There’s no sport where getting the lead to start out is as dramatic as it is in the NHL. During the 2016-17 season, the Washington Capitals were an astonishing 46-7-5 when scoring the first goal of the game. That’s a .793 winning percentage.
The beauty of stats like that is they are available right at your fingertips and reveal a telling story if you are contemplating entering the market of betting on the first goal of NHL games. Washington scored the first goal of the game 58 times in 82 regular-season games, so it would make sense to wager on the Caps in a first to score bet.
On the other hand, during the same season the Colorado Avalanche tallied the first goal in a league-low 24 games, so you’d want to avoid wagering on Colorado to deliver the first goal of the night.
What’s great about first-goal wagers in that the bet is a straightforward 50-50 proposition. It’s basically a coin flip of a wager, although with stats like the ones above, you can tilt that coin flip in your favor.
Since they also track these statistics, teams are aware of the vital importance of a first goal. It enables them to dictate the flow of the game a bit more and can force the opponents into playing a catch-up brand of hockey.
Other stats at your disposal that can decipher which way to go with the first goal wager. You’ll easily be able to access how many goals a team scores in the first period of play and also what their goal difference is in first-period play. A team scoring showing a 42-14 discrepancy in first-period goals would make a logical first goal play. But a team that displayed a first-period goal difference of 34-33 would not, because they are almost as likely to fall behind as they are to go in front.
Sportsbooks like 888 Sport allow you to take the first-goal wager one step further. They offer an individual first goal bet in which you can select and then wager on any player on the ice for either team to score the first goal of the game.