Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a hockey wager and enjoy the gift of success each and every time? NHL betting does offer a GIFT but, like any other bet, it does not guarantee a victory every time.
You might want to look into the GIFT as a part of a comprehensive hockey betting strategy. The GIFT, or Goals in First Ten, is a popular wagering option at many reputable sportsbooks. Bettors place bets on whether a goal will be scored in the first ten minutes of play. The goal can be scored by either team.
Some sportsbooks also provide the NGFT, or No Goal First Ten, which is the opposite side of the GIFT wager. An NGFT wager is simply a bet that neither team will score in the opening ten minutes of a game. It’s a bet that is similar to MLB’s NRFI (No Runs First Inning) wager.
Price of GIFT
In roughly 58 percent of all games last NHL season, a goal was scored in the opening ten minutes. For the GIFT wager, that would translate to a price of -138. Of course, you need to add the juice and make adjustments for the combined offensive and defensive abilities of the two teams.
Typically, the game total and GIFT odds are calculated together. It makes sense that the likelihood of a goal being scored in the first ten minutes of a game would rise if more goals are anticipated to be scored.
Here are two examples from last season.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Florida Panthers
Both Edmonton and Florida were highly skilled offensive teams. The Panthers led the NHL in goals per game and the Oilers had the top two players in points for the season. The total in this game was set a little higher at 7. As a result, the odds on a goal in the first ten minutes are higher at -210. Again, more goals are anticipated making it more likely for one to be scored in the game’s first ten minutes.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. New York Islanders
The Islanders and Knights were two of the better defensive teams in the NHL last season. In terms of goals against per game, both teams were among the top-5 in the league. The total being set at 5.5 is a result of that. A goal within the first ten minutes is less likely because fewer goals are anticipated. The GIFT odds correspond at -130.
The GIFT Rules
The GIFT is typically counted from 0:00 to 9:59 of the first period at most sportsbooks. A bet is considered a loss if a goal is scored at precisely the 10:00 mark of the first period.
The GIFT bet can be found in various places at different sportsbooks. Some will list the GIFT in the “Periods” section. Other sportsbooks will list the GIFT wager under a different heading, such as Popular Bets. In some books, you can even place a wager on a goal within the first five minutes (GIFF).
Betting the GIFT
The average number of goals scored by a team in an NHL game is 3.16. The average for the entire previous season was 3.14. Thus, an NHL game will typically feature 6.3 goals. Scores haven’t been this high in a very long time.
The last time teams averaged 3.14 goals per game was in 1995–96. In just 17% of NHL games from last season, the first period featured no goals. The league average for the last 15 NHL seasons is 19%. Thus, first-period goals were scored in 81% of NHL games. GIFT odds have been adjusted in response to the increased scoring over the previous two seasons.
The top teams in terms of GIFT bets so far in 2022–23 are Vancouver (23–8), Calgary (24–9), Buffalo (23–9), and Ottawa (23–9). At least 71% of the time, a goal was scored by each team in the opening ten minutes of a game. It’s interesting to note that in every Vancouver away game, the GIFT bet was a winner.