NHL Betting: Capitals lead 'under' winners

By: David Schwab | Saturday, February 12, 2011
Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin and the Caps have been an ’under’ bettor’s best friend.

The 2010/2011 NHL regular season is entering the stretch run with less than 30 games left to play. Philadelphia leads Pittsburgh the Eastern Conference standings by just three-points, while Vancouver has opened-up a seven-point lead over Detroit in the West.

The two conference leaders also happen to be the two highest-scoring teams in the NHL with the Flyers averaging 3.38 goals a game and the Canucks averaging 3.35. Boston remains the stingiest team in the league with a goals against average of 2.15, with Pittsburgh second at 2.26.

The opposite end of the spectrum has New Jersey as the least productive team in the league with just 2.11 goals per game, followed by Ottawa at 2.2. The most porous team so far has been Colorado, which is giving up an average of 3.3 goals a game. Edmonton comes in a close second, allowing 3.26 goals.

Looking at the league as a whole in reference to the ‘total line’ this season, 53.6 percent of the all the games played have stayed ‘under’ the total and 46.4 percent have gone ‘over.’ Games ending in regulation have stayed ‘under’ 53.4 percent of the time, while overtime games have stayed ‘under’ in 54.1 percent of the games.

The ‘total line’ in the NHL normally ranges between five and 5 ½ goals so the trick is to find which teams have shown a knack for scoring while playing soft defense, making them a solid ‘over’ play, and which teams have had trouble finding the back of the net, but play solid defense for the ‘under’ side of the equation.

Through the first 50+ games, Colorado holds true as the ‘best bet’ when it comes to playing the ‘over.’ The total has gone ‘over’ in 33 of the Avalanches’ 54 games, or 61.1 percent of the time. The second team on this list would be the Phoenix Coyotes. The total has gone ‘over’ in 32 of 54 games, or 59.3 percent of the time. These two teams have played each other three times this season, but the total has only gone ‘over’ once.

Two other teams that skew towards the ‘over’ are the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Atlanta Thrashers. The total has gone ‘over’ in 55.6 percent of the Lightning’s games and 53.6 percent of the Thrashers.

The Washington Capitals are the clear choice when it comes to low scoring games. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 39 of the Capitals 54 games, or 72.2 percent of the time.

The New York Rangers come in second with the total staying ‘under’ in 35 of their 54 games, which is 64.8 percent of the time. The Los Angeles Kings’ games have stayed ‘under’ 64.2 percent of the time and Pittsburgh is a close fourth with the total staying ‘under’ in 63.6 percent of its games.

Recent trends for all these teams have held true with their season trends. The total has gone ‘over’ in six of Colorado’s last 10 games and in five of Phoenix’s last eight games. Tampa’s last three games have gone ‘over’ as well as three of Atlanta’s last four.

The total has stayed ‘under’ in nine of Washington’s last 10 games and in six of New York’s last nine. It has also stayed ‘under’ in eight of Los Angeles’ last 10 games and in five of Pittsburgh’s last six.

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