2022-23 NHL Betting Guide
2022-23 NHL Betting Guide
The NHL season is here and the penultimate bet for any fan or expert bettor is the futures bet on the Stanley Cup Champion. After all, that’s the bet to make ahead of the season and watch as the team slowly but surely sees their team makes a run at the Cup and wins it. Unlike the other major sports, the Stanley Cup winner is unpredictable and the hardest to bet on confidently. With that said, many teams have great odds entering the season and could provide great payouts by the season’s end.
Check out WinnersandWhiners.com and Stat Stalt.com for our daily NHL selections all year long.
(The odds are courtesy of Vegasinsider and are subject to change.)
Picks to Win the 2022-23 Stanley Cup
The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup last season in a display of pure dominance. They finished the season with a 56-19-7 to earn the top seed in the Western Conference and with a 16-4 record in the playoffs, won the Cup for the first time since 2001. By all means, the Cup is theirs to lose as they return the core of stars from last year in forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen, along with reigning Conn Smythe (Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP) and Norris (best defenseman) Trophy winner Cale Makar.
The team has the star power and overall talent to win the Stanley Cup again. The only question mark is in the net, with Darcy Kuemper leaving in free agency and being replaced by Alexandar Georgiev, a young goaltender coming off a rough year with the New York Rangers. The other possible issue is the depth of the roster, especially after middle six center Nazem Kadri left in free agency. The Avalanche are the favorites and don’t have the best odds as a result but they are a bet worth considering.
Other notable favorites
Toronto Maple Leafs (+800) - They haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, the longest drought in the NHL. They haven’t advanced past the First Round in the playoffs since 2004. However, they have the reigning Hart Trophy winner (MVP) in Auston Matthews and a talented roster surrounding him. You can bet against bad luck… if you want.
Florida Panthers (+1000) - The Panthers won the President's Trophy last year with the best record in the NHL. While the team is slightly different, having traded away Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar for Matthew Tkachuk, the familiar faces look to make them one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference this season, led by Anthony Duclair, Alexsander Barkov, and Aaron Ekblad. The question is, was last season the ceiling for the Panthers or a step in the right direction?
Carolina Hurricanes (+1000) - With a 54-20-8 record last year, the Hurricanes finished the season with the best record in the Metropolitan Division. The team was led by a dominant defense carried by Jaccob Slavin and Brady Skjei, as well as a dynamic goaltending duo in Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The roster went through slight changes but overall, the Hurricanes still look to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
A real dark horse bet is the Los Angeles Kings. Last season, they surprised everyone by making the playoffs with a 44-27-11 record and then in the First Round, pushed the Edmonton Oilers to the brink, forcing a Game Seven. The Kings have a young and talented roster with a mix of veterans that include Anze Kopitar, Philip Danault, and Jonathan Quick. Moreover, they made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by acquiring Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild, adding an elite scoring presence to their offense. The Kings are a team that can take a massive leap this year and easily compete for the Stanley Cup making them a great dark horse bet.
Other notable dark horses
St. Louis Blues (+3000) - The Blues took the Avalanche to six games in the Second Round last year. While the roster is older, the star players like Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, and David Perron are still around and they all have Stanley Cup experience from the 2019 run, making this team a viable contender this year.
New York Islanders (+3300) - The Islanders reached the semifinals in 2020 and 2021 but in both years, they were eliminated by the eventual champ the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders missed the playoffs last year but look to bounce back with a great defense and one of the best young goaltenders in the game in Ilya Sorokin. Under a new head coach, they can possibly get over the hump this year and win the title.
You can look at last season in two ways. Either the Oilers reaching the Western Conference Final was a fluke and a lot had to go right for them to even be there (only to get swept by the Avalanche) or this is the new normal. I’m more inclined to say the latter, especially when both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are on the roster, two of the top five best players in the NHL. Furthermore, the Oilers' weakness last year was in the net, and in the offseason, they went out and acquired Jack Campbell from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Oilers finally enter the season with a complete team and I see them finally getting the Stanley Cup Final and winning it, giving McDavid his much-deserved title.
2022-23 Divisional Winners
There are many future wagers for fans and bettors alike to consider, highlighted by the Stanley Cup bets ahead of the season. However, for those that want to take a safer bet that is more likely to hit, the best option is division winners.
While some divisions look easy to predict and are rather chalked up for fans and experts, there is a handful that provides excellent odds. Of the four divisions, there are plenty that provides great payouts ahead of the season and can end up being valuable wagers.
The Favorite: Toronto Maple Leafs (+200)
The Maple Leafs enter the season with arguably the best roster in the Eastern Conference. Auston Matthews won the Hart Trophy last year with his 60-goal season and he leads an offense that is looking to build off a year where they scored 3.80 goals per game, second0most in the NHL. The Maple Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967 but that doesn’t mean they aren’t an intriguing bet to take the division. However, bettors have to be cautious about them not only because of their odds but the division altogether, looks much improved from last year and can cause them to slip up.
The Darkhorse: Ottawa Senators (+2500)
The Senators enter the season as arguably the most improved team in the NHL. In the offseason, they acquired forwards Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux to join a young core of scorers that includes Tim Stutzle, Drake Batherson, and Josh Norris, while also adding goaltender Cam Talbot who provides stability in the net. The Senators still have question marks, specifically, did they improve a defense that allowed 3.22 goals per game last year? They haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2016-17 season but as long shots, they can not only take a big leap this year but win the division and provide great odds in the process.
My Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning (+250)
There’s a strong argument that the Lightning in recent seasons have played well in the regular season and then kicked things into another gear during the playoffs. In the past three seasons, they have appeared in the Stanley Cup Final and won the Stanley Cup twice but failed to win the division each time. That being said, I like the core that the Lightning possesses, highlighted by Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov at the forward position with Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev on the defense, and world-class goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy rounding out the roster. The Atlantic Division is going to be a tough one to win but the elite players look to carry Tampa throughout the year to help them take the division by the end of the season.
The Favorite: Carolina Hurricanes (+195)
The Hurricanes won the division last year with a 54-20-8 record, led by the league’s best defense that allowed only 2.44 goals per game. They return most of their key players from last year including Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov in the forward unit and Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei, and Brett Pesce on the defense, making them one of the best teams in the division and the entire NHL heading into the season. The problem with the Hurricanes this year is their depth, specifically in the defense where they lost Anthony DeAngelo and Ian Cole and acquired Brent Burns who at 37 years old is past his best years. They look to be in the mix for the division but considering the odds, and the other teams in the division, they aren’t a favorable bet per se.
The Darkhorse: Columbus Blue Jackets (+4000)
This is a real long-shot bet. However, the Blue Jackets are an intriguing wager largely because of the promising roster they possess. Patrik Laine, Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic, and Cole Sillinger already provided the team with a potent and deep forward unit but then they added arguably the best scorer in free agency, signing Johnny Gaudreau, who scored 40 goals and 75 assists last year, to a seven-year deal. The defense which allowed 3.62 goals per game last season, is still a large question mark, but the Blue Jackets are the team that can surprise everyone to take the division, providing excellent odds in the process.
My Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins (+325)
The Penguins finished last season in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 46-25-11 record. Despite entering the offseason with a handful of free agents, the front office managed to return a handful of their core players including Bryan Rust, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin. As a result, I see them piling on the wins with a veteran roster that has great chemistry playing well throughout the season. Furthermore, the top line of Rust, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel is arguably the best in the NHL and looks to overwhelm opponents and carry an offense that scored 3.28 goals per game last year. The Penguins might not be the most exciting bet but I like them to win the division in another great regular season.
The Favorite: Colorado Avalanche (-165)
The Central Division and Stanley Cup winners from last year, understandably are unquestioned favorites in their division. The Avalanche return arguably the league’s most talented roster headlined by Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen in the forward group while reigning Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar leads the defense. The Avalanche don’t have great odds to win the division as the heavy favorite and they have to replace starting goaltender Darcy Keumper and center Nazem Kadri from last year’s team but it’s still their division to lose.
The Darkhorse: St. Louis Blues (+1000)
I was surprised to see the Blues as long shots to win the division. They finished in third place in the division last year with a 49-22-11 and advanced to the Second Round in the playoffs before losing to the Avalanche in six games. The Blues return a talented roster in all three units and considering the odds they are receiving, they are a great bet to surprise everyone and take the division in another successful season.
My Bet: Colorado Avalanche (-165)
It’s hard to bet on the unquestioned favorite. However, it’s hard to avoid the Avalanche and simply chalk it up with the Central Division. The core that carried the offense which scored 3.76 goals per game remains intact while Cale Makar, who had a career year last year, is only getting better heading into his 24-year-old season. The team might have lost its starting goaltender from last year but they added Alexandar Georgiev in the offseason who will split starts with Pavel Francouz, providing them with consistent play in the net. This division is theirs to lose and expect the Avalanche to once again dominate the rest of their divisional opponents.
The Favorite: Edmonton Oilers (+200)
The Oilers reached the Western Conference Final last year and with two of the best players in the game on their team in both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, there’s a lot of optimism heading into the season. Furthermore, after struggling in the net last year, the front office added goaltender Jack Campbell who is coming off a year where he had a .914 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average on 1430 shots. The Oilers look like one of the Pacific Division’s best teams but the question mark about them is if their defense can hold up throughout the season as they allowed 3.06 goals per game last year and have to replace veteran Duncan Keith at the blue line, who retired this offseason.
The Darkhorse: Vancouver Canucks (+1100)
The Canucks missed the playoffs last year with a 40-30-12 record but after they change head coaches, hiring Bruce Boudreau, they were one of the best teams in the Pacific Division, going 32-15-10 under Boudreau. There’s a lot of optimism surrounding the Canucks this year and after an offseason where they kept their key player together, notably Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, and JT Miller in the forward unit, they look to be one of the best teams in the division this year. With a talented roster, the Canucks have incredible odds to win the Pacific Division, making them one of my favorite bets entering the season.
My Bet: Calgary Flames (+275)
The Flames won the division last year and had one of the most chaotic offseasons but ultimately, are entering the offseason with a stronger roster. The team lost Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk in the offseason but added forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar in a trade while signing Nazem Kadri late in the summer. With a talented roster across the board, I see the Flames as the most complete team in the Pacific Division that will only improve off a year where they allowed 2.51 goals per game and fueled by a dominant defense will easily win the division.
2022-23 Picks for NHL Individual Awards
Among the futures bets for fans to consider, one of the ones that provide great odds, even for the favorites in the Vezina Trophy. The Vezina is awarded to the best goaltender every season in the regular season making for an interesting wager for NHL bettors. The award has been given to nine different goaltenders in each of the past nine seasons and as a result, some goaltenders enter the year as under-the-radar candidates but can provide great payouts.
Last year’s winner. Igor Shesterkin had a remarkable 2021-22 season as he put together a .935 Save Percentage and a 2.07 Goals-Against Average on 1622 shots. He also helped carry the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons and also allowed them to reach the Eastern Conference Final where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
Shesterkin remains the favorite largely because he has proven that he is one of the best young goaltenders in the NHL and at 26 years old, he is poised to only improve. For bettors, however, Shesterkin is a goaltender to avoid. While his +250 odds aren’t bad for a favorite, it’s unlikely he will repeat, considering the last goaltender to do so was Martin Brodeur in 2008. Furthermore, there are a lot of talented goaltenders in the league that look poised to win the award and, in the process, provide better odds.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (+500)
The last time Vasilevskiy won the Vezina was in 2019 but he is regarded by many as the best goaltender in the NHL, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2020 and 2021. He’s a favorable bet as a consistent finalist and a strong bet to consider but a down year after years of excellence can and will cost him.
Ilya Sorokin (+800)
The New York Islanders starting goaltender burst onto the scene last year and established himself as one of the best young goaltenders in the game. Sorokin is a favorable bet but this will be only his third season in the NHL and along with last year being an outlier, bettors have to be cautious of the Islanders who missed the playoffs last year.
Juuse Saros (+1000)
Saros has been one of the NHL’s best goaltenders in recent seasons and has often carried the Nashville Predators. Saros can easily be a finalist and possibly win the award but on the Predators, he has to hope the team takes a step forward. Furthermore, Roman Josi is on the defense and a favorite to win the Norris Trophy (awarded to the best defenseman) and a big year from him could take away votes from Saros.
Connor Hellebuyck won the Vezina Trophy in the 2019-20 season that was cut short because of the pandemic. Hellebuyck plays on a Winnipeg Jets team that has been declining for a few seasons and missed the playoffs altogether last year but he remains one of the league’s best goaltenders. While his stats aren’t as favorable as others in the league, he faces more shots and takes on a more significant workload than any other goaltender in the game, leading the NHL in shots faced in each of the last four seasons.
With the Jets expected to finish near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, Hellebuyck doesn’t appear to be a great bet. However, this can be the season where he not only carries the Jets to the playoffs but reminds fans why he is one of the league’s best goaltenders, specifically improving from a 2.97 Goal-Against Average last year, which was the worst of his career. At +2000, Hellebuyck is one of the great bets for the Vezina Trophy considering his talent.
Jacob Markstrom was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season, finishing in second place as part of a big year for the Calgary Flames. Yes, at 32 years old there is a concern about a decline after a career year, he could struggle this season. However, with the Flames entering the season with a well-rounded roster and a strong defense, Markstrom is built to have another strong season in the net. Furthermore, the veteran goaltender looks to get enough starts and a strong workload to make him undeniably one of the best starters in the game. With a lot of uncertainty entering the season, Markstrom is a great bet to win the Vezina Trophy and it’s honestly a bit surprising he has +2000 odds.
Norris Trophy Odds
One of the futures that are intriguing is the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the defenseman who “demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position” (source: NHL.com). While the Norris Trophy used to be awarded frequently to some of the greats including Bobby Orr (eight-time winner), Niklas Lidstrom (seven-time winner), and Ray Bourque (five-time winner), recent years have seen multiple winners. In fact, the past 10 seasons have seen 10 different defensemen take home the award. As a result, bettors can find great odds on some of the sleeper candidates and take advantage of the unpredictability.
So, let’s look at some of the best bets for the award. Odds are courtesy of Vegasinsider.com and are subject to change.
The Favorite: Cale Makar +125
The Norris is Cale Makar’s trophy to lose. At 23 years old, the top defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche had a career year scoring 28 goals and 58 assists along with 6.8 defensive point shares and 110 blocked shots to not only win the Norris Trophy but lead the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup and take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the best player in the playoffs. With Makar continuing to play at an elite level in all three zones as part of a dominant team, it’s easy to see him winning the award for the second season in a row. As the unquestioned favorite, it’s easy to see the intrigue with betting on Makar to repeat, after all, he is only entering the prime of his career. However, for bettors, he isn’t receiving great odds or a great payout at +125 (a $100 bet returning only $225). For an award as unpredictable as the Norris, it’s a more valuable bet to find one of the other elite defensemen with the hope that they can similarly have a great season
Adam Fox (+800)
The 2020-21 winner, the New York Rangers top defenseman continues to play at an elite level. While Fox is a threat on the offensive end of the ice, he isn't a goal-scorer, scoring only 11 goals last year and five in his Norris-winning season, and that can hurt him in the eyes of the voters.
Victor Hedman (+800)
Arguably the most accomplished defenseman in the NHL currently. Hedman won the Norris Trophy in the 2017-18 season and helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in both 2020 and 2021 (winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2020 in the process). Hedman is one of the best in the NHL but he has finished as a finalist in the last four seasons and at 31 years old, could be on the decline.
Roman Josi (+800)
Josi won the Norris Trophy in 2019-20 and finished as the runner-up to Makar last season. After a year where he scored 23 goals and 73 assists to carry the Nashville Predators' offense, it’s easy to see him in the running again. However, like Hedman, Josi is entering the season at 32 years old and an off-year will derail the hopes of his second Norris.
The Dark Horse: Quinn Hughes +2200
There are a handful of longshot candidates that can have a big year and win the award. However, Quinn Hughes has a strong avenue for not only putting up a great season with the Vancouver Canucks but taking home the Norris Trophy as well. The Canucks were one of the best teams in the NHL in the second half of last season, going 32-15-10 since hiring Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. After acquiring Ilya Mikheyev and Curtis Lazar along with extending JT Miller, the Canucks look poised to take a big leap in the Pacific Division, helping Hughes in the eyes of many voters. Furthermore, Hughes is coming off the best year of his career, scoring eight goals and 60 assists while contributing 5.0 defensive point shares and 56 blocked shots on the defensive end of the ice and taking on the top pair role in the defensive unit. The 22-year-old Hughes looks to take another step forward and join the elite group of young defensemen in the NHL. For the odds that he’s receiving, he is the best defenseman to bet on. Hughes can put together the best season for a defenseman and on a great Canucks team, making him a compelling option for bettors.
Why I’m betting on Roman Josi +800
Yes, the favorite is Cale Makar and it’s his trophy to lose. However, I see Roman Josi as the best option to jump ahead of him and win the Norris this year. Last season, he finished second place in the voting for the award and there was a strong argument for him to win it, making this year one to watch for the veteran defenseman. While he’s 32 years old, I see Josi building off last season instead of declining. Expect him to continue to contribute to the offensive end of the ice but with a Predators forward unit that looks better from last season with the addition of Nino Niederreiter and Filip Forsberg being re-signed to an eight-year deal. Moreover, Josi looks to build off a season where he had 5.2 defensive point shares and continue to force turnovers on the defensive end of the ice and start up the offense for the team. I like Josi to win the Norris in a close vote with a strong payout at +800 in the process.
Hart Trophy Odds
The Hart Trophy is awarded at the end of the season to the league's MVP and is an interesting wager, to say the least. Many view the Hart as a two players race between Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, regarded by many as the two best players in the game. As a result, the odds are shifted accordingly. However, the Hart Trophy isn’t as predictable as many except, specifically with five players winning the award in the last six years and nine winners taking home the trophy in the last 10 years. So, let’s look at the possible frontrunners to win the Hart Trophy but also find some skaters that can provide great payouts and are good bets ahead of the season.
The Favorite: Connor McDavid (+250)
Connor McDavid has established himself as arguably the best player of this generation. He’s won the Hart Trophy twice including the 2020-21 season where he scored 105 points in only 56 games played to win the award with a unanimous vote. Additionally, the Edmonton Oilers’ best player has scored 30 or more goals in each of his last six seasons in the league while also adding 60 points or more, making him an annual 100-point player.
McDavid enters the season as the unquestioned favorite but bettors will understandably proceed with caution in terms of betting on him. For starters, there is a lot of voter fatigue with the game's best player, and voters are more winning to give the award to a player that has a similarly successful season. Likewise, many bettors believe that he only won the award in the 2020-21 season by having a career year and playing at an unprecedented level. To a point, if you bet on him, you are betting on a historic season which is possible but not the best thing to bet on, especially considering the payout.
Auston Matthews (+500)
Last year’s Hart Trophy winner after scoring a league-leading 60 goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Matthews is arguably the best goal scorer in the NHL and looks poised to have another big season and a great Maple Leafs team. However, like McDavid, he is one of the favorites that doesn’t provide great odds, and similarly, voters will look elsewhere unless he replicates or even betters his success from last year.
Leon Draisaitl (+850)
The 2019-20 winner who often is overshadowed by his Oilers teammate McDavid but is regarded as one of the game’s best. Draisaitl is a strong favorite bet but playing on the same team as McDavid comes with its consequences, notably as he plays second fiddle and is seen as the team’s second-best player.
Nathan MacKinnon (+1200)
Nathan MacKinnon is one of the best players in the NHL on one of the league's best teams the Colorado Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup last season. MacKinnon has entered the past three seasons poised to win the Hart Trophy but injuries or slow stretches have left him as a finalist but never the winner. This could be the year that he wins the Hart on a great team and is one of the best bets as a possible favorite. The only negative for him entering this season is simply, that he’s a great player on a star-studded team, making many voters question how valuable he is.
The Darkhorse: Johnny Gaudreau (+4000)
I was surprised to see Johnny Gaudreau have long odds considering he is coming off a career year, scoring 40 goals and 75 assists. Gaudreau was the best player entering free agency and left the Calgary Flames to join the Columbus Blue Jackets on a seven-year deal. Understandably, this has bettors concerned as a player is in a new setting and entering a season with a lot of unpredictability. However, this is a player that provides great odds and is slated for a big year with his new team.
A bet on Gaudreau is a bet on two things, his new team taking a big step forward and the player continuing to play on a high level. The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs last season but had one of the league’s best offenses, averaging 3.15 goals per game and after a big offseason, they look to compete in the Metropolitan Division this season. Furthermore, Gaudreau looks to build off his big year and thrive alongside elite forwards like Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner. This is the darkhorse bet to consider with a lot of things expected to swing in the star scorer's favor.
Other Darkhorse Players to Consider
Cale Makar (+1400)
Cale Makar is coming off a career year with the Avalanche where he won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman while also winning the Conn Smythe trophy as he helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup title. Makar has established himself as one of the best young players in the game and could easily take another step forward and win the Hart. However, the last defenseman to win the award was Chris Pronger in 2000 and the rarity of someone at his position winning alone makes him a risky bet.
Jonathan Huberdeau (+2200)
Along the same lines as Gaudreau, Jonathan Huberdeau was traded to the Flames this offseason, and the new setting has bettors cautious. However, Huberdeau is looking to prove that last season, where he scored 30 goals and 80 assists, wasn’t a fluke. Playing on a strong Flames roster, he can have a big year, win the award, and provide great odds in the process.
Igor Shesterkin (+2500)
Similar to Makar, Igor Shesterkin won the Vezina Trophy and is one of the best, if not the best goaltender in the NHL. He was a Hart finalist last year and could take that step forward. However, the last goaltender to win the award was in 2015, and replicating success from the position is a taller task, making Shesterkin a risky but intriguing darkhorse bet.
Why I’m betting on Kirill Kaprizov (+1400)
In only his third year in the NHL, Kirill Kaprizov has made his mark as a star. Last year, Kaprizov scored 47 goals and 61 assists to help the Minnesota Wild finish the season with the second-best record in the Central Division. Along with the great odds he’s receiving, expect him to take another big step in a strong season for the Wild. Furthermore, as a complete player, I like the 25-year-old forward to only build off last season and possibly finish the year as the leading goalscorer and among the best in points, allowing voters to make him the 2023 Hart Trophy winner.