Hockey picksFebruary 25, 2021

My NHL divisional trends highlight a couple of strong betting opportunities to consider on the moneyline and puck line.


Not All Divisions Created Equal

Given how few games each team has actually played, the average point margin separating first from last within the divisions varies quite significantly. In the West, only eight points split the Vegas Knights from the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile in the North, Toronto and Ottawa, though located only 250 miles apart on the highway, are divided by 17 points in the standings.

NHL divisional trends

Higher offensive output in the North, roughly 10-percent more scoring per game, is one big reason for the variance. As things start to settle down, however, it’s worth examining scoring margins between divisions.

Think of it this way. A moneyline favorite of -120 can be had for +135 in regulation time. But on the puck line, where the favorite must win by two or more, the payback is +200. It makes all the difference in the world towards your overall win-percentage, but you have to consider ‘team’ and NHL divisional trends when weighing out the value.

My NHL picks are on a sickening 19-4 (83%) run for +$13,560, with five winning days out of the past six (83%). Max Plays are 5-0 (+$5,640) during this hot streak. Don’t miss the next one!

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Here’s a breakdown of the data along with potentially live scenarios. High-percentage NHL divisional trends are listed below.

East

Total Games = 65
Wins by 1 goal = 34 (52%)
OT Yes = 20
OT No = 14
Wins by 2-plus = 31 (31%)

North

Total Games = 70
Wins by 1 goal = 28 (40%)
OT Yes = 11
OT No = 17
Wins by 2-plus = 42 (60%)

Follow @Wunderdog for more NHL Divisional Trends and betting tips all season!

Central

Total Games = 71
Wins by 1 goal = 33 (46%)
OT Yes = 20
OT No = 13
Wins by 2-plus = 38 (54%)

West

Total Games = 68
Wins by 1 goal = 36 (53%)
OT Yes = 15
OT No = 21
Wins by 2-plus = 32 (47%)

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NHL Divisional Trends: Close to Coast

Closer games are more prevalent in the East (52%) and West (53%). The Bruins (7-4) and Penguins (8-2) have played the highest number of games decided by a one-goal margin, and this is not the usual tendency for these teams.

  • The Penguins have only played 298 regular season games decided by a one-goal margin since 2011 (T-2nd fewest).

Boston ranks 20th on the list and what this data suggests is that in the current format, these two perennial favorites are either:

A) Worth the price on the moneyline if you like the matchup.

B) Worthy of a fade on the puck line if you feel the opponent will provide good competition.

Thursday Trend Tip: Bruins at Islanders
Moneyline: Boston -135
Puck Line: New York +1.5 (-220)

Boston loss 4-2 to New York on Feb. 13. The Bruins have the No. 2 penalty kill in the league at 87.7%. The Isles are 9-2 ATS against elite penalty kill teams the past couple seasons.

  • Road faves of -200 or less with a W/L record of .600 or better are 55-18 SU when seeking revenge for a loss by two or more goals.

Thursday Trend Tip: Penguins at Capitals
Moneyline: Washington -110
Puck Line: Pittsburgh +1.5 (-250)

  • Washington is 63-38 SU vs. teams that allow more than 2.85 GPG.

The Pens have the seventh-highest goals-against average in the league at 3.24.  

The Ducks (12), Coyotes (11) and Blues (10) are also into the double-digits this season for games decided by a one-goal margin. And what a coincidence, all three of these teams were working overtime just last night!

North of 40

Only 40-percent of games in the upper region have been close, with just 16-percent requiring overtime. The Jets (3) and Senators (3) make up the bulk, with Ottawa playing into the extra frame three times in the past 10 days.

Since 2010, only the Senators (8th) rank inside the top 15 for close margin games amongst all Northern clubs. This trend is suggesting that if you like the favorite in these divisional tilts, consider playing them in regulation time, or on the puck line for huge savings.

Thursday Trend Tip: Canadiens at Jets
Regulation: Montreal +133
Puck Line: Montreal -1.5 (+190)

  • Road favorites with only 1-2 wins in their past seven games are 108-51 (68%) against teams that have won three of their past four.

Thursday Trend Tip: Oilers at Canucks
Regulation: Edmonton +106
Puck Line: Edmonton -1.5 (+180)

  • Vancouver is 3-13 this year vs. teams that average 29-plus shots per game.

The Canucks have lost nine in a row vs. teams with heavier firepower, and just one of those losses went to overtime. Edmonton currently ranks 12th with 30.7 shots per game.

Stuck in the Middle

Staying true to its name, the Central division has the most pedestrian set of statistics from our NHL divisional trends. The two teams with the highest frequency of close games are Columbus (12) and Chicago (11). These two are squaring off at 7 pm ET this evening.

  • The UNDER is 25-8 (76%) since 2017 when Columbus is home off a one-goal loss.  

Six of the past seven games between these two have been decided by a one-goal margin and four of those seven went to overtime. Chicago (339) is also tied for fourth-most one-goal margins in the past 10 years. Perhaps the ‘Overtime – Yes’ prop deserves a look? It’s paying back at +320.

My NHL picks won again last night (2-1), improving my record since Friday to 19-4 (83%) for +$13,560, with five winning days out of six (83%). Included in this hot streak is a 5-0 record with Max Plays (+$5,640), and on the year, the big ones are a perfect 9-0 (100%) for +$10,270. Overall, I’m +28 games over .500 with hockey (+$17,710) and I have weekly and monthly packages available now!

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Sports picksFebruary 20, 2021

This week, my NBA notebook looks at a strategy for handicapping games with an ATS line of five points or less. I’ve also updated a list of the teams that are laying the highest average point spreads per night. Plus, an update on the Utah Jazz with NBA trends you do not want to miss!


Small Margin of Error

The top three margins of victory this season are by 3, 4 and 5 points. As you might expect, teams winning straight up by either of those margins are a combined 57-21-1 ATS (73%). What’s interesting is that the average spread for all of these teams is a microscopic +0.4 points.

NBA notebook

Looking forward, it would seem that the recipe for a high win-percentage team against the spread is:

A. Strong straight up record in tight games.

Since 2018, the strongest straight up record in close games belongs to the Portland Trailblazers (37-21 or .638). They are followed by the Clippers (30-19 or .612), Nuggets (37-24 or .607), Lakers (29-20 or .592) and Raptors (37-27 or .578).

B. A low average point spread.

Statistically, and using regular season lines only, the best value teams of the past few years are the Mavs, Spurs, Heat, Warriors and Thunder.

C. Higher volume of games decided by close margins, to improve variance.

Teams with the highest number of close margin games since 2018 are the Kings (66), Mavs (65), Nets (61), Thunder (58) and Spurs).

In 2020, all five of those teams rank in the Top 11 for this category. The Kings are highest at 11 (T-2nd), The Mavs are lowest with nine (T-11th).

By combining this data with a few additional parameters and keeping it relevant to current rosters, the eight teams this model suggests circling over the next few months for potential value in tightly-lined games are as follows:

  • Clippers, Kings, Mavericks, Nets, Raptors, Spurs, Thunder and Trailblazers.  

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed @Wunderdog for additional NBA trends on these and other teams throughout the season. Sign up for my premium NBA package and get my official picks every day from now until the NBA champion is crowned!

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NBA Against the Spread

Bettors are often cautioned about jumping on a heavy public fave. Through one-third of the NBA season, we are being reminded why.

  • Of the seven NBA teams laying more than -3 points on average this season, only two have a winning record against the number (29%).

Teams are listed here in order of ‘Highest Average Spread’. Updated on Saturday, Feb.20, 2021.

Milwaukee Bucks, 13-16-1 ATS (.433)
Average Line: -7.6

The Bucks are home to Sacramento on Sunday. Milwaukee covered against the Thunder on Friday, ending a five-game SU/ATS losing streak.

Los Angeles Lakers, 13-15-2 ATS (.433)
Average Line: -6.7

The Lakers are hosting Miami (12-17 SU) at 8:30 pm ET tonight in the first meeting between these teams since last season’s NBA Finals. The current line is Lakers -3 and 209.5.

  • Los Angeles has a 36-65 ATS (38%) record when hosting teams with a .400-.500 win percentage (1-4 ATS this year).

Utah Jazz, 22-8 ATS (.733)
Average Line: -5.4

I highlighted the Jazz in last week’s NBA notebook. Their loss to the Clippers last night ended a streak of eight-straight covers.

Los Angeles Clippers, 18-13 ATS (.581)
Average Line: -5.3

The Clippers will attempt to become the first team this season to win a game after knocking down an opponent that was on a win streak longer than five games. The previous five went 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS.

Philadelphia 76ers, 13-16-1 ATS (.433)
Average Line: -4.0

Philly has lost five-straight ATS. They travel to face the Raptors in a back-to-back, starting Sunday.

Brooklyn Nets, 15-16 ATS (.484)
Average Line: -3.8

The Nets have won five in a row SU/ATS. On the road, they are 11-4 O/U this year, cashing 73% of the OVER tickets. Their past four away games, Brooklyn has averaged 126.8 points.

Denver Nuggets, 13-15-1 ATS (.448)
Average Line: -3.6

Denver is 19th in the league in fastbreak points, with 11.3 per game. Last game, however, the Nuggets had 14 in a 120-103 win over Cleveland. That has triggered an overvalued market for this team.

  • The Nuggets are 8-13 ATS this year after scoring more than eight points via fastbreak, including a current run of 1-6 ATS. The OVER is 14-7 (67%) in this situation.

Denver will play in Atlanta next.

SU = Straight up

ATS = Against the Spread

O/U = Over/Under

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NBA Notebook: Underdog’s Delight

At the other end of the ATS spectrum, Detroit (15-12-2 ATS) earns an average of +6.5 points from Vegas every night. The only team that gets more love is Oklahoma City (+6.9).

  • The Pistons are 11-5 ATS (69%) this season when getting more than +5 points and facing a team with a sub-500 record.

It’s tough to say when this angle will be live again, but circle the date against the Toronto Raptors on March 2. Toronto has been a streaky team this year. They have games against the Sixers (two), Heat, Rockets and Bulls on-deck.

Don’t Use the L-Word

The Utah Jazz have been rewriting the NBA betting record book of late, shredding bookmaker’s numbers on a nightly basis.

  • Utah is 13-3 ATS against teams that attempt 30-plus three pointers per game.

The Jazz lead the league in shots from beyond the arc at 42.1. They’ve played three games this season vs. teams that were averaging 39-plus three’s at the time, and Utah won all three by double-digits (3-0 ATS). The only other teams currently in their ballpark for long-balls are the Trailblazers (42.0), Rockets (40.8) and Raptors (40.4). If Dec. 23 is any indication, this trend is likely to continue. The Jazz took down the Blazers 120-100 in their season opener, and that’s before they got good!

  • The Jazz are 9-2 ATS vs. teams that score more than the league average (112.5 PPG)

As much as the oddsmaker would like to jack the number on such a hot ticket, it’s tough when the competition is so fierce. Take last night’s game against the Clippers, for example. Utah had already downed the Clippers 114-96 on Wednesday as a 7-point favorite. Then, with Kawhi Leonard (leg), Paul George (foot), and Nicolas Batum’s (concussion) return, the line edged down to Jazz -1 or -1.5.

  • With less than one hour before tipoff, the consensus report on this matchup showed 76-percent of bettors were backing the Jazz.

As a favorite off a win, the Jazz are now 19-1 ATS, covering the spread by an average of 8.5 points per game. I’m not big on the ‘L-word’, but this team is becoming increasingly hard to fade.

I have two NBA picks on tonight’s card and I’m looking at a couple more games for Sunday. Get on board for a 1-Month package and get on the winning team!

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Hockey picksFebruary 18, 2021

A quick look at the NHL standings offers a fine overview of the best and worst teams. Meanwhile, the middle of the pack would confuse even the latest GPS technology. Here are a few trends and strategies to help clear things up.


Points Percentage Goes Beyond the Standings

In a hectic hockey betting landscape, ruled by a never ending list of cancellations, the NHL standings only tell part of the story. Take the Dallas Stars, for example.

NHL standings

In the current Central division standings, Dallas (5-3-4) has just 14 points, good enough for sixth. They’ve lost five in a row, but four were by a single goal, three coming in extra time. The Stars have gained points in seven of 12 games (.583), and by that measure they are 16th in the league.

Strength of schedule has had a dramatic impact on the season’s unique format, and there has been no shortage of surprises. Consider that four of Dallas’ losses were against the Hurricanes (10-3-1), who are proving to be one of the most explosive teams in 2021. Another two at the hands of a Blackhawks (9-5-4) team that is 7-1-1 in their past nine. All of this is not to say that the Stars are a great team. Just not nearly as bad as the NHL standings would indicate.

Two more teams with a significant gap between Points Percentage and where they sit in the standings are Washington and New Jersey. Both of these teams are in action tonight, trying to make up for lost time. Their moneylines are on different ends of the spectrum.

Since 2018, I’m +45 games over .500 with my Hockey picks and in the midst of an incredible 52-36 (59%) run to start the season, boosting dime bettors’ bankrolls by +$6,150. 

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New Jersey at Boston
Thursday, 02/17, 7:00 PM ET
Line: Bruins -240 and 5.5 UN -110

The Devils (5-3-2) are sixth in the East, having gained 60-percent of their eligible points. In points, they’re 25th. In Points Percentage, New Jersey ranks 14th. They’ve scored five goals in back-to-back games. Oh, and they also took a 15-day break between those games while most of the team fought off the coronavirus.

A slow starter, New Jersey has been able to hang around. In their last three games, the Devils scored four goals in the second and seven in the third. Boston (10-2-2) can punch back in the third, with 20 late markers, tied for fourth-most in the NHL. During eight home games, however, the Bruins have allowed just four goals in the final frame. The Bruins are coming home off seven consecutive road games. They had a five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday against the Islanders.

– Boston is 30-16 UNDER (65%) after allowing two or more third period goals.

The Bruins are also 13-2 UNDER after a losing by two or more to a division rival. New Jersey split two close ones vs. Boston to start the season, but in the past seven meetings, the Devils have scored only once in the first period. They have three third period goals in those seven, too. Boston’s loss on Saturday was just their second of the year in regulation. Getting to five for a third consecutive game will be a monumental task for the Devs.

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Buffalo at Washington
Thursday, 02/17, 7:00 PM ET
Line: Capitals -170 and 6.5 UN -120

Washington’s Points Percentage is .607 (13th). The Caps (7-4-3) are fourth in the East and look poised to make a move following their 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.

– Home favorites of -165 or higher are 81-29 (74%) off a win that immediately followed a losing streak of four games or more.

The Sabres (4-6-2) have just 10 points, second-fewest in the league (Sens). In two games back from their Covid-19 layoff, Buffalo scored just once. Their 2.58 scoring average ranks No. 24 and in the past seven years, Buffalo has only scored 2.4 goals per game against Washington.

– The Caps hold a 16-5 (76%) win-loss record against the Sabres since 2014. The only team bettors have made more money backing Washington against in that span is the Bruins.

At 10-4 OVER (71%), Washington is tied with the Kings for highest OVER percentage in the league thus far. It has fetched a high total for this contest but contrarian bettors should note this angle.

– When the total is O/U 6 or more, the UNDER is 80-34 (70%) when road teams have allowed three-plus goals in three-straight, and home teams have scored three-plus for three in a row.

The Capitals are fourth in scoring at 3.57 goals. They have scored at least three in 12 of 14 games this season.

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The Waiting Game

After a late start, Dallas is back on the sidelines this week as the state struggles to recover from a winter weather apocalypse that has knocked out power for millions of Texans.

By the time Dallas gets back on the ice, it will have been at least a week. And while most hockey teams like a few days of rest, erratic scheduling will take a toll.

– The modern day record for regular season teams off an extended break of 7-14 days, is 49-61 (.445).

Evidence supporting the theory that unplanned rest can wreak havoc on would-be contenders:

– Teams with a .500 to .650 win percentage with extended rest are only 16-29 (.356).

Thursday night, Philadelphia (8-3-2) hosts the New York Rangers and for the Flyers, it will be their first game since Feb. 7. The Rangers (4-7-3) have lost four straight.

– Slumping road dogs up to +150  are 50-29 (63%) the past five years against teams that have played less than five times in the past two weeks.

Check @wunderdog for updates on my top NHL picks today, and good luck!

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Basketball picksFebruary 12, 2021

Roughly one-third of the way into the season, strong NBA betting trends have started to develop at the top of the standings. The Lakers are who we thought they were, and the Jazz have taken over top spot with 16 wins in their past 17 games. This is an excellent time for bettors to start keying in on trends and systems, and I have put together a list of some high win-percentage angles for you to track as we head into the weekend.

Top of the Charts

The Utah Jazz (20-5) started this season looking like a .500 club. Favorites in six of their first eight matchups, the Jazz covered only three of those eight before a breakout game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 8. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 32 against the Bucks, and since then he has hit 30-plus four more times. Mitchell leads the time with 24.0 points per game (PPG), including an average of 3.6 buckets from 3-point land. He also tops the team with 33.5 minutes per game and with Mike Conley’s (16.5 PPG and 29.3 minutes) hamstring acting up, expect Mitchell to keep grinding.

NBA betting trends
  • Utah is tied with the second best 3-point percentage in the league (40.2). When the Jazz hit between 39-45 percent from beyond the arc, they are 19-8 ATS the past two seasons.

This team is also playing great defense and they know how to finish. The Jazz have a +3.3 second half margin, just slightly better than the Clippers (+3.2) and Bucks (+3.1). They are 9-0 ATS this year when they face teams with similar free throw numbers, and 10-4 ATS when grabbing 10-15 rebounds. For a team that is second with 11.4 offensive boards per game, and double-digit rebounds in eight of their past 10, the Jazz are a good bet to keep their hot streak alive.

My NBA picks have given dime bettors a +$32,190 return over the last three years!

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Lakers Still Setting the Pace

The Los Angeles Lakers (20-6) have won six in a row heading into Friday night’s matchup with the Grizzlies. As is often the case for defending champions, bettors have been forced to pay a premium when backing the Pacific division leaders, and at home they are just 2-6 ATS as single-digit faves.

Los Angeles has been working a lot of overtime lately, and the injury to second-leading scorer Anthony Davis (Achilles) will not help. Another thing hampering this team at the ATS window is their effective possession ratio. At 0.947, Los Angeles ranks 24th overall. With a defense like this, the Lakers can afford a slower pace. And while it has had little impact on their straight up win percentage, it can make for a tall order on those lofty spreads.

Overall, the Lakers are 12-13-1 ATS this season but they are one of the league’s top UNDER teams, staying below the number 16 times (61%).

  • Los Angeles is 9-0 UNDER vs. above average 3-point shooting teams, and 13-1 UNDER against teams that score more than 112 PPG.

Need to Know: The league average for 3-point shooting this season is 36%, and for scoring it is 112 PPG.

Since 2018, Los Angeles has been a huge moneymaker for sharp bettors that don’t mind sweating out an UNDER.

  • The Lakers are 55-32 UNDER (63%) against above average offenses, staying 3.6 points below the total.

My NHL picks are +12 games over .500 this season and up +$199,220 over the last 12 seasons. Read my latest NHL handicapping feature today!


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Circle These Dates

The Lakers have six games during the next two weeks against teams ranked 11th or better in offensive scoring. At 63% UNDER, only one NBA team (Rockets) has a higher UNDER percentage vs. above average offenses in the past three years.

Each opponent’s win percentage and Over/Under/Push record as of Feb. 12 is noted.

Feb. 14 at Denver (.542) and 16-7-1 O/U

Feb. 18 vs. Brooklyn (.556) and 18-8-1 O/U

Feb. 22 vs. Washington (.273) and O/U 12-10 O/U

Feb. 24 at Utah (.800) and 10-14-1 O/U

Feb. 26 vs. Portland (.583) and 12-12 O/U

Feb. 28 vs. Golden State (.538) and O/U 11-15 O/U


NBA Betting Trends: 63% OVER System

The average NBA total this season is 223.6 points. That is 24.2 points higher than the average total in 2010, but Over/Under betting odds have done a good job adjusting. This year is on pace to set a new all-time high for average total. It would make `20-21 the fifth consecutive season where the average was greater than 210.

  • When a total is 210 or greater, the OVER is 74-42 (63%) in games where the home team is off a double-digit win and their visitor is coming off a close loss by three points or less.

The average total in this angle was 218.6 and home teams outscored their opponents by 114.2 to 107.9

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Hockey picksFebruary 11, 2021

Handicapping close games has always been a fundamental part of playoff hockey. But given the divisional format of today’s National Hockey League, handicapping close games has become and essential skill.

NHL Capper’s Corner

Is it just me, or are things getting a little tight around here? The number of one-goal games has been on the rise of late and as margins tighten, it could signal a great buying opportunity for dog bettors. Based on just a month’s worth of data, here are the trends we’re seeing.

  • From games numbered 1 through 5 (per team), there were 34 outcomes decided by a one-goal margin.
  • From games numbered 6 through 10 (all teams), there was a 41-percent increase to 48 games decided by a one-goal margin.
handicapping close games

Then on Tuesday, Feb. 9, six of seven NHL games were decided by a one-goal margin and the average number of games played per team sits at 12. So what is causing the spike?

Familiarity is the first thought that comes to mind when NHL games start to tighten up. Take the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames, for example. These old Smythe division rivals have already faced each other five times in the span of one month! Two of five went to overtime and other than a 4-1 Jets win at the end of a three-game home stand, each of the four other matchups was decided by a one-goal margin.

Thursday night there are two games on the NHL scoreboard between teams that have already met a minimum of three times this season. Here are some trends to consider for handicapping close games, or games that could be closer than expected.

My NHL picks are up +$6,930 this season and I have premium picks lined up tonight!


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Ottawa at Winnipeg
Thursday, 02/11, 8:00 PM ET
Line: Jets -200 and 6.5 UN -120

The Senators (2-11-1) have earned just five of 28 possible points in regulation (.179), the lowest mark in the NHL. Their power play and penalty kill are in the bottom third of the league, and although their advanced analytics rank much higher, this team follows a familiar path. The fall behind early and then lack the offensive punch to mount a comeback.

  • In 14 games this season, Ottawa has held the lead through 20 minutes just twice.

Winnipeg (7-4-1) used a three-game set against the Sens (Jan. 19-23) to spark an offense that ranks ninth in the league with 3.42 goals per game (GPG). Pierre-Luc Dubois finally joined the team after two weeks in quarantine, and while HC Paul Maurice shuffles to find his ideal line combinations, the Jets will be a threat to score at anytime.

Winnipeg outscored the Sens 14-5 in the first three games, but the average moneyline was just -127. As difficult as it is to imagine the lowly Sens pulling an upset, this game fits the scenario of a team potentially being overvalued to a tee.

  • Against poor defensive teams, Winnipeg has played 30-20-1 UNDER (60%) the past two seasons, outscoring their opponents 3.0-2.6.

Winnipeg only won 16 of those 51 games (31%) by more than one goal. Ottawa has also played seven of their past eight games UNDER the total.

My NHL picks are hitting 60% this season and I have daily, weekly, monthly, and full season packages available now. 


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Anaheim at Las Vegas
Thursday, 02/11, 10:00 PM ET
Line: Knights -235 and 5.5 OV -115

These two teams met twice in the first week of the season and then again on Feb. 9. Vegas (8-1-1) cashed in for two points in all three games and it has been the same old story between these two since Day 1.

  • Vegas has a 13-2 (.867) record against the Ducks all-time, their highest win percentage against any team in the NHL.

The Knights are also 5-1 in the second half of a back-to-back following a win in the opener, but the Ducks (5-6-3) are getting a goal and-a-half for just -125 in this matchup, and there is reason to believe it could stay close.

  • When the posted total was 5.5, teams that had met more than three times in the first half of the season played UNDER 78 of 133 times (59%) the past 15 years.
  • Divisional road teams with triple revenge are 63% likely to play UNDER in this situation, going 140-81.

Vegas has scored 18 goals the past four games and the Ducks are off a game where more than eight total goals were scored. Home teams in this spot are only 36-53, a 60% play AGAINST angle. And that’s on the moneyline!

NHL Watchlist

Keep an eye out for the following rematches on Saturday between teams that have already met a minimum of three times in the first month of the season. Steps for handicapping close games on the side or total could be crucial with St. Louis and Arizona. Four of the past five between those two have been decided by one goal.

  • Senators at Jets
  • Blues at Coyotes
  • Capitals at Sabres
  • Wild at Kings

Follow @wunderdog on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for Free Picks and trends daily. If you want a key trend for a specific matchup, hit me up on social media!


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Hockey picksFebruary 6, 2021

NHL scoring trends for the Leafs and a handful of other teams are forcing bookmakers to raise their Over/Under odds. Could it signal an opportunity for UNDER bettor value? Also, the latest Covid updates and my NHL Trend-Set-Match feature.

NHL Scoring Surge

The Toronto Maple Leafs put up seven goals in Thursday’s win over the Canucks, catapulting them into third overall with a 3.64 goals per game average. Toronto (8-2-1) has scored a minimum of three goals in all but one game this season, and while this pace may seem unsustainable for the Leafs, there are signs that lopsided scores such as their 7-3 win against Vancouver are on the rise.

  • Over the past 14 years, the average number of teams to score 7-plus goals in a win was 48.8.
NHL scoring trends 2021

Currently, the 2021 schedule is forecasting 56 games per team. Whether or not that sticks, given the number of Covid postponements, is another story. But at this rate the league would project 52.9 winners with seven or more goals in a normal 82-game season.

Other teams scoring more than six this year include the Avalanche (twice), Canadiens, Stars (twice), Canucks and Oilers. In their subsequent game, these teams played 1 OVER and 6 UNDERS.

Trimming the tally to six goals to increase volume, the UNDER is 55% effective over the past six seasons for any team off a high-scoring win. At home, where bettors would tend to expect more of the same following an offensive explosion, the UNDER improves to 57% based on nearly 400 games.

  • On normal rest of 1-2 days, home teams off a win in which they scored six or more goals have played UNDER at a rate of 59%.

In 2021, this situation has arisen seven times leading to 2 OVERS and 5 UNDERS. It’s “live” on Saturday night when the Canucks and Leafs meet for a rematch, too. Also worth noting is that so far this year, the home team in this angle is a perfect 7-0.

Vancouver at Toronto
Line: Leafs -190 and 6.5 OV -130

Favorites of -150 up to -200 show a record of 54-34 (61%) straight up on an average line of -168. The home fave has outscored their opponent 3.0 to 2.3 resulting in a 70 percent hit-rate for UNDER bettors (57-24-7).

Projected goalies for Saturday are Thatcher Demko (3-5, 3.81 GAA) and Frederik Anderson (6-2-1, 3.01 GAA), and you can bet that special teams will be a paramount concern for Canucks coach Travis Green. His team is 2 for 26 (7.7%) on the power play away from home (30th), allowing nine goals in 34 chances (26.5%).

Another thing to point out is that Toronto qualifies for the rematch angle I discussed in an earlier hockey betting article, and the Leafs are 5-1 their past six in this spot.

Contrarian bettors will want to note this 60% trend supporting the Canucks:

  • Play ON any team off a divisional loss when facing a foe off a divisional blowout win by four or more goals. The record is 42-28 over the past five seasons.

Read my Super Bowl trends article and get my 11 picks for Super Bowl 55 here. I’ve hit 68% with my Super Bowl props and picks the past 13 years, including a 17-5 (77%) record the past two years. Don’t miss out!

Change of Plans

The Colorado Avalanche this week became the sixth out of an eight-team West Division to have games postponed due to Covid. They join the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild, currently on the sidelines for the same reason, and it has forced the league to revise its virus protocols.

Players and coaches are now only allowed to arrive at the arenas up to one hour and 45 minutes before puck drop. It’s forcing every team to drastically shake up their pregame routines and bettors now have to pay extra attention to see how it impacts the game.

Reduced first period scoring is one variable to consider. Goaltenders are in their own little world to begin with. The starters will no doubt be in the zone when the puck drops. But skaters, often playing on new line combinations, might not be fully synched up through the first 20 minutes.

First period totals are normally listed at 1.5 goals and juiced to the OVER from -105 up to -150.

  • Lowest scoring first period teams to watch: Red Wings, Bruins, Predators, Sabres, Kings and Stars.
  • Best defensive teams in the first period: Bruins, Devils, Hurricanes, Stars, Avalanche and Lightning.

Factor in rest days as well. For example on Friday night, three of five games stayed UNDER in the first period. The Kings fell behind 3-0 in the first, but Vegas was playing their first game since Jan. 26. The Knights were chomping at the bit and Vegas has consistently ranked as a Top 10 first period scoring team since entering the league.

Game to Circle
Red Wings at Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7 at 3 pm ET

  • Detroit ranks 30th in first period scoring since 2018 with just 0.68 goals in the opening frame.

The Panthers are playing their third game in four days. So far this season, Florida has only scored seven first period markers in eight games.

TREND-SET-MATCH

There is a very limited card in the NHL on Saturday, but note these two hard-hitting trends.

Penguins at Islanders
Line: New York -110 and 5.5

The Islanders have lost five in a row and they are coming off a five-day layoff.

  • Home teams like New York in this situation are 26-49 (35%), getting outscored 3.2 to 2.5.

Oilers at Flames
Line: Calgary -120 and 6.5

Edmonton has won three in a row and their offense is on fire! Connor McDavid leads the NHL with 24 points (8 G, 16 A), and teammate Leon Draisaitl, last year’s Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner, is right behind. Draisaitl has seven goals and 15 helpers (22 points).

  • Home teams off a blowout loss are 198-117 (63%) when hosting foes that have scored three-plus goals in three consecutive games.

The Flames were stoned by Connor Hellebuyck Thursday in Winnipeg, losing 4-1. It was the end of a five-game road trip in which the Flames earned just three of a possible 10 points. They’ll be heated for this rivalry game and the Oilers haven’t fared well with extra rest, going just 2-8 their past 10 times.

My hockey picks have earned +$203,570 for dime bettors the past 12 seasons. This year alone, I’ve posted 14 winning days of 25 (61%) for +$7,280. Follow @Wunderdog and don’t miss a single play!

 

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