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NHL Team Totals Betting

Malcolm Darnley

Updated: Apr 24, 2024


From 1996-97 until the end of the 2017-18 season, NHL teams averaged less than three goals per game every year except one.

However, in the 2021-22 season, NHL teams averaged 3.14 goals per game, a total that hadn’t been reached since Mario Lemieux dominated the game during the 1995-96 season.

Lemieux played only 70 games that year but still managed 161 points. Super Mario averaged 2.3 points per game, while the remaining NHL teams averaged 3.14 goals.

After 50 games of the 2023-24 NHL season, teams are on pace to average 3.12 goals per game.

The low-scoring, clutch-and-grab, dark days of hockey appear to be in the rearview mirror.

  • The majority of teams are no longer dressing tough guys.
  • NHL defensemen appear to have far more offensive responsibility than ever.
  • Players are more skilled now than ever before.

All of those subtle changes are leading to more goals, more excitement, and a possible shortage of Red Lights across NHL arenas.

The offensive breakthrough has impacted NHL betting in several ways.

Let’s examine NHL Team Totals betting and how the influx of goal-scoring has impacted this very entertaining wager.

What Is NHL Team Totals Betting

If you are familiar with NHL Totals betting, also commonly referred to as NHL Over/Under betting, you will have no problems understanding NHL Team Totals.

Traditionally, NHL Totals betting was about predicting the number of goals both teams would combine to score in a game.

Sportsbooks set a Game Total, often close to six goals per game, and bettors decided whether teams would combine to go over or under the set total.

Team Totals betting is the same thing… only slightly different!

Instead of predicting the combined total goals for an NHL game, a bettor only needs to focus on a single team.

Instead of a total set by the sportsbooks somewhere close to 6 goals, Team Totals are usually set close to 3.

Why Team Totals Betting

As bettors, sometimes we have a good feeling or understanding of one of the teams involved in a game, but not necessarily both.

In that case, Team Totals betting might make more sense than a traditional Over/Under bet.

You may be in tune with some offensive players and how they have been performing recently.

You may also have a good feel for a team’s goaltending situation and how a specific goalie is about to perform.

Whatever your advantage, playing a team total, as opposed to the traditional O/U wager, can have benefits.

2023-24 NHL Goals For Leaders

When it comes to handicapping this bet, maybe the best place to start is understanding how teams are performing offensively.

The table below gives the Goals Score / Game for the 2023-24 league-leading teams.

NHL Team Goals For Leaders

Team2023-24 Goals For2022-23 Goals For
Detroit3.55 Goals / Game2.89
Boston3.53 Goals / Game3.67
Toronto3.53 Goals / Game3.39
Tampa Bay3.5 Goals / Game3.41
Carolina3.4 Goals / Game3.2

Our table above doesn’t just point out that the Detroit Red Wings are (surprisingly?) leading the NHL in goals scored per game this season; it also tells us Detroit has taken a giant offensive leap when we compare their offensive production from last year.

Early in the 2023-24 season, before sportsbooks realized that the Red Wings could be an elite goal-scoring team, bettors had a real opportunity to beat the books by taking the Detroit Team Total OVER.

2023-24 NHL Goals Against Leaders

It is important to understand how a team is performing offensively when making your selections for this bet.

However, like Patrice Bergeron in his prime, savvy bettors also don’t forget about the defensive end of the ice.

NHL Team Goals Against Leaders

Team2023-24 Goals Against2022-23 Goals Against
San Jose3.92 Goals Against / Game3.84
Columbus3.73 Goals Against / Game4.01
Ottawa3.65 Goals Against / Game3.29
New Jersey3.55 Goals Against / Game2.71
Chicago3.52 Goals Against / Game3.65

Our table above highlights the five NHL teams that have struggled the most to keep the puck out of their net this year.

San Jose, Columbus, and Chicago were expected to be suspect defensively, as all three teams struggled to limit opposition scoring last year.

Bettors had opportunities to profit from the Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils in the first half of this season.

The Senators have some big names signed to their blue line.

Thomas Chabot, Jakob Chycrhrun, and Jake Sanderson all entered this season with big expectations, as did the entire Ottawa blue line.

Whether it is the play of their defense specifically or a lack of overall team defense that is hurting the Senators this year, Ottawa’s inability to keep the puck out of their net is going to cost them a playoff spot.

Interesting Stats To Consider

High Danger Scoring Chances For

Scoring on NHL goalies is not easy.

Teams will average close to 30 shots per game but only average close to three goals per game.

It’s always a good idea to check out how many goals per game a team is averaging, but it is also very worthwhile to determine how many scoring chances a team is generating, especially in recent games.

Sometimes, a team might be sluggish and only score a couple of goals in a game.

Or, sometimes, a team can be flying, generating a ton of great chances, but get stonewalled by a hot goaltender.

Understanding how a team played in its previous few games, not just how many goals it scored, can be an advantage for bettors.

High Danger Scoring Chances For is a stat that can help make that determination for you.

High Danger Scoring Chances Against

If you think there is value in High Danger Scoring Chances For, then you will see the same value in High Danger Scoring Chances Against.

As the name suggests, this stat goes beyond the surface level of goals against to help us understand how teams have been performing recently.

For handicapping purposes, this stat is a perfect complement to the one above.

Goalie Save Percentage

Let’s also remember to get granular with our statistical analysis. Hockey is a team game, and great team defense results from all six players performing their defensive responsibilities at a high level.

However, not every player is equal, and not every NHL goalie is equal.

Do your research on a team’s goaltending situation and determine which of their two goalies is starting that night.

Sometimes, there can be a big difference between the capabilities of a starting goalie and his backup.

Where To Find Team Totals Betting

All major online sportsbooks will offer NHL Team Totals betting, although they might present the betting options in a couple of different ways.


CBJ vs. STL – Team Totals

Columbus vs St. LouisOver OddsUnder Odds
ColumbusOver 2.5 | -164Under 2.5 | +128
St. LouisOver 3.5 | -110Under 3.5 | -116

The odds table above shows how FanDuel presents their NHL Team Totals odds. In our example game, the St. Louis Blues are expected to score more goals than their opponents, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sportsbooks try to make team totals a “half number” (IE – 2.5 or 3.5) because that eliminates the opportunity for a push.

As a bettor, we must be aware of the money associated with each total. If we look at the Columbus Blue Jackets odds, we see the OVER is heavily juiced and is -164.


Columbus Team Total Betting Options

Over OddsUnder Odds
Over – 0.5 | -2800Under – 0.5 | +1000
Over – 1.5 | -440Under – 1.5 | +295
Over – 2.5 | -150Under – 2.5 | +110
Over – 3.5 | +160Under – 3.5 | -215
Over – 4.5 | +360Under – 4.5 | -575

If we look at how DraftKings presents their NHL Team Totals odds, we see they like to provide more options for bettors to consider.

It’s important to remember that the majority of sportsbooks (including FanDuel) will also offer alternative Team Total options, but many of them do it as a separate wager, whereas DK offers all its options at once.

If you have any NHL Team Totals questions or NHL betting questions at all – please don’t hesitate to reach out to – and we can get those sorted for you quickly, so we can get all of our NHL action before the puck drops.


About the author

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

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