Last Updated: 2017-10-02
When it comes to betting Season Point Totals there’s a couple of important things to consider. My general rule is to look for low totals to bet Over and high totals to bet Under.
With high point totals (think teams with totals over 100 points), if you want to bet the Over, you will need things to go perfect for that team throughout the season. They will have to stay healthy. They will have to avoid a prolonged slump. If even one little thing goes not according to plan it’s likely that will sink your Over bet. A good example for this would be the Tampa Bay Lightning who currently sit at an over/under of 102.5 points. If you’ve followed along with my season outlook to this point, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact I am extremely high on the Lightning this year. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to fire on the Over 102.5 points with them, even if I think they have a very good chance of eclipsing this number. Tampa Bay will need a healthy season and there’s no certainty in that with players like Stamkos and Callahan returning from serious injuries. There’s just not much room for error with such a high total that your money is best spent elsewhere.
You’ll have more success if you target a team with a high point total who you think will go under. Again, everything has to likely go right for that team to go Over and for you to lose your bet. If even one little thing goes wrong, there’s a higher chance you’ll cash that Under bet. It’s also more likely to hit a home run with an Under bet on a high point total team. We saw it with teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay last season who were pretty well sunk by Christmas.
On the other end with low point totals, it’s similarly tough to bet the Under when there’s not much room for error. Public perception is low on bad teams from last year and people think they will likely be bad again this season but that’s not always the case. Toronto and Edmonton saw huge point increases last season thanks to draft picks and young stars taking a big step forward in their development.
With low point totals, if you project that team to improve even a little it’s usually an easy win for your Over bet.
Let’s take a look at the few teams I like this season to go over or under their posted total.
All odds courtesy of Bovada as of October 2nd
St. Louis Blues – UNDER 95.5 (-115)
The Blues finished third in the Central division last year with 99 points thanks to a dominating push down the stretch once Mike Yeo took over the head coaching duties. The team was poised to carry that momentum into this season before a flurry of preseason injuries has left the roster scrambling for replacements, including a big season-ending injury to top-six forward Robby Fabbri. The Blues made 45-year old Jaromir Jagr an offer over the weekend to fill the hole but he reportedly turned them down, meaning the Blues will enter the season with a huge hole in their forwards group. Throw in injuries to Patrik Berglund, Alex Steen, Jay Bouwmeester and Zach Sanford who will not be ready to open the season and it’s quite likely the Blues could get off to a slow start.
In a season where the Central looks stacked, the Blues might be looking up all season long. Chicago and Minnesota both look good again and Nashville and Dallas should jump over the Blues which would leave them battling with Winnipeg for 5th in the division right around the 90-point mark.
The St. Louis Blues to go UNDER 95.5 regular season points is our top point total bet of the season.
Bonus Bet: St. Louis to Make the Playoffs – NO (+170)
Arizona Coyotes OVER 76.5 (-115)
Arizona finished sixth in the weaker Pacific division last season with just 70 points. There may not have been a team in the league who had a better summer than GM John Chayka as he added a true number one center (Stepan), a number one goaltender (Raanta) and upgraded the defense to now possibly a top five unit in the league (Hjalmarsson, Demers). Add in the mix of potential improvement from youngsters Max Domi, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak, Brendan Perlini and a strong rookie of the year candidate in Clayton Keller and it’s pretty easy to think Arizona could make a big jump this year.
The Coyotes won’t need a lot to go right to jump from 70 to 77 points and in what should still be a fairly weak Pacific division, any team who shows improvement could make a significant jump in the standings. It’s going to be extremely difficult for them to make a big enough jump to put themselves into a playoff position (that’s just how poor they were last year) but the Coyotes should easily be able to make the jump into the 80-85 point range.
The Arizona Coyotes to go OVER 76.5 regular season points is our top point total Over bet of the season.
Colorado Avalanche OVER 69.5 (-115)
The Avalanche were historically bad last season with just 48 points and a last place finish in the Central. Public perception of this team can’t get any lower and that’s fine because it gives us a solid betting opportunity here. While Colorado is still likely heading for a basement finish in the strong Central there’s reason to believe they could be significantly improved. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov dealt with injuries throughout last season undergoing separate surgeries on both hips. He’s fully healthy and has looked sharp in the preseason and his mobility looks great. He’s also been reunited with former goaltender coach Jussi Parkkila who worked with the young Russian early in his career and that should have a positive impact along with veteran Jonathan Bernier as the new backup.
A healthy Erik Johnson back on the blueline will make all the difference. The Avs fell apart without him last season and the backend should be improved with himself, Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov and Mark Barberio forming a solid top-four. With the goaltender and defense likely improved that should really help the talented forwards they have up front. Steve Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog should have much better offensive years with youngsters Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher and Mikko Rantanen set to make a positive impact.
The Colorado Avalanche to go OVER 69.5 regular season points is one of our top point total bets of the season.
Ottawa Senators UNDER 91.5 (-115)
Jumping over to the Eastern Conference, the Ottawa Senators were generally considered to finish last season with a lot of good fortune as the team was middle of the pack in almost every statistical category yet managed to finish second in the Atlantic division with 98 points.
I was on the fence with my opinion of Ottawa for this season but with the cuts they’ve made in training camp, I’m fully on board with them regressing in a big way this season. The good news for them is it looks as if Erik Karlsson will be ready to go earlier than expected (maybe even as soon as the opener) but I question if he will be his dominant self immediately. The rest of the defense includes Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Mark Borowiecki, Johnny Oduya, Fred Claesson and Chris Wideman. Woof.
Potential rookie Phenom Thomas Chabot and the hulking Ben Harpur were somehow sent down to the AHL on Sunday and won’t begin the season with the team. It’s not a completely shocking move by the Senators and we’ll see them back up again at some point this season but with the Senators choosing to go with the above defensive unit, my faith on them making a return trip to the playoffs isn’t strong.
And even though number two center Derick Brassard has been cleared for contact and looks like he should be ready for the opener, it’s not enough for me to overlook the quality of the current defense.
Several teams in the Atlantic are poised for improvement this season, as well, including Tampa Bay and Toronto who should contend with Montreal for the division title and the Buffalo Sabres who should see a big improvement over last season. A lot of the increase in points for those teams will likely come at the expense of Ottawa (and Detroit).
The Ottawa Senators to go UNDER 91.5 regular season points is one of our strongest point total bets of the season.
Edmonton Oilers UNDER 103 (-115)
League MVP Connor McDavid brought the Oilers back into relevancy last year with a 33-point jump in the standings and a second place finish in the weak Pacific division with 103 points. The Oilers are another team with high public perception but I’m not buying into the hype. GM Peter Chiarelli spent most of his resources this summer on re-signing his two core stars in McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Top-six winger Jordan Eberle is gone and bottom-six winger Jussi Jokinen is here. I had questions about the Oilers depth last season and felt they overachieved and they’re basically the same team again this year minus a top-six player. Also, one of their best defensemen, Andrej Sekera is out until at least December and likely longer.
While the Anaheim Ducks should still be a front-runner for the division, the Flames, Kings, Coyotes and Canucks all look like they could be improved over last season (yes, even the Canucks!) and I can’t see how the Oilers are supposed to be as productive as last year. Connor McDavid is All-World and can do anything but I’m not even sure he can carry the Oilers to a 104-point season.
The Edmonton Oilers to go UNDER 103 regular season points is one of our strongest point total bets of the season.
Detroit Red Wings UNDER 78.5 (-115)
Detroit will be my only exception this season of taking a poor team and going under their point total and that’s because the Red Wings are really just that bad. A big key for their summer was dealing with their cap nightmare and GM Ken Holland failed miserably. If you read my season preview you’ll recall how much I stressed the importance of getting speedy winger Andreas Athanasiou re-signed. As of right now, this still hasn’t happened and the two sides are still reportedly very far away on money (Holland offered 2-years at $1.9M per, Athanasiou’s side wants $2.5M per).
The Red Wings have very little depth and a lot of poor aging contracts. Their defense might be the worst in the league. I have this team finishing dead last in the Eastern Conference, failing to hit the 75-point mark.
The Detroit Red Wings to go UNDER 78.5 regular season points is our final best bet for point totals this season.