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High-Scoring Metropolitan is Forcing NHL Totals up

Something we rarely see in the NHL is a closing total of more than 5.5. Since the turn of the calendar, however, we’ve seen three – the same amount we’d seen in the first three months of the schedule. So, what’s going on? Are bookmakers going crazy, or do they see something the public does not?

Here's the breakdown of all these instances so far this season:

All Games With a Total higher than 5.5 during the 2016-17 Season
DateVisiting teamHome teamVisiting scoreHome scoreTotalOVER/UNDER
17 January 2017StarsRangers766.0O
13 January 2017Maple LeafsRangers426.5U
8 January 2017LightningPenguins266.0O
23 December 2016DevilsPenguins146.0U
22 December 2016PenguinsBlue Jackets176.5O
22 October 2016Blue JacketsStars306.0U

A common thread in these games is that they’ve all involved at least one team from the Metropolitan Division. This makes sense as the division boasts the three highest-scoring teams in the league – the Rangers, the Penguins and the Blue Jackets. The OVER/UNDER record for these games this season is 3-3 so that doesn’t really tell us how to bet when these situations arise but the Metro Division scoring trend might.

When you look at the Penguins and Rangers, you’ll see that they’ve combined for a 53-27-8 O/U record and a 22-5-4 O/U record against teams in their division. This means the total is going OVER like crazy when these teams have played others in the Metro and it may be a bet you want to target in the future.

Here's a list of the Penguins' and Rangers' next five games against their division so you can mark them on your betting calendar:

Penguins: @ Carolina Jan 20, vs Columbus Feb 3, @ Columbus Feb 17, @ Carolina Feb 21, vs Philadelphia Feb 25.

Rangers: vs Philadelphia Jan 25, vs Columbus Jan 31, @ Columbus Feb 13, @ NY Islanders Feb 16, vs Washington Feb 28.

The Blue Jackets, the third-highest scoring team in the league, have posted many more UNDERs than OVERs with a 16-23-4 O/U record and that can be traced back to the Vezina-caliber play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. When Bob hasn’t started, the Jackets’ O/U record is 3-1-3 so if bench boss John Tortorella ever rolls with a backup in the future, you should probably take the OVER, especially if the total is 5.

Tread carefully, though. It's normally after the all-star break that scoring starts to drop off significantly. Teams start to transition into playoff mode and start locking it down at the defensive end. Keep an eye on the NHL page for my analysis on how to bet the unofficial second half of the NHL season.

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