The NHL season is around the corner and many hockey fans are more than excited for the season to start. With the start of the season comes prop bets and predictions for the upcoming season. The possible prop bets range from picking a Stanley Cup champion to picking a division winner to even betting on how many points a player will score. Here are some of the bets that you as a hockey fan should consider making prior to the season as they have interesting totals and notable odds.
Over: Vancouver Canucks – 62.5 Points
It seems slightly surprising to see the Canucks with a low total considering the offseason they had. While the Canucks lost goalie Jacob Markstrom, the signing of Braden Holtby should be able to help cover the loss with the continued growth of Thatcher Demko in net. Additionally, the signing of Nate Schmidt should help the defense that already looks to be good with veteran Alex Elder and 21-year-old, rising star Quinn Hughes.
The Canucks are going to play in the North Division, which will only consist of seven teams and only teams located in Canada. While the division is unpredictable, the Canucks should be in the middle or even a sleeper team to win the division. Expect them to win enough games and accumulate enough points to cover the over on 62.5 points.
Under: Carolina Hurricanes – 71.5 Points
The Hurricanes are poised to be one of the best teams in the Central Division and in the NHL this season with few to no flaws on their roster. However, this is a high total and we can expect the Hurricanes to fall under 71.5 points. The primary reason for betting the under is the difficult schedule. Many would regard the division as a top-heavy one but the Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and most importantly the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning should all give the Hurricanes trouble. We can expect a great season, but it would be advisory to bet the under on the 71.5 points.
Over: Alexander Ovechkin – 52.5 Points
It comes as a surprise to see Ovechkin’s points prop bet as low as 52.5 (for reference, Brad Marchand’s total is 61.5). The assumption is that Ovechkin is expected to have a bad year in a shortened season.
However, it’s safe to assume that one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game will score 53 points or even more. Ovechkin scored 67 points in 68 games last season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Take advantage of this low total for one of the best players in the game and bet the over.
Under: Connor McDavid – 75.5 Points
Connor McDavid is a phenomenal player and many would easy declare the best in the NHL. Between McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Edmonton Oilers see most of their scoring production and overall value making one believe that this total might be too low. However, there are a few reasons to bet the under on McDavid’s 75.5 points.
For starters, there will be precaution over McDavid and possibly Draisaitl over the course of the season. Considering that 56 games will be played within four months and the travel that the Oilers will have to endure in the North Division, it’s possible that McDavid will be forced to miss a few games either to injury or rest. The more important argument for betting the under is that McDavid has the highest total of any player in the NHL and despite his undisputed excellence, it’s hard seeing the over covering (it should be noted that Draisaitl has the second-highest total at 73.5 points).
St. Louis Blues to Win the West Division (+550)
The Blues are in a West Division that heavily favors the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights. Considering how the Blues finished last season at the top of the Central Division with the Avalanche, +550 (bet $100 to win $550) to win the division is great odds.
While the Blues lost defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and goaltender Jake Allen to free agency, they signed defenseman Torey Krug and return most of the talent that helped win the 2019 Stanley Cup. That talent includes goaltender Jordan Binnington, center and captain Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, and many others. While the Blues might not win the division, the odds they are getting make this bet incredibly valuable considering they can be a sleeper team in a top-heavy West Division.
Calgary Flames to Win the North Division (+700)
The North Division is expected to be won by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are the betting favorite at +140. However, the division that only consists of teams from Canada is one of the more unpredictable divisions with a surplus of talent and many teams capable of finishing with the best record. The Calgary Flames can surprise many and win the division and give a great payout in the process. The Flames are led by scorers like Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau and a defense led by Mark Giordano and Rasmus Anderson, making anyone wonder why Calgary has such long odds.
Calgary for years has been regarded as a team that has talent, but with goaltending struggles that keep them in the middle of the pack. However, the Flames signing Jacob Markstrom can not only help with the goaltending history, but it can also propel the Flames to the top of the division. In 2018-19, the Flames finished with the most points in the Western Conference, and while the roster was great that season, the strong goaltending of David Rittich and Mike Smith helped put the team over the top. This season, Markstrom and Rittich look to be the duo that stabilizes the goaltending.
Make Sure You Have Fun When You Place Your Bets!
Regardless of whether you win or lose on your prop bets for the season, make sure you have fun when you place them. If you bet the over on McDavid’s points, it will only add to the excitement every time he scores. If you are a Blue Jackets fan, and you bet the over on their total points (63.5) the joy of them winning will only be amplified. Likewise if you hate the Penguins, you shouldn’t bet the over on their points total. The bottom line is that it will be fun to place some bets before the season and watch how things turn out, especially since we are getting hockey back.
Mike Fink joined The Hockey Writers in November 2020 and covers the New York Islanders. In addition to covering the Islanders, Fink writes about the NHL at large and contributes as a weekly guest to The Hockey Writers Podcast. Follow Mike on Twitter @Finks_thoughts for more Islanders and general hockey insights.