The start of the new NHL season is just around the corner. The 2021 campaign begins next Tuesday, Oct. 12, and West Virginia sportsbooks are ready for the puck to drop.
This season is back to hockey’s regular ways, where every team plays 82 regular-season games. Last year consisted of only 56 contests because of the late start caused by COVID-19 precautions.
It also looked a bit different than normal seasons because the league was forced to realign the different divisions. Instead of playing everyone in the league, teams only faced other opponents within the same grouping.
This was created in part because of Canada’s travel restrictions, so each of the Canadian squads didn’t need to leave the country.
Fortunately, things are back to normal this year, and teams will return to playing in their familiar divisions in the Eastern and Western conferences.
There is one new wrinkle to this season, though. The league expanded again and is debuting its newest NHL franchise in the Seattle Kraken.
The 32nd team in the league will join the Pacific, along with the recently introduced Las Vegas Knights.
Naturally, the two sides will get together for the nightcap on the opening evening. Seattle and Vegas will tangle following the matchup between defending champion Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.
Let’s examine the upcoming NHL season and see what the futures odds look like at WV online sportsbooks.
Stanley Cup Futures At WV Sportsbooks
Despite winning the last two Stanley Cup Finals, the Lightning aren’t the favorites entering this new year. According to DraftKings WV Sportsbook, that honor belongs to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Aves were among the top teams in terms of the odds a year ago, but this season, they’re the clear-cut No. 1. DraftKings shows them available at +475 going into the first week.
Colorado’s season ended short a year ago when it lost to Vegas in six games in the second round. It was unfortunate that these two had to battle one another at that point in the playoffs, seeing how they tied for the most points during the regular season.
However, the new postseason alignment put divisional teams together and gave us this series a little early.
The Knights weren’t able to advance further, as they fell to Montreal as massive favorites in the semifinals.
While they haven’t taken the next step in actually hoisting the Stanley Cup, it’s clear they’re one of the best in the NHL. Vegas reached the conference finals in three of its first four years since joining in 2017.
DraftKings lists the Golden Knights as tied for the second-best odds to win it all at +700. They’re tied with Tampa Bay.
The only other team within odds of +1000 is Toronto at +900. The Maple Leafs once again disappointed their faithful fans with a poor showing in the postseason. They fell to Montreal in seven games after building a 3-1 lead.
There’s no question about the Leafs’ talent, but they haven’t escaped the first round in any of the last five seasons.
The next tier features two more from the East in the Bruins and Islanders. These two actually met in the second round a season ago, with New York prevailing in six.
The online sportsbook shows Boston listed at +1300, compared to the Isles at +1500.
There are several other contenders within range. DraftKings currently has the following odds:
- Florida Panthers +1800
- Edmonton Oilers +2000
- New York Rangers +2200
- Minnesota Wild +2500
- Carolina Hurricanes +2500
- Pittsburgh Penguins +2500
Betting On NHL Player Awards
Besides wagering on some team futures, there are plenty of player futures as well.
At FanDuel WV, bettors can put some action down on seven different awards handed out at the end of the season. The most popular market among these is usually the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s MVP each year.
Anyone can win this, but it’s no surprise that Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is favored. At the moment, FanDuel is offering him at +250 to take home the Hart.
McDavid won it last season and is in the conversation for the best player basically every year. The 24-year-old owns two Harts and has also won the Art Ross Trophy (most points) three times. Even in a shortened season, he led all others by recording 105 points last year.
Although McDavid is the favorite, there hasn’t been a repeat winner for MVP since Alexander Ovechkin in 2007 and 2008.
FanDuel has Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon not far behind in second with odds of +600. He is a big part of why the Avalanche are the top side to take the title.
MacKinnon produced 65 points a season ago, which was good enough to place him in the top 10.
While your team’s success isn’t completely tied to the award, players for average teams don’t usually win the Hart. A quality seed as well as a great year statistically could help out someone like MacKinnon.
The other top candidate at FanDuel is Toronto’s Auston Matthews. He’s available to bet on at +900.
The center is one of his team’s leaders, and for good reason. Matthews scored more goals than anyone in hockey with 41 and finished tied for the top five in points.
These three are in great positions to succeed, but with so many skilled players throughout the NHL, this is anyone’s trophy to win.
The online sportsbook shows the following players in contention to take the 2021 Hart Memorial:
- Nikita Kucherov +1900
- Artemi Panarin +2000
- David Pastrnak +2300
- Leon Draisaitl +2300
- Andrei Vasilevskiy +2300
- Brayden Point +2700
- Mitchell Marner +2900