NHL Team Regular Season Point Totals
We are officially less than a week away from the start of the 2021 NHL season. We started by taking a look at Stanley Cup Futures and Hart Trophy candidates worth betting on. Next, we’re looking at team point totals for the upcoming season. For those unfamiliar with how the NHL awards points, teams get two points for a win, one point for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero points for a regulation-time loss. I’ve highlighted two teams and the plays to make on their respective point totals at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Ottawa Senators – Over 43.5 Points (-115)
Hold your nose for this first one. If there’s been one team that’s given up on competing in the NHL over the last three years, it’s been the Ottawa Senators. But hope is on the horizon for the few Sens fans that remain.
FanDuel has the Senators team total set at 43.5 for the 2021 NHL Season. That implies that the Senators need to have a win percentage of .393 for the over to cash. Granted, the Senators were the only team in the newly-formed Canadian Division to miss out on the playoffs last season, explaining the low points total. Still, that winning percentage is probably too low, even for the Senators.
Ottawa finished the 2019-20 campaign with a .437 points percentage, which translates to a record of 25-34-12. There are a couple of advanced metrics that imply further progression this season. First off, the Senators finished last season with a 45.4% goals-for percentage. Practically, that means that they were outscored by a 155-129 margin at five-on-five. But the Sens underachieved relative to their expected goals-for percentage. Essentially, expected goals-for is a culmination of other advanced metrics used to indicate how successful a team should be. The Sens finished last season with a 49.7% expected goals-for mark, which means they should have scored more and allowed fewer goals than they actually did. When you consider that they also had the 25th ranked PDO (a combination of shooting and save percentages), which should hypothetically be 1.000, there’s reason to believe that progression is on the horizon.
To the Sens credit, they went out this off-season and got even better. The upgrade started in net when they traded for Matt Murray and signed him to an extension. Subsequently, they signed Evgenii Dadonov, Alex Galchenyuk, acquired Braydon Coburn, Cedric Paquette and Derek Stepan via trade, before signing third overall pick Tim Stuetzle to a three-year entry-level contract. They have an embarrassment of riches up the middle, young players like Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot who should continue their development, and a goalie in his most productive years with something to prove.
Ottawa won’t be the easy out that teams expect them to be and they if they find chemistry early, could easily surpass the 43.5 point total.
Boston Bruins – Under 73.5 (-115)
For the first time since 2006, the Boston Bruins will start their season without Zdeno Chara. But that’s far from the only change impacting Boston’s probability of success this season.
Boston probably took the hardest hit out of all the teams forced into realignment. They are going from the friendly confines of the Atlantic Division, which included the aforementioned Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens — all of whom finished .500 or worse and were transplanted to the NHL East Division. This season, they will face the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers and New York Islanders. If you think that sounds like a stacked division, you are absolutely correct. The combined winning percentage of these eight teams was .596, which is about 7% higher than the .526 winning percentage from the Atlantic Division last season.
Making matters worse is the B’s will have to start the year without three of their top four scorers from last season. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand both had off-season surgery. Pastrnak is rumoured to be out until mid-February whereas Marchand is hoping to be cleared near the start of the season. Tory Krug, the fourth-leading scorer, was signed by the St. Louis Blues as a free agent. All of which is in addition to replacing their captain from the last 15 years, Big Z.
FanDuel has the Bruins season point total at 73.5 which implies a winning percentage of .660 for the over to hit. The Bruins finished last season with a winning percentage of .714, so this number obviously reflects personnel changes and realignment, among other factors. However, the lowest point total that FanDuel has in this division is the New Jersey Devils at 53.5 points. Bookmakers expect every team in this division to be around or above the .500 mark, with four teams season point total in the 60s — more plainly, this will be a very competitive division. There are only so many wins to go around with an intradivisional schedule, and some those wins are coming at the Bruins expense. Under 73.5 is the play.