Oddsmakers aren’t dumb. A team that gives up a lot of goals is going to have a higher over/under betting number. That said, here are some teams that, based on the latest developments with injuries to key players - especially goaltenders - NHL betting fans should be playing the over, until the teams get things figured out.
Keep this in mind, too: Scoring is up this year from last, and up substantially from two years ago at this time. Stats provided to Bookies.com from the NHL show that, through games of Tuesday, 527 goals were scored -- an average of 6.2 per game. That’s up from the 6.0 goal average from the same number of games last season, and from the 5.4 of two years ago.
It had already been a brutal season for the once-mighty Chicago Blackhawks, but Sunday night they got really bad news again regarding goalie Corey Crawford.
Crawford is out again with a concussion. Last December, Crawford suffered a concussion and tried to come back in February, but symptoms persisted. He only returned from that injury early into this season, and now it’s happened again.
The Blackhawks have allowed the most goals in the NHL (136), and that was with Crawford for much of the season. Now, it’s up to veteran Cam Ward to try and turn back his personal clock, but don’t count on it. His goals-against average right now is 3.95, with a save percentage of .888.
Chicago’s defense has plenty of age too, and you can probably expect GM Stan Bowman to try and sell off as much cap from his bloated payroll as he can. That probably won’t be easy, either. Until then, bet the over most every night with the Hawks, who can still score some too, as long as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are healthy.
The Avalanche continue to score goals at an above-average rate (their 122 is tied for tops in the Western Conference), but the Avs are also starting to give up a lot of goals, too.
No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov has seen his save percentage take a big dip from the .930 it was just a couple weeks ago. It’s now .913. Backup Philipp Grubauer, signed to a three-year contract over the summer and considered Varlamov’s heir apparent, entered Wednesday’s game with Montreal having an ugly 3.22 goals-against average and .897 saves percentage.
Colorado’s penalty-killing unit has been awful of late as well, compounded by the fact that the Avs are tied for second in the league in most penalty minutes taken per game (10.1). The Avs will still score goals, as long as Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog - the so-called “Three-Headed Monster” line - are healthy.
But until they find ways to stay out of the penalty box and stop more pucks, look for more final scores like the 6-4 winning effort they had the other night against Dallas -- or vice-versa.
Believe it or not, there are goaltending issues with the Flyers.
Tuesday night saw a nice, feel-good story, with rookie Carter Hart making a sudden NHL debut and a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Regulars Michal Neuvirth (wife having child) and Brian Elliott (out indefinitely, lower-body injury) sat out and watched the 20-year-old win his first start.
Hart is considered the future Flyers starter, but he’s almost certainly too green to sustain anything at his age. Neuvirth should return soon, but even when healthy he’s been no great shakes. Hart became the sixth goalie to play for the Flyers so far this season, and we’re not even to Christmas yet. Bet the over on Flyers games.