Author Guarantor: Frank Monkhouse
Created: 21/11/2023 - 14:38
Last updated: 21/11/2023 - 08:44

What is Over/Under Hockey Betting?

What is Over/Under Hockey Betting?

Over/Under hockey betting in the NHL involves predicting if the total combined score of a game will be over or under the number set by sportsbooks, usually between 5.5 and 6.5 goals. Betting on the Over means hoping for more goals than the set total, while the Under is for a lower-scoring game. It's popular as it allows cheering for the overall game rather than a specific team. 

For beginners, betting on Overs can be a simple way to start NHL betting.

Vig or Juice: The Cost of Placing a Bet and Example

Every bet comes with a price, commonly known as the 'vig' (short for 'vigorish') or 'juice'. It's the commission bookmakers charge to accept your bet. The vig ensures that bookmakers turn a profit regardless of a game's outcome.

Example: If you see an Over/Under line listed as Over 5.5 (-110) and Under 5.5 (-110), the -110 is the vig. This means that you'd need to wager £110 to win £100 on either side of the bet.

How to Calculate the Vig

How to Calculate the Vig

 To calculate the Vig for each of your bet, please follow these steps: 

  • Convert the odds of both sides of the bet to implied probabilities.
  • Add these probabilities together.
  • If the total exceeds 100%, the excess percentage is the bookmaker's vig.

Formula to Convert American Odds to Implied Probability:

  • For Positive American Odds (like +110):

Implied Probability= 100/(American Odds+100)×100%

  • For Negative American Odds (like -110):

Implied Probability= ∣American Odds∣/(∣American Odds∣+100)×100%


Imagine an NHL Over/Under bet with the following odds:

  • Over 5.5 goals at -110
  • Under 5.5 goals at -110

First, calculate the implied probability for each:

For Over 5.5 at -110: 

Implied Probability= [110/(110+100)]×100%=52.38%

For Under 5.5 at -110:

Implied Probability=[110/(110+100)]×100%=52.38%

Now, add the two implied probabilities together:

  • 52.38%+52.38%=104.76%
  • 52.38%+52.38%=104.76%

The total implied probability is 104.76%, meaning the vig is 4.76%. The extra 4.76% over 100% represents the bookmaker's margin, ensuring they make a profit.

It's worth noting that a lower vig is better for bettors, as it indicates closer to "true" odds and potentially higher payouts. If you're looking to maximize returns, it's always a good idea to shop around for the bookmaker offering the lowest vig on your desired bet.

Betting on Whole Number Totals

In most sports betting, particularly in hockey, Over/Under totals are often set with half-point increments, such as 5.5 or 6.5. This ensures that there's a definitive outcome; either you win or you lose. However, sometimes bookmakers set totals at whole numbers, which introduces the possibility of a push.

A "push" in betting occurs when the outcome of a game matches exactly with the set total. When this happens, no one wins or loses, and all bet amounts are refunded.

Example: Let's consider a hockey game where the Over/Under total is set at a whole number: 6 goals.

Betting on the Over: If you bet that the total combined score of both teams will be over 6 goals, you'll need a total of 7 or more goals in the match to win your bet.

Betting on the Under: If you bet that the total combined score will be under 6 goals, you'll need a total of 5 or fewer goals to win your bet.

Push Scenario: However, if the total number of goals scored by both teams combined is precisely 6, neither the over nor the under bet wins. This scenario results in a push, meaning that all bettors will have their wagers refunded.

This push scenario is unique to whole number totals and doesn't occur with half-point totals. As a bettor, it's crucial to understand this difference as it can affect your strategy. If you're looking at potential outcomes and feel that there's a high likelihood of the result landing precisely on the whole number, you might choose to be more cautious with your bet size or even opt for a different type of wager.

The Ruling on Overtime & Shootouts

The Ruling on Overtime & Shootouts
The Ruling on Overtime & Shootouts

It's crucial to understand how overtimes and shootouts impact Over/Under bets. In most sportsbooks, all goals scored in both overtime and shootouts count towards the game's total for Over/Under purposes. However, always check the rules of your chosen sportsbook.

In hockey, games that are tied at the end of regulation time proceed to overtime and possibly a shootout to determine a winner. When it comes to Over/Under betting, it's crucial to understand how these additional periods of play influence the outcome of your bet.


Goals Count Towards the Total: Any goal scored in the overtime period counts towards the game's total, impacting Over/Under bets. 

So, if you're on the edge of winning or losing your Under bet at the end of the third period, the tension doesn't end there! An overtime goal could push the total over the line, or keep it under.


One Goal Only: In the event of a shootout, for betting purposes, only one goal is awarded to the winning team, no matter how many pucks find the back of the net during the shootout round. This singular goal is added to the game's total.

Example: Imagine you placed an Over 5.5 bet on a game. At the end of the overtime, the score is 3-3, totalling 6 goals. Even if the shootout sees five players scoring before a winner is determined, only one goal is added, making the final tally 7 goals for betting purposes. You'd win your Over 5.5 bet.

Consistency Across Bookmakers: This one-goal rule for shootouts is standard across most, if not all, bookmakers. However, it's always a good practice to check the terms and conditions of your specific bookmaker to ensure you understand their policies.

Strategic Considerations

  • Higher Scoring Potential: Knowing that overtimes and shootouts can affect the total can be pivotal in your betting strategy. Games that seem likely to be closely matched might have a higher potential of going into overtime, thus providing an extra window for more goals to be scored.
  • The Importance of Half-points: The potential of overtime and shootouts can make those half-points in Over/Under totals crucial. For instance, a game with an Over/Under of 5.5 has a different dynamic than one with an Over/Under of 6, especially if the game might head into overtime at a score of 3-3.

Understanding how overtimes and shootouts impact Over/Under bets is essential for hockey bettors. It adds another layer of strategy and consideration, ensuring that you're not caught off-guard when games go beyond regulation time.

How to Bet NHL Over/Under's

Over/Under betting in the NHL can be one of the more exhilarating forms of sports gambling, primarily because it engages the bettor for the entirety of the game. Here's a detailed guide, with an example, on how to approach NHL Over/Under betting:

  1. Understand the Concept: The basic premise of Over/Under betting, often termed totals betting, is predicting whether the combined score of both teams will go over or under a specified number set by the bookmaker.
  1. Research Previous Match Results: Before placing a bet, look at both teams' recent scoring trends. If two high-scoring teams are playing each other, the Over might be a good bet. Conversely, if two teams known for their defensive prowess are matching up, the Under could be more appealing.
  1. Factor in Injuries and Team Changes: Always check the injury reports. If a team's leading scorer is out, or a star goaltender is sidelined, it can significantly impact the total goals in the game.
  1. Consider the Venue and Travel Fatigue: Some teams perform differently at home than on the road. Also, teams on the tail end of a back-to-back might be more fatigued, potentially affecting their performance.
  1. Check the Odds and the Juice: The odds will tell you how much you can win, and the juice or vig will tell you how much you need to wager. Look for favourable odds when placing your bets.
  1. Place Your Bet: Once you've done your research and decided on Over or Under, go to your chosen top betting site or visit a betting shop to place your be t.


The New York Rangers are playing the Boston Bruins. The bookmaker has set the Over/Under at 5.5 goals.

Recent form:

  • Rangers have averaged 3 goals per game in their last five games.
  • Bruins have averaged 2.5 goals per game in their last five.

Given this, you might predict that the game will have around 5 or 6 goals in total.

Other factors:

  • The Rangers' leading scorer is out with an injury.
  • The Bruins played a game the previous night and might be fatigued.

Taking all this into account, you might lean towards betting the Under, anticipating a lower-scoring game due to the absence of the Rangers' key player and potential fatigue for the Bruins.

You place a £50 bet on Under 5.5 goals. If the total goals scored in the game is 5 or fewer, you win your bet. If it's 6 or more, you lose.

Remember: Like all forms of gambling, there's no sure-fire way to predict the outcome, but by conducting thorough research and considering various factors, you can make more informed decisions.

NHL Single-Game Over/Under Betting Tips and Strategies

NHL Single-Game Over/Under Betting Tips and Strategies

Watch for Injuries

Player absences, especially key players, can significantly impact a game's total score. A star forward's absence may decrease a team's scoring potential, while a top defenseman or starting goalie's injury can increase the likelihood of more goals.

Know Your Goalies

Goalies are pivotal in hockey. A team's choice of starting goalie can be the difference between a high or low-scoring game. Always keep an eye on goalie matchups and how they've performed recently.

Season-long Totals Betting Explained

Aside from single-game Over/Under bets, many sportsbooks offer season-long totals. Here, you're betting on whether a team will go over or under a set number of points or wins for the entire season.

Example: If the season-long total for the Vancouver Canucks is set at 92.5 points and you bet the 'Over', you're betting that they'll finish the season with 93 points or more.

Hockey Totals Betting FAQs

Q1. Do All Goals Count Towards the Over/Under, Including Empty-Netters?

Yes, all goals, including those scored on an empty net, count towards the total.

Q2. How Does a Game Postponement Affect My Bet

Typically, if a game gets postponed and played later, the bet stands. However, if it's not rescheduled, most sportsbooks will refund your wager.

Q3. Can I Parlay Over/Under Bets?

Yes, many sportsbooks allow you to include Over/Under bets and parlays.


In conclusion, Over/Under betting adds an exciting dimension to hockey wagering. By understanding the intricacies, from the vig to the impact of goalies, you can make more informed bets and enhance your enjoyment of the game. As always, bet responsibly.

Published: 21 November 2023 14:38
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