When betting NHL totals, there is no money line or puck line and you are not betting on a team to win or lose, you are betting the number of goals scored in the game by both teams. The totals are also called the over/under, as you are betting if the amount of goals scored in the game will go over or under the posted total.
NHL totals are easy to understand, as you just look at the total posted by the sportsbooks and decide weather to bet over or under that amount.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks Over/Under 6 goals
In this example the total is 6 goals. At the end of the game the Kings won in a high-scoring game 6-3 so the total number of goals scored is 9. If you bet the over in this game you would win the bet and if you bet the under you would lose.
If the final score of the game is exactly the score of the betting total, your bet would be a push and you would get your original wager back. For example, if the betting total for the Bruins and Maple Leafs is set at 6 and the Bruins win 4-2 the total is 6 goals, which is exactly the posted total. Because of this, many times you will see a ½ at the end of the game. So if a total is set at 4½, for example, then there is no way the bet can be a push since it is impossible to score ½ a goal.
Many NHL totals pay out at 1:1, but some sportsbooks will have money line odds associated with the totals bet. For example.
New Jersey Devils 6 (Over -135)
New York Rangers (Under +115)
Since the – denotes the favorite and the + denotes the underdog, the sportsbooks see the over as being the most likely outcome in this example. This game will give you different payouts. If you take the over you will have to bet $135 to win $100 and if you take the under you will have to bet $100 to win $115. As you can see, your payout will be better if you bet on the totals that have the + in front of them.
You can handicap NHL totals by looking at a team’s offense and defense, recent form and key player injuries. However, be aware that the sportsbooks know these things when they set the posted total for the game.