Hockey picksFebruary 6, 2021

NHL Scoring Trends and Systems

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.


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!