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NHL 2021 Season Betting Preview & Odds: wide open league could give value bettors big oppotunity

Author: AmericanGambler1234 | Last Updated: January 1, 2021

Here is a quick question for everyone reading this NGL betting guide for the 2021 season, with odds and previews.

NHL Season Set To Open Jan 13th 2021.

The NHL will launch its COVID-19 delayed regular season on Jan. 13th. The season will be shortened to 56 games in length from its normal tenure of 82 games.

Divisions have been realigned to accommodate less travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. Teams will only play games against other teams within their own division. The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs, with the first two rounds of postseason play all taking place as intra-divisional series to determine the four division champions.

DrafKings has established the Colorado Avalanche as the +600 favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup. The defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning are next at +750, even though they’ve already announced the absence of 2018-19 Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov due to a hip injury for the entire season. 

The Vegas Golden Knights (+900) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+1150) are other top contenders in the Stanley Cup odds. The Dallas Stars, last season’s Stanley Cup finalists, are at odds of +2500 to win it all this season. 

PointsBet pegs the Detroit Red Wings (+30000) as the longest shot to win the Stanley Cup

NHL 2021 Betting Guide

Which team won the Stanley Cup in 2020, and which was the team that lost in the final?

Did you have to Google it?

If you said Tampa Bay beat Dallas to win its second Stanley Cup, you were correct. The National Hockey League playoffs last season were interesting, to say the least, after the season resumed from its long COVID-19 break.

There was a new qualifying round, with the teams that finished fifth through 12th in each conference, as well as a seeding round for the teams that finished first through fourth in each conference. By the time the two leagues got it down to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, there was just one team left that was not in the top four seeds, the New York Islanders. But they fell to Tampa Bay, and the Lightning ended up dispatching the Stars four games to two in the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL 2021 Divisional Realignment

The regrouping of the NHL’s four divisions includes the North Division, which in fact consists of all seven Canadian franchises – the Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators. BetMGM lists the Maple Leafs as the +190 chalk to rule over the North. 

The East Division consists of the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. The Bruins are +250 favorites to win the East.

In the West Division, the Avalanche, Golden Knights, St. Louis Blues, Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks will battle it out. The Avs are given +150 odds to top this group.

Finally, the Central Division is composed of the Lightning, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators. Tampa Bay is given a +135 betting line to win this division.

Hart Trophy

The leading sportsbooks are divided when it comes to a Hart Trophy favorite. DraftKings is going with Oilers captain Connor McDavid. The 2016-17 winner of the award is listed at +450. FanDual also likes McDavid as their chalk at +460.

BetMGM is leading toward a first-time winner, Avs captain Nathan MacKinnon. He’s at +500 atop the odds board in their Hart Trophy future book.  

Norris Trophy

When it comes to the NHL’s top defenseman, BetMGM favors Victor Hedman of the Lightning at odds of +400 to regain the award he won in 2017-18. DraftKings also likes Hedman at +400. 

Hedman is also the chalk at FanDuel, but bettors can access favorite’s odds of +550 through this sportsbook. 

Vezina Trophy

DraftKings likes Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning to be the NHL’s top goalie for the second time in three seasons. He’s at odds of +650. FanDuel puts Vasilevskiy atop the leaderboard at +600.

BetMGM is listing Vasilevskiy and reigning Vezina holder Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets as co-favorites at a betting line of +700.

Art Ross Trophy

McDavid is BetMGM’s chalk to lead the NHL in scoring for the third time in his career. He’s at +300. DraftKings also favors McDavid at odds of +350. 

Calder Trophy

At DraftKings, New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shersterkin is the slight favorite over his teammate forward Alexis Lafreniere to earn the NHL’s rookie of the year award. Shesterkin, who displayed great promise during a late-season recall to the NHL, is at odds of +250. Lafreniere, the first player chosen in the 2020 NHL entry draft, can be had at a betting line of +300. 

Minnesota Wild left-winger Kirill Kaprizov (+450) and Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stuetzle (+900) are the other leading contenders.

PointsBet lists Lafreniere (+250) as the chalk over Shesterkin (+350).

Rocket Richard Trophy

Auston Matthews (+450) of the Leafs is the chalk at BetMGM to lead the NHL in goal scoring. Nine-time winner Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals (+600) is next in this betting market, followed by Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers at +900.

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So the Lightning come into 2021 as the defending champions (and very high up in the futures odds), but this is going to be a different kind of campaign for teams all around the league. Gone (for now) is the longer season, replaced with a 56-game sprint which opens on January 13 with five games, including Tampa Bay lifting its banner to the rafters as the middle game of a tripleheader on NBCSN and

Gone are the old divisions for 2021, to try to minimize travel for the teams. For now, the 31 teams are split into four divisions: North (all seven Canadian teams), West (eight teams west of the Mississippi River), East (Northeast teams), and Central (every other team). The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs, which will start on May 11, and end by July 9.

So, how can you use this new format for your wagers on the NHL?

For one, you are going to get pretty good odds on some of the divisional winner futures odds.

Let’s look at each division, with odds to win from PointsBet.

West Division

  • Colorado Avalanche (+160)
  • Vegas Golden Knights (+185)
  • St. Louis Blues (+550)
  • Arizona Coyotes (+1100
  • Minnesota Wild (+1200)
  • San Jose Sharks (+1300)
  • Anaheim Ducks (+1500)
  • Los Angeles Kings (+1500)

If you think either Vegas or Colorado (who by the way are two of the top three favorites to win the Stanley Cup) is going to win the division, you can double down and take both. For example, if you bet $1,000 on both, you are either winning $1,600 or $1,850, as long as one of them wins. 

North Division

  • Toronto Maple Leafs (+145)
  • Edmonton Oilers (+310)
  • Vancouver Canucks (+600)
  • Montreal Canadiens (+650)
  • Calgary Flames (+700)
  • Winnipeg Jets (+700)
  • Ottawa Senators (+5000)

All the Canadian teams in one division? Fans have been waiting for this for a long time. Toronto is obviously the favorite, but could Edmonton pull out a championship?

East Division

  • Boston Bruins (+250)
  • Philadelphia Flyers (+300)
  • Pittsburgh PeNguins (+450)
  • New York Rangers (+600)
  • Washington Capitals (+600)
  • New York Islanders (+750)
  • Buffalo Sabres (+1500)
  • New Jersey Devils (+1500)

Could this be the most balanced division? Remember, the Flyers were the top seed last year, after Boston had the best regular season, but it was the Islanders that played in the Eastern Conference Final after beating Washington and Philadelphia. This is a real toss-up.

Central Division

  • Tampa Bay Lightning (+150)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (+400)
  • Dallas Stars (+400)
  • Nashville Predators (+650)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (+800)
  • Florida Panthers (+900)
  • Chicago Blackhawks (+1200)
  • Detroit Red Wings (+4000)

Both Stanley Cup finalists in the same division? Wow. Carolina is tough, as are Nashville and Columbus. Tampa is the favorite, but this division could be fun.

Top eight odds to win Stanley Cup 2021

  • Colorado (+700)
  • Tampa Bay (+800)
  • Vegas (+800)
  • Boston Bruins (+1300)
  • Toronto (+1500)
  • Philadelphia (+1600)
  • Pittsburgh (+2000)
  • St. Louis (+2000)

Look at the value! Any team you take, if it hits, is going to pay in a big way. Can Tampa Bay repeat? Is it finally Gritty’s year with the Flyers? 

Top five odds to win Hart Trophy

  • Nathan Mackinnon (+600)
  • Connor McDavid (+600)
  • Artemi Panarin (+800)
  • Nikita Kucherov (+1200)
  • Leon Draisaitl (+1200)

Draisaitl swept the awards last season, winning the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP), Art Ross Trophy (110 points, only player with 100+ points), and the Ted Lindsay Trophy (Player-voted Player of the Year). If you think he can repeat the feat with the Oilers, you are getting great value. Mackinnon finished second last year, and Panarin third.