When we don’t have a good feel on who’s going to win, sometimes betting on the total amount of goals scored is the best bet. Over/Under (totals) betting is wagering on the combined total of goals scored in a game versus a set number. Find everything you need to know in our hockey totals betting guide.
What does Over/Under mean in hockey?
In NHL Over/Unders, sportsbooks set a total number for each game — usually between 5.5 and 6.5. Bettors will wager on whether or not the final combined score of the game will be Under or Over that set number. If we bet on the Over, we’re cheering for goals; if we’re on the Under, we’re rooting for the goaltenders.
Over/Under bets are extremely popular, and some bettors play totals exclusively. Betting on totals allows a bettor to cheer for the overall game as opposed to just one team. For people new to NHL betting, playing Overs is probably the best introduction.
Single-game totals betting explained
In this example, between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, the total is at 6.5. If we bet the Over, we’re going to need at least seven goals scored in the game to win the bet. For the Under to win, we’d need a final score below seven total goals.
Having a total with half a goal (0.5) ensures no ties (or a push) because teams cannot score half goals. If the total was six and the game finished 4-2, 5-1, or 6-0, both the Over six and Under six bets will push or tie.
The end of hockey games can be intense as teams usually pull their goalies to get an extra skater if they are trailing. Empty nets can create offensive chances at both ends and means a ton of betting excitement at the end of a game. Overs are never dead in NHL Over/Under betting.
|Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators|
|6.5o (-110)||6.5u (-110)|
Vig or juice: The cost of placing a bet
Sportsbooks will display odd beside the Over/Under, and they are the cost of placing a bet, also known as the vig or juice. We have the total set at 5.5. Those odds might read this way when viewed on a sportsbook:
Over 5.5 (-110)
Under 5.5 (-110)
If a bettor took the Over odds -110, they would need to wager $110 to win $100.
NHL single-game Over/Under betting tips and strategies
When betting on NHL totals, there are some key factors to keep in mind.
Follow the line movement
The most important thing a sports bettor can do is shop around and find the best price for their bet. With totals, it’s even more critical as the number can increase or decrease after opening.
Sometimes, while doing this, we will encounter significant price discrepancies that we should take advantage of; these include Over/Under markets. Hit our NHL odds page to quickly look at total prices and how they compare across the board. Maybe we can find a lower total on the board.
Watch for injuries
Getting to information early and making informed bets is one of the best things Over/Under bettors can do to make a wise wager. Knowing which players are injured or suspended can go a long way in returning value on our picks. Check out our matchups page and our injury report to get up-to-date information about teams’ lineups.
Know your goalies
In hockey, goalies are critical for a team’s success. Knowing which netminder is playing is something all good NHL total bettors know before placing a wager. Learning teams’ tendencies with their goalie rotations can help bettors get ahead of some line movement before a team announces their backup is starting.
Season-long totals betting explained
Future betting has become one of the more popular NHL markets available before the start of the season, during the season, and right up until the Stanley Cup is presented to the winning team's captain. Of the most popular future bets is the Over/Under on teams’ total points. In this market, bettors wager on whether a team’s final point total after the regular season will be Over or Under the set number.
Using the example below, if we bet $105 on the Under for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ total of 105.5 points and the Leafs finish the season with 104 points, we would win $100. This future market betting format is the same as game totals.
Total points for 2021-22 season
|Anaheim Ducks||71.5 (-115)||71.5 (-115)|
|Arizona Coyotes||68.5 (-115)||68.5 (-115)|
|Boston Bruins||102.5 (-115)||102.5 (-115)|
|Buffalo Sabres||67.5 (-115)||67.5 (-115)|
|Calgary Flames||91.5 (-115)||91.5 (-115)|
|Carolina Hurricanes||95.5 (-115)||95.5 (-115)|
|Montreal Canadiens||88.5 (-110)||88.5 (-120)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||105.5 (-105)||105.5 (-125)|
NHL season points totals betting tips & strategies
When placing futures total bets on the NHL season, keep these crucial factors in mind.
Scout the schedule
Predicting a team’s success is not easy. To gain an edge when predicting end-of-season point totals, bettors should know the strength of teams’ opponents and the number of times a team plays a division’s best and worst teams. Check out our NHL teams page to find out scheduling and look-ahead information for every team in the NHL.
Comparing odds and find the best prices
Looking at similar markets and how books evaluate a team is another way to predict a team’s season success. By checking out our NHL futures odds page, we can see many comparable odds on other future markets, including conference and divisional winners. Using these odds to compare to the Over/Under point totals is just one more tool to make smarter bets.
Stanley Cup Over/Under tips and strategies
The NHL playoffs — including the Stanley Cup Final — are played differently than the regular season. Games are tighter and fewer goals are scored. Totals tend to be lower, and seeing a total of five is very common. With more to play for, teams take fewer chances which in turn decreases scoring. When we’re wagering on Stanley Cup Over/Under bets, we should always take a different approach than during the regular season.
Where to bet the NHL Over/Under or game totals
Betting on hockey is gaining steam across the globe. The NHL’s popularity provides fun ways to wager on hockey totals. Where you place your hockey Over/Under bets is just as important as what you bet, and Covers has reviewed the best hockey betting sites available in your regions.
NHL betting tips and strategies
Make smarter NHL bets with Covers. These guides dive into other ways you can bet on NHL action:
- Tips & Strategies to Win NHL Puck Line Bets
- Best Tips to Win NHL Moneyline Bets
- Learn How to Make Hockey Parlay Bets
Hockey totals betting FAQs
Should I bet Over 6 (or even 6.5) instead of Over 5.5?
Betting the Over 6 (or 6.5) will produce better odds, but if a game finishes 6-0, 5-1, or 4-2, the Over six bet will push (tie) instead of winning with an Over 5.5 wager.
Why are some NHL totals half a goal?
NHL totals with half a goal (for example, 5.5) are widespread and ensure no tie as teams cannot score exactly 5.5 goals. The game finishes either Over or Under.
What does Over/Under mean in hockey?
Over/Under means betting on the combined total goals scored in a game and predicting if the total will be Over (more) or Under (fewer) a set number.