The NHL season begins today!
Sure, we only get a couple of games in the Czech Republic between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators with the rest of the teams starting up next week, but at least it's regular season hockey!
Now is your last chance to bet on some futures, so I'm going to give you my favorite bets here. Fade or tail, these are the best I've got! Best of luck with your bets this NHL season.
NHL Regular Season Predictions and Best Bets
Calgary Flames to Win Stanley Cup (+1800)
The Calgary Flames ran into some goaltending problems that caused an early exit in last year's playoffs, but I firmly believe they'll be in contention once again. They were the best defensive team in the Western Conference last season, and they match up well stylistically with the Colorado Avalanche.
If Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri can give them a boost on offense, I think the Flames provide the best betting value in the NHL to win the Stanley Cup.
Jonathan Huberdeau to Win Hart Trophy (+1600)
Speaking of Jonathan Huberdeau, he's my favorite bet to win the Hart Trophy this season. He finished fifth in voting last season, totaling 115 points throughout the season, which tied for the second most in the NHL.
He's now on a new team, the Calgary Flames, where he'll be the focal point of their offense. If his production takes one more step forward, he'll be amongst the favorites to win the award be season's end.
Auston Matthews to Win Rocket Richard Trophy (+230)
There's no voting involved in the "Rocket" Richard Trophy, it simply goes to the player who scores the most goals throughout the season. I'm going to keep this one simple, and take Auston Matthews at +230.
He's won the award in back-to-back years, and seeing repeat winners for this Trophy is the norm in the NHL. For example, Alexander Ovechkin won it nine times between 2007-2019. Matthews racked up 60 goals last season, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. He's the favorite, but for good reason.
Juuse Saros to Win Vezina Trophy (+1000)
Juuse Saros finished third in Vezina Trophy voting last season, but yet he's set at 10/1 to win it this season. The advantage he has over goaltenders like Igor Shesterkin and New York Islanders, is that he has a better defense in front of him.
Shesterkin and Sorokin averaged around nine high danger scoring chances against them per 60 minutes of play. While they thrived in those situations last season, it's going to be hard to repeat that success. Meanwhile, Saros only saw 7.81 high danger scoring chances per 60 minutes of play. Fewer high danger scoring chances will do nothing but help him against his competition for the award. I love his odds to win at +1000.
Los Angeles Kings OVER 95.5 Points (-113)
The Kings did all the hard stuff right last season, and all the easy stuff wrong. They ranked 4th in the entire league in CORSI%, but dead last in shooting percentage. If they can find the back of the net on a little bit more of a regular basis, they’re going to surpass what they did last year when they got 99 points.
I’m banking on their new addition, Kevin Fiala from the Wild, to provide them with a much-needed boost in the scoring department.
They also play in by far the weakest division in the NHL, the Pacific, which will do nothing but help them.
Vegas Golden Knights UNDER 97.5 Points (-113)
People are used to the Golden Knights being a good team, but they need to stop that assumption. In the expansion draft a few years ago, Vegas clearly built its roster to be a “win now” squad. Well, the “now” has come and gone and the team is starting to suffer from that strategy.
The Golden Knights traded a ton of pieces last year for Jack Eichel, and it did not pay off in the second half of the season. I don’t have faith it will this year either.
They were terrible defensively in the 2021-2022 camapgin, ranking 25th in high danger scoring chances allowed, and they didn’t do anything to address that need.
You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.