Valuable 2018-19 NHL Futures Bets
The National Hockey League is unique. Unlike most other major sports, nearly every team has a shot at making the playoffs. And once you’re in the postseason, literally anything can happen on the ice. It’s one of the true beauties of the NHL. Parity reigns and there are always many surprises. The NHL season gets underway on October 3rd and I’m going to identify a few futures bets that I feel have some value right now.
Let’s start with Stanley Cup odds. There are two teams that I think have some legitimate value if you can find the right price. The first is the Anaheim Ducks, who check in around 35-1 depending on which book you use. The Ducks are an aging team whose window is closing. But it’s not shut yet. With guys like Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg up front, they certainly have the firepower. Goaltender John Gibson is one of the most underrated netminders in the game and can carry the team at times – including during the playoffs. Gibson turned in a fantastic .926 save percentage last season in 60 games. Backup Ryan Miller can also step in and keep the Ducks in any game. The Pacific Division isn’t going to be easy to navigate this season, but the Ducks will certainly be in the thick of things. There’s value if you can find a price of 30-1 or better.
The other team that I think has some value in the current price range is the Edmonton Oilers (60-1). It was a nightmarish 2017-18 season for the Oilers, who finished sixth in the Pacific Division with just 78 points. They were the darling of Stanley Cup predictions coming into last year and not much has changed with their roster this season. They were hurt by extremely poor special teams (31st on the power play and not a whole lot better on the penalty kill). But those numbers usually regress towards the mean in the following season, so we should see a lot of improvement there for the Oilers. We haven’t even mentioned that Edmonton has the best player in the NHL in Connor McDavid. The 21-year old phenom is a wizard with the puck and he’s only going to get better, which is scary. Cam Talbot had a tough season in goal but he was great between the pipes two seasons ago. If he can bounce back, the Oilers have a great shot at making the postseason. You can also find Edmonton at odds of around 15-1 to win the Pacific, which is enticing.
Let’s shift gears to regular season point totals. The Nashville Predators had a disappointing playoff exit last year to the Winnipeg Jets in seven games. They racked up 117 points during the regular season and return almost their entire roster. Defenseman Ryan Ellis missed nearly half of the regular season and he’s back healthy, which is a huge bonus. This team is built on speed and that’s crucial in today’s NHL game. The regular season point total is hovering around 105 at most books and I think there’s value on the OVER. I don’t see a huge drop off from the Preds and the usual Central Division stalwarts Chicago and St. Louis are clearly down.
The other regular season point total play I like is the UNDER for the Ottawa Senators (69.5 points). This team is going to be dreadful this season. They were already going to have a tough time, then they traded away Erik Karlsson to the Sharks before he became a free agent. It was a good long-term move for the club, but losing the heart and soul of your team doesn’t bode well when you only managed 67 points the season before. The Sens are fielding two backup goaltenders and lack any scoring punch up front. One of their only big threats offensively, Bobby Ryan, has been a big disappointment the last two seasons and could be jettisoned soon as well. Ottawa is determined to go younger so this team will clearly have some major bumps in the road this season. They likely will also be trading away any useful veterans at the deadline to contending teams. It’s going to be ugly this season in Ottawa and I don’t see them getting to 70 points. Play the UNDER.
Here’s a quick recap of the four NHL futures bets for the upcoming NHL season:
Anaheim Ducks 35-1 to win the Stanley Cup
Edmonton Oilers 60-1 to win the Stanley Cup
Nashville Predators OVER 105 regular season points
Ottawa Senators UNDER 69.5 regular season points
Remember that the NHL season is about as unpredictable as any, which is part of the fun. It’s always wise to keep one eye on the Stanley Cup futures throughout the season as oddsmakers are sometimes slow to adjust. It was only a season ago that you could have jumped on the Vegas Golden Knights at 500-1 to win the Stanley Cup. And even after an impressive first month of the season, they could still be found at odds of around 80-1. The Knights obviously didn’t do it, but you could have locked in quite the profit at steep odds like that with a hedge bet. Who will be this season’s surprise team?
Handicapper Eric Waz is fired up for the 2018-19 NHL season, which gets underway on Wednesday, October 3rd. The NHL markets are softer than other sports and Waz knows how to take full advantage. Get on board with a winning hockey bettor today.