Every sportsbook sets a total on each NHL game in its betting line. In this case, suppose BetMGM has posted 5.5 as the total on a game between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. This number means that the oddsmakers believe the two teams will combine for 5.5 goals.
Right away, you are saying to yourself, how can they score half a goal? Of course, they can’t. The purpose of the half goal is to ensure a payout on every total wager.
By setting a half goal into the total line, BetMGM is guaranteeing that all wagers will be final. If they were to set the total line at five and the game concluded with a five-goal final, such as Edmonton 3, Calgary 2, then all wagers would have to be refunded because it didn’t go over or under the established total. This is known as a push in betting lingo, and you’d get your stake back.
You will find as you become more familiar with betting on the NHL that 5.5 is a very common number listed as the total final score on games. The vast majority of NHL games end up with final totals for goals between four and six.
With the growing prominence of live betting options, sportsbooks like BetMGM offer a wide variety of total betting propositions, including in-period totals and single-team total wagers. They work in the same manner as a complete-game total. You wager on the over or the under for an established number.