three.

These ten teams are averaging over a goal per period, and you would expect them to be juiced on the over for first-period totals.

Studying these teams and trying to learn when, where, and why they are vulnerable to the occasional under would be a significant advantage against the sportsbooks.

NHL First Period Totals Standings Page

After each night of NHL game action, BestOdds.com will provide an updated standings page for all first-period totals for every team, and every game played this year.

This standings page will be a key resource for anyone looking to make a first-period totals bet.

Quickly sort through individual team or league-wide trends. 

A bettor can sort by underdogs, favorites, home, or away and find the information that will help them with all their first-period over/under decisions.

NHL First Period Betting Strategies

As NHL bettors, we have access to all kinds of information that can help inform us and help us make better decisions.

Specifically, when it comes to betting on NHL first-period totals, a bettor needs to ensure they are looking at the correct information to help them make their best decisions.

Some NHL teams play equally as well on the road as they do at home.

Many teams will play a different style of game on the road, as opposed to how they would play in their own arena.

When analyzing a matchup and comparing statistics, make sure you look at how teams perform in the specific situation you will be betting them.

The Tampa Bay Lightning averaged 3.5 goals per game last season, but that doesn’t mean they scored the exact same amount of goals for their 41 home games as they did for their 41 road games.

Dig in to find out how Tampa’s offense differs playing at home vs. on the road, especially as the season plays out, and we start to have more games to use in our data sample.

Not every team has a huge difference in splits between goals at home or on the road. But some teams definitely do.

Don’t get caught using the wrong statistics when the right ones are available to us as well.

Shop Around

Betting on NHL first-period totals can be a very entertaining way to watch 20 minutes of fast-paced action.

Some bettors develop betting strategies to play throughout the season, with the goal of trying to beat the sportsbooks and finish with a positive profit.

MatchupCaesarsFanDuelDraftKings
Tampa Bay vs. ColumbusO -150 | U +120O -138 | U +108O -150 | U +120

Our table above shows us why the single most significant advantage a bettor has against the sportsbooks is our ability to shop around and find the best NHL odds for the wager we want to make.

In the case of the Lightning vs. Blue Jackets game, we can see that FanDuel has different odds compared to what Caesars and DraftKings are offering.

If a bettor wanted to play the over 1.5 goals, they would be in a much better position with FanDuel.

If they wanted to bet the underdog and go under 1.5 goals, then getting that at +120 with Caesars or DraftKings is the play.

Throughout an NHL season, the ability to shop around for your best odds can impact your overall profitability by upwards of 20 to 25%.

For many, the ability to shop around for their best odds is the difference between being profitable or not.

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About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.