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Odds and Ends

Regular Season Point Totals

by Dan Dobish
Updated On: January 13, 2021, 1:26 pm ET

During a normal National Hockey League regular season we have an 82-game schedule, but since the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals between the Dallas Stars and champion Tampa Bay Lightning just wrapped up Sept. 28, the NHL didn't begin its new season in mid-October. Again, during a global pandemic due to COVID-19, things are not exactly normal, and we should all be thankful to have any hockey. The players enjoyed a brief offseason, and abbreviated training camp, and are now set to begin this week in a realigned NHL.

We'll take a look at some of the best bets for Over and Under win totals heading into the abbreviated 56-game campaign, which is roughly 68 percent of the normal season. So generally a 100-point season is considered a success in a full campaign. In this new sprint style season, anywhere 64-69 points will be considered mostly a success, with the top teams flirting with 70-75 points, or perhaps a touch better.

One team which I feel will benefit greatly from the alignment to the All-Canadian, or Scotia NHL North Division, will be the Calgary Flames (O/U 64.5, -110). I love the Over play on Calgary. The addition of G Jacob Markstrom will give this team some much needed stability in the crease. He'll use the confidence he gained in a surprising, deep run in the playoffs last season with the Vancouver Canucks to help him log plenty of wins with a solid offensive team in Calgary. The Flames averaged exactly 3.0 goals per game on offense in 70 regular season games in 2019-20, and they were good for 79 points. That's roughly 1.13 points per game. Over a 56-game schedule that would translate to 63 points, and that means they would simply need to win one more game than they lost last season for an improvement in the standings. The addition of Markstrom should give them several more victories, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were to flirt with 70 points, especially in an all-Canadian division which will be top-heavy with contenders, but bottom loaded with some struggling teams, too.

Another team I like to exceed expectation will be the New York Rangers (O/U 61.5, -110). They lost heart and soul G Henrik Lundqvist, as he signed with the Washington Capitals during the offseason. But the cupboard is anything but bare in the blue ice, as Gs Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin proved down the stretch last season that they're more than ready to take the torch. Offense shouldn't a problem, as Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad are stars up front, they drafted Kaapo Kakko with the No. 2 overall pick last season, and he will be joined by No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere in Manhattan. It's a nice mix of young talent and high-priced, high-flying stars which should see the Blueshirts in the upper division of the East. Perhaps the biggest question is among the defensemen, as Tony DeAngelo showed out last season with 15 goals. Can he do it again? And will Jacob Trouba re-emerge as the high-producing rearguard which he was in Winnipeg, earning him a huge payday last offseason?

The best Under play, by far, will be the Boston Bruins (O/U 69.5, -110). For years, New England sports teams have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success. But the MLB's Boston Red Sox struggled mightily last season, the NFL's New England Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time in ages this season, and the Bruins will add to the misery for fans in the region. It's not to say that the B's will miss the playoffs, but flirting with 70 points in a 56-game schedule in the stacked MassMutual East Division won't be in the offing. The B's saw long-time rearguards Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug move to other organizations, and it will be interesting to see if up-and-comer Charlie McAvoy can handle the rigors of being the No. 1 defenseman for the B's. He could struggle for long stretches with a lot more pressure to perform. The goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak has worked well for bench boss Bruce Cassidy in recent seasons, but they're a year older, and it will be interesting to see how Rask performs after leaving the bubble in the postseason for personal reasons. Is his heart back into it, or will he underperform? The B's have one of the highest point totals, but they're likely to be rather middling in a competitive East.

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Going back to the North, the Toronto Maple Leafs (O/U 71.5, -110) are expected by the oddsmakers to top the charts in the all-Canadian group. The addition of D T.J. Brodie was nice for the Buds, but they still have some issues in the back end in front of G Frederik Andersen. Will the addition of C Joe Thornton help the young, high-paid forwards like C Auston Matthews and W Mitch Marner take a big step forward to superstardom? Something always seems to go wrong for the Blue and White, even when things appear to be trending in the right direction. The Leafs averaged 1.15 points per game last season, so projected over a 56-game schedule, that would put them at 65 points. They didn't really do much in the offseason to feel confident they'll have a three-game improvement in the win column, although playing against the likes of the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks on a more regular basis could do the trick.

Team-by-team predictions

Anaheim Ducks Under 54.5

Arizona Coyotes Under 57.5

Boston Bruins Under 69.5

Buffalo Sabres Over 56.5

Calgary Flames Over 64.5

Carolina Hurricanes Over 69.5

Chicago Blackhawks Under 49.5

Colorado Avalanche Over 74.5

Columbus Blue Jackets Over 63.5

Dallas Stars Under 65.5

Detroit Red Wings Over 43.5

Edmonton Oilers Over 63.5

Florida Panthers Under 62.5

Los Angeles Kings Under 50.5

Minnesota Wild Under 61.5

Montreal Canadiens Under 65.5

Nashville Predators Under 65.5

New Jersey Devils Under 52.5

New York Islanders Over 61.5

New York Rangers Over 61.5

Ottawa Senators Under 50.5

Philadelphia Flyers Over 65.5

Pittsburgh Penguins Under 65.5

San Jose Sharks Under 56.5

St. Louis Blues Over 68.5

Tampa Bay Lightning Over 71.5

Toronto Maple Leafs Under 71.5

Vancouver Canucks Over 62.5

Vegas Golden Knights Over 72.5

Washington Capitals Under 64.5

Winnipeg Jets Under 60.5