Hockey is officially back! Kicking off the season earlier this week, that means NHL betting is back too. If you’re looking for the best bet to place, here are two to get in on as the 2021-22 season begins.
The NHL regular season (debuted) on Tuesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins, then the Seattle Kraken play their first-ever game at the Vegas Golden Knights.
DraftKings Sportsbook features a wide range of futures wagers, including Stanley Cup, conference and division winners, in addition to division winner parlays and whether a team will record a 100-point season or make the playoffs. Bettors can also place action on the regular season point total for each team on the over or under.
For you NHL betting players out there, here are some wagers we see worth targeting this season.
Stanley Cup Winner: Colorado Avalanche +475
Taking the favorite can seem like the easy way out, but if it hits, who cares? I reside in Colorado and the sense of urgency around the Avs getting over the hump is palpable in any conversation or story you read about the team.
Colorado is coming off three consecutive heartbreaking second-round losses. The Avalanche fell in Game 7 to San Jose in 2019, in overtime of Game 7 to Dallas in 2020, then squandered a 2-0 series lead against the Golden Knights last season, losing the series in six games.
The team has endured exponential playoff grief, and this might be the last shot for the majority of its core. Colorado has 10 pending unrestricted free agents after this season, including their entire second line of Valeri Nichushkin, Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, in addition to both goalies, Jonas Johansson and Darcy Kuemper.
The Avs also have the luxury of featuring one of the most talented front lines of Gabe Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. MacKinnon (+650) and Rantanen (+1900) are among the favorites for the Hart Trophy. Colorado also has an established group of young defensemen with Cale Makar, Sam Girard and Bowen Byram.
Colorado has the talent, experience and motivation to avenge its recent playoff issues. There will be a sense of urgency with pending moves set to happen if the team fails to get it done in 2021-22, making them a worthy Stanley Cup betting futures play to make.
Hart Trophy: Nikita Kucherov +1200 (But probably Connor McDavid)
I already suggested the favorite to hoist the Stanley Cup, so I won’t do that with Oilers star Connor McDavid, who will likely win the Hart Trophy for the third time.
McDavid is coming off a historic season, recording 33 goals and 105 points in 56 games. He received all 100 first-place votes for the Hart Trophy, becoming the first to do so since Wayne Gretzky in 1982. The forward’s 105 points were 21 more than the next person. McDavid turns 25 this season and is in his prime. Barring injury, it’s hard to envision him not winning the award. But when you’re looking for a good hockey betting wager to make, it’s hard to advocate taking a futures bet at +200, so we’re going to go with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.
In his last full regular season, 2018-19, Kucherov tallied 128 points and was an easy choice for the Hart Trophy in 2019. Kucherov missed all of last year’s regular season before returning to the playoffs and scoring 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 23 games, keying the Lightning to their second straight Stanley Cup title.
Given his recent form and how likely Tampa Bay is to duplicate its success during the regular season, a shot at Kucherov’s +1200 odds may be worth it.