NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Stanley Cup Previews!
October 2, 2018
Out of the four major North American professional sports, hockey is widely regarded as the most unpredictable by a mile. That means sharp puck bettors can find no shortage of value on the ice while getting a leg up on oddsmakers in the process.
With the 2018-19 NHL season set to begin on October 3, another year of fresh new betting opportunities comes with it. The league is looking as wide open as it’s been in quite some time, and the time is now to place your futures wagers before the campaign gets underway.
Here are some betting odds and previews for every NHL team.
ALEX OVECHKIN TO WIN THE ROCKET RICHARD TROPHY (+550)
After years of playoff futility, the Capitals finally got over the hump and delivered the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and captain Alex Ovechkin is a major reason for it. The Russian sniper has led the league in goals in five of the past six seasons and is not showing any signs of slowing down at 33, so another Rocket Richard Trophy could be on the horizon for him after he recorded 49 a year ago.
TO WIN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE (+550)
Coming off back-to-back Cup victories, the Penguins weren’t able to keep the postseason momentum going and bowed out of the playoffs in the second round in a loss to the Capitals. When you have superstars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, your championship window is always open, and I can see the Pens getting back to the Cup final as long as Matt Murray can return to the form he showed in his first two seasons.
OVER 82.5 POINTS FOR CLAUDE GIROUX (-140)
The Flyers weren’t expected to be a playoff team in 2017-18 but decided to crash the party anyway, and it’s clear the future is bright in the City of Brotherly Love. Fresh off a 102-point season, captain Claude Giroux is primed to have another strong showing playing on a line with Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, who enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2017-18.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS (+240)
I generally try to stay away from hot takes, but I couldn’t help myself when it comes to Columbus. The Blue Jackets have made postseason appearances in two straight years but I’m betting them to miss the dance altogether this time around. The skies are cloudy in Ohio right now due to the pending unrestricted free agency of star winger Artemi Panarin and franchise goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, and on September 26 it was announced top defenseman Seth Jones will be sidelined four to six weeks with a knee injury. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Jackets finish outside the playoff picture come the spring.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (-105)
New Jersey was even more of an afterthought than Philadelphia when it came to the playoff conversation prior to the start of last season, but the Devils – led by Taylor Hall’s 93 points – reached the postseason for the first time since 2011-12 before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. I don’t think that was a fluke, and it wouldn’t shock me whatsoever to see them get back there for the second year in a row.
UNDER 86.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-125)
The Hurricanes have been one of the least successful franchises in the NHL in the last decade, as the last time they played meaningful games outside of the regular season came all the way back in 2008-09. Longtime goaltender Cam Ward is gone, and the front office chose to go with a combo of Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek between the pipes. I think it’s going to be another long year in Raleigh, so take the UNDER on the Canes’ regular-season points total.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
UNDER 82.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-105)
John Tavares’ decision to spurn the only NHL team he’s ever known to return to Canada and play for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs was the hockey story of the summer, but the Islanders weren’t exactly a powerhouse with him there to begin with. Coming off a disappointing 80-point season, the Isles figure to be one of the worst teams in the league for the foreseeable future. Mat Barzal looks like a superstar already, but there are simply too many holes in the roster for the Islanders to be taken seriously.
NEW YORK RANGERS
OVER 75.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-130)
Look, don’t get me wrong, I know the Rangers are in full rebuild mode right now, but the 75.5 number seems a little too low – especially considering where the Islanders are at. New York is offensively starved, as Mats Zuccarello led the Blueshirts with only 53 points a year ago. At 36, Henrik Lundqvist is clearly in the twilight of his career, but I think he’ll still be able to keep the Rangers in enough games to see them eclipse their projected season point total.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
ANDREI VASILEVSKIY TO WIN THE VEZINA TROPHY (+500)
The Lightning have the second-best odds to win the Stanley Cup, and a big reason why is the man in net. Andrei Vasilevskiy was the Vezina Trophy favorite for three quarters of the 2017-18 season before tailing off a bit near the end. Considering the Russian played 65 games, fatigue was definitely an issue. Vasilevskiy’s win total jumped from 23 to 44 in the last two years and he should be firmly in the conversation for the bragging rights when all is said and done.
OVER 102.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-115)
The Bruins were perceived to be a team on the rise entering the 2017-18 season, yet they outperformed all preseason expectations in the form of a 112-point campaign while placing second in the Atlantic Division. With the top line in the NHL (Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak) and teeming with young talent, I expect the Bruins to be at least as good as – if not better than – last year’s version of the club, so take the OVER on this prop.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
TO WIN THE ATLANTIC DIVISION (+165)
Entering the summer, the Maple Leafs were already projected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and the addition of Tavares makes them downright scary across the board. The Leafs are favored to win the Atlantic for a reason, and while the defense could use some work, I expect general manager Kyle Dubas to shore up the blue line if the group struggles out of the gate. With Frederik Andersen solidifying things in net, get used to seeing the Buds atop the Atlantic Division standings.
OVER 94.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-130)
The Panthers finished on the outside of the playoff picture looking in a year ago, yet they still posted a very respectable 44-30-8 record. Led by stellar center Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers look poised to raise some eyebrows, and with division counterparts Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa and Buffalo expected to struggle, Florida should soar over the 94.5-point total.
DETROIT RED WINGS
FILIP ZADINA TO WIN THE CALDER TROPHY (+1400)
This is my biggest long shot of this article odds-wise, but if you’ve ever seen Zadina play, you already know the talent he possesses. The sixth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft is looking like a lock to make the team out of the gate and will slide directly into a top-six forward group that badly needs an offensive boost. The Czech Republic native has some tough competition with the incoming rookie crop, but the +1400 odds are too good to pass up.
UNDER 80.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-130)
The recent free fall of the Senators has taken the negative spotlight off the Canadiens for a little while, yet Montreal looks to be in for a long year. The Habs were one of the worst teams in the NHL last season and saw their wins decrease from 47 in 2016-17 to 29 as a result. Captain Max Pacioretty was traded to Vegas, and Alex Galchenyuk was dealt to Arizona for Max Domi. Carey Price remains an elite goaltender but at 31, it’s starting to look like the Canadiens weren’t able to properly utilize him in his prime. Take the UNDER on the Habs’ season win projection.
UNDER 69.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-115)
To put it lightly, the Senators are an absolute mess right now, and I don’t have enough time here to properly explain what’s transpired for the franchise since they were one goal away from making the Eastern Conference final in the 2017 postseason. Questionable ownership, rumored issues in the locker room and an extreme lack of talent have the Sens looking like they’re poised for the cellar of the Atlantic and a terrible showing in the standings.
OVER 80.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-130)
While the Senators and Canadiens are trending downward, I think the Sabres are on the opposite side of the fence. Rasmus Dahlin, the top overall pick in the draft, has all the makings of a franchise defenseman, and the addition of goaltender Carter Hutton helps stabilize things between the pipes. Making the playoffs is asking an awful lot of the Sabres, but they’ll likely be a much-improved squad and should eclipse the 80.5-point projected season total.
OVER 71.5 POINTS FOR FILIP FORSBERG (-120)
There have been some bad trades in the NHL over the years, but the 2013 trade between the Capitals and Predators that sent Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat and Michael Latta is about as lopsided as it gets. Forsberg has blossomed into a star in the Music City, as the skilled Swede is coming off a 64-point season in which he played only 67 games. If he can stay healthy, he should easily go over the projected 71.5-point number on a very good Predators team.
TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP (+850)
Thanks in large part to the emergence of Vezina Trophy candidate Connor Hellebuyck, the Winnipeg Jets moved into the upper echelon of the NHL in 2017-18, and a playoff run that culminated in a loss to Vegas in the Western Conference final looks to be only the beginning for the Jets. Winnipeg is loaded from top to bottom with talent and ranks third in Stanley Cup odds behind Toronto and Tampa Bay. A Canadian team hasn’t won the Cup since 1993, but I’m banking on the Jets ending that drought in June.
OVER 95.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-115)
The Wild are developing a reputation of posting fantastic performances in the regular season followed by early exits in the playoffs, and last year’s showing was no different with a first-round exit at the hands of the Jets. Regardless of their inability to get the job done in the playoffs, Minnesota is set to return largely the same roster from last year’s 101-point campaign. Minny looks good enough in my eyes to go OVER the 95.5 number.
TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (+150)
The Avalanche were the biggest surprise team in the NHL a year ago, as the club seemingly came out of nowhere to win 43 games and finish with 95 points – a 47-point improvement from a dismal 2016-17 campaign. Colorado looked like a new team after Matt Duchene was dealt to Ottawa last December, and the front office made a smart decision to trade for ex-Washington Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer as insurance for the oft-injured Semyon Varlamov. A second straight playoff appearance could be in the cards for the Avs.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
OVER 97.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-110)
On the heels of a disappointing season that saw the Blues finish outside the postseason picture, general manager Doug Armstrong decided a shakeup was needed and overhauled the roster in a busy offseason. With the likes of Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon added to the forward group, St. Louis should be a dramatically improved team going forward and easily eclipse the 97.5-point season total as a result.
TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS (+135)
The Stars were one of the teams rumored to be an active member of the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes but weren’t able to pull the trigger after the Sharks swooped in. Dallas is loaded with top-end talent like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, but its lack of depth concerns me. The Stars will likely be a bubble team come the spring, yet the +135 price on them to miss the postseason for the third straight year is too good to pass up.
OVER 85.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-105)
All dynasties eventually come to an end, and the Blackhawks are certainly in that category right now. On the heels of a 33-win season that saw them finish in the basement of the Central Division, Chicago is a team in major transition right now. General manager Stan Bowman hasn’t thrown in the towel on the current core, yet the Hawks’ issues with the salary cap have greatly hindered the front office. Still, I think the Blackhawks should go OVER the 85.5 number if starting goaltender Corey Crawford can stay healthy – a big if at this point, so the bet does come with some risk.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
OVER 69.5 POINTS FOR JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT (+100)
Vegas’ inaugural season was a smashing success by all accounts, and the expansion franchise’s run to the Cup final was spearheaded by unheralded players who enjoyed career years in Sin City. Case in point: Jonathan Marchessault. Marchessault, whose previous high point total was 51, exploded to collect 75 points in 77 games. The talent surrounding him has improved, so expect the Canadian’s numbers to keep rising in 2018-19.
OVER 94.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-130)
It seems like many pundits are down on the Ducks this season, but I think their window of contention is still very much open. John Gibson is solid in net, and the forward and defense groups possess a good mix of veteran leadership and younger players teeming with potential. The Ducks’ first-round sweep at the hands of the Sharks in the spring was tough to watch, however the current version of the Ducks should be good enough to get back to the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
TO WIN THE PACIFIC DIVISION (+240)
The Maple Leafs were the toast of the offseason thanks to the Tavares signing, but the Sharks stole the show in September by acquiring disgruntled franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson in a statement-making trade. San Jose is clearly all-in right now and has the makings of a clear Stanley Cup contender. I have San Jose meeting Winnipeg in the Western Conference final, and if you’re looking for a value bet, the Sharks to win the Pacific at +240 looks appealing.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
DREW DOUGHTY TO WIN THE JAMES NORRIS TROPHY (+900)
Already possessing one of the oldest rosters in the league, the Kings decided to keep investing in veteran leadership by bringing Ilya Kovalchuk back to the NHL from Russia. Fresh off a 60-point campaign, Drew Doughty agreed to an eight-year extension with the Kings to keep him in the Golden State for the long haul. I don’t expect Doughty to slack off after signing the big deal, and a preseason bet on him to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman looks excellent at the +900 price.
TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (-145)
In light of an underwhelming 84-point showing in the regular season, Flames general manager Brad Treliving decided enough was enough and brought some major changes to Alberta. Glen Gulutzan was shown the door and Bill Peters was brought in behind the bench, while James Neal, Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin look like excellent fits. Calgary should have no issue getting back to the playoffs in 2018-19.
CONNOR MCDAVID TO WIN THE ART ROSS TROPHY (+240)
Oilers fans and bettors alike won’t want to be reminded of the dreadful 2017-18 campaign, as Edmonton followed up its playoff appearance the year before with an ugly 78-point showing. There was one constant in Northern Alberta all season long, though: the unbelievable skill of superstar center Connor McDavid. McDavid collected his second straight Art Ross Trophy as the top point-getter in the NHL, and he looks like an excellent wager to make it three straight this time around.
OVER 28.5 GOALS FOR BROCK BOESER (-120)
Canucks fans haven’t had much to cheer about over the last little while, but Brock Boeser should give them reasons to get excited. The 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft broke onto the scene in his first full NHL season, collecting 55 points in 62 games on a Canucks team that’s been hurting for offense. With Boeser potting 29 goals last year, I expect him to go OVER the 28.5 number with ease if he can stay healthy – especially if he’s seeing regular ice time with Calder Trophy favorite Elias Pettersson.
OVER 81.5 REGULAR-SEASON POINTS (-135)
I don’t expect this to be a popular bet, but I’m all-in on the Coyotes going above 81.5 points in 2018-19. The Coyotes’ rebuild has been taking longer than the fan base would like, yet the team has compiled a litany of young talent up front as well as newly named captain and star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as well as a legitimate goaltender in Antti Raanta. Arizona hasn’t been to the postseason since 2011-12 and hasn’t gone over 80 points since 2013-14, but I think the Coyotes take a step forward this year and improve off last season’s 70-point campaign.