The status of the 2019-20 NHL season is still up in the air, but the latest has the season resuming sometime in July with the Stanley Cup awarded sometime in September. With the layoff, apparent favorites might not be the best NHL Playoff bets anymore. There could also be a few surprises.
Should the NHL resume in July, it’s a good time to re-examine your NHL futures betting strategy. The extended layoff is going to help teams get healthy, which opens up some new value wagers.
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Boston Still the Favorite at +550
The Boston Bruins were on a roll before the season was suspended. Boston had won 16 of its last 20 games, had the most wins in the league (44), and a league-best 100 points.
Momentum is a big deal in sports, especially when you have to grind through an 82-game season.
Still, Boston are still the Stanley Cup favorite, with oddsmakers expecting them to get back to the finals, and win it this time. The Bruins lost in seven games to St. Louis last season.
Goalie Tuukka Rask leads the NHL in goals against average (2.12) and David Pastrnak is having the best season of his young career with 48 goals and 95 points.
Speaking of Momentum
The Bruins weren’t the only NHL team on a hot streak pre-COVID-19.
The Philadelphia Flyers were having one of their best seasons in recent memory. The Flyers were 19-6-1 in the 25 games prior to the season being suspended.
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Philadelphia is 41-21-7 and in second place in the Metropolitan Division ahead of rival Pittsburgh. The Flyers are just one point behind Washington (41-20-8) in the division race.
Value Play #1
One team that will benefit greatly as a result of the coronavirus, and one to consider when having NHL betting discussions, is Colorado.
Prior to the season pause, the Avalanche were playing without their best players – Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. In addition, Colorado was missing Joonas Donskoi, Andre Burakovsky, Phillipp Grubauer, and Nazem Kadri.
Mackinnon is fifth in the NHL in scoring with 35 goals and 93 points. Rantanen is also a prolific scorer but injuries have allowed him to play in just 42 games.
When Rantanen went down in February with a back injury, it was reported that he would be out for “weeks.” With ample recovery time, Rantanen will be ready to resume play in July. He has 19 goals and 41 points so far this season.
Burakovsky is the Avalanche’s third-leading scorer with 20 goals and 45 points. With so many pieces of the Colorado puzzle back in action, betting on the Avs to win this year’s Stanley Cup at +650 makes a ton of sense.
Value Play #2
A five-game winning streak in the latter half of January moved the Vancouver Canucks odds to win the Stanley Cup to +1500. Then, a knee injury to goaltender Jacob Markstrom led to disaster. Since the win streak, the Canucks have just six wins in 17 games.
The coronavirus epidemic that shut down the 2019-20 season is the best gift Vancouver could have received. Markstrom, who is 23-16-4 with a .918 save percentage on the season, has had plenty of time recover from a minor procedure on an injured knee.
With the Canucks at +2800 to win the Stanley Cup, a small wager could payoff big. J.T. Miller (72 points) and Elias Pettersson (66 points) have each scored 27 goals this season and the Canucks have two more 20-goals scorers in C Bo Horvat (22) and LW Tanner Pearson (21).
Vancouver owns the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL Western Conference right now. It’s a great position to be in. Remember the 2019 playoffs? All four wild cards won their first-round playoff series and one advanced to its conference final.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.