Tonight is the official start of the NHL season and there’s as much intrigue as ever. A relative return to “normalcy” after the divisional shakeup and virus restrictions last season. The drama with players such as Jack Eichel and Robin Lehner. The inaugural season of the Seattle Kraken. It’s going to be a fun season, and there’s no shortage of betting opportunities. Since last season wrapped up, states such as Arizona have legalized sports betting and numerous new sportsbooks have opened their doors. Hockey’s found a new home on ESPN, and that’s going to expose the game to an entirely new audience. With an intriguing season ahead of us, let’s look at some of the current odds and trends to take a look at for the NHL season.
Despite Losing In the Playoffs, Avs Favored for the Cup
The Colorado Avalanche have been reborn the past few years under head coach Jared Bednar. They’ve got no shortage of young talent, from center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar to wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. However, doubters will point to some of their early playoff exits the past few years as a troubling trend. The team also lost goalie Phillip Grubauer in free agency just after he finished the year as a Vezina Trophy finalist. The Avs quickly replaced him with Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper, and they’re hoping there will be no dropoff from one goaltender to the next.
The Avalanche are currently the favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup this season at +475. They’re closely followed by the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning at +700, the Vegas Golden Knights at +700, and the Toronto Maple Leafs at +900.
No Shortage of Awards Bets
If you’re more focused on the players than the teams, you’ll want to see all the different individual awards available. Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid is favored to win the Hart Trophy again at +200. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is sitting at +380 to repeat and win the Vezina Trophy. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is sitting at +350 to win his first James Norris Trophy. Finally, Montreal Canadiens right winger Cole Caufield is favored to win the Calder Trophy.
The Strange Case of the Seattle Kraken
The Kraken are dropping the puck tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights for the official start to their inaugural season. Bettors are undoubtedly excited, but some consider the team to be a bit overvalued. The team is currently only -140 to make the playoffs despite the fact that we haven’t seen the Kraken in any regular-season action. The current point total on some books is 92.5 for the season. The team is also facing +750 odds to win the Pacific Division.
Many believe that bettors are giving the young team too much credit based on the Vegas Golden Knights’ first season in 2017-2018. The Golden Knights finished with 109 points off a 51-24-7 record, finishing with a Stanley Cup Finals loss against the Washington Capitals. The Seattle Kraken have some talented pieces such as goalie Philipp Grubauer and forward Yanni Gourde, but having good players doesn’t always translate to instant chemistry.