Goal Crazy: Early-season NHL scoring trends

Updated: October 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm by Jeff Tay

A lot of uncertainty usually surrounds the start of an NHL season. Which teams will have breakout seasons, while which others will fall backwards, and which teams will get off to slow starts? Questions such as these will usually remain unanswered until the season is well under way.

However, one trend that NHL bettors might not have to take a ‘wait-and-see’ stance on, might be the fact that NHL games at the beginning of the season tend to produce an above-average amount of goals. Last season, the average NHL regular season game produced 5.53 goals–just slightly above the key betting number of 5.5. However, if we looked only at the first 10 games of the season across all 30 NHL teams, the average goals per game during this opening stretch of the season was an incredible 5.93 (6.00 goals per game across the first 5 games of the season).

With player energy levels high, goaltenders still rusty, and games with little to no playoff implications, it is no mystery why the games at this time of the year are a little more offensively-productive. Oddly enough though, games 12 through 17 of last season produced some of the lowest scoring games of the NHL season, while games 18 through 22 were once again higher-scoring games. Some of this though, may also have been due to the time of the year that it was when these games took place (the holiday seasons and so forth).

The point to take away from all this though, is that the NHL season is not a uniform set of 1230 games (82 games x 30 total teams divided by 2 teams per game). The season is  a series of games that take place at different times of the year under different circumstances. As such, NHL bettors could consider such temporal factors and trends in their betting, and as seen here, especially when it comes to betting on the early-season totals.