NHL Second Half Starts With Hockey Wagering Options

NHL Second Half Starts With Hockey Wagering Options
© USA Today

With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror and NHL teams back on the ice, bettors have a number of second-half options heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs that begin in a few months.

Bettors looking to wager on which team will win the Stanley Cup are given a range of choices that include the favored Colorado Avalanche at +475, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

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Other contenders at the top include three at +700: Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Vegas Golden Knights are at +800. The All-Star game last weekend was held at T-Mobile Arena, the Knights’ home near the Park MGM hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Three teams at the bottom, with odds at +10000, are the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

A long list of other bets also are available, including who will finish the season with the most goals (from Toronto’s Auston Matthews at +225 to four players at +20000).

Ontario Single-Game Betting Launches in Two Months

As wagering continues in the U.S., bettors are gearing up for the April 4 launch of single-event sports betting in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. With a population of about 15 million people, Ontario would be the fifth-largest state if it were in the U.S.

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The four most-populous U.S. states are California, Texas, Florida and New York. Of these, only New York has legal sports betting.

Maple Leafs, Canadiens on Different Paths

The NHL teams with the most points before the start of Tuesday’s league-wide games were Florida (69) and Colorado (68).

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the Canadian team with the most wins (30) and points (63).

After returning to the ice Monday following the All-Star break, Toronto defeated the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes, tweeting, “Leafs Win!!! Six Straight! #LeafsForever.”

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One of the Leafs’ longtime rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, have been on a difficult path this season, after appearing in the most recent Stanley Cup Final, dropping the series to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1.

Entering post-All-Star play, the Canadiens have the lowest win (8) and point (23) totals in the league. The storied franchise, going through a front-office shakeup and changes on the ice, has lower win and point totals than the league’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken. Seattle has 15 wins and 34 points.

In a tweet on the Canadiens’ Twitter feed this week, Brendan Gallagher offered optimism for the future.

“We need to continue to push each other, to make improvements, and have something to build on going into the summer,” he said.

NHL ‘On Target’ For Stanley Cup Playoffs

Heading into the second half, the NHL “hasn’t been perfect” this season, according to The Hockey News.

The publication notes that the league pulled out of the Winter Olympics over COVID-19 concerns and has seen its Canadian teams spend “weeks playing in empty barns” because of the pandemic.

“Multiple franchises have removed coaches and GMs in the midst of off-ice scandals, and teams are anywhere from 47.5% to 57.3% done their regular seasons based on wild differences in scheduling,” the publication reported.

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Through it all, however, the NHL “emerges from the All-Star break more or less intact and on target to hand out the Stanley Cup in late June,” according to The Hockey News. Good news for NHL betting players.

Important Dates for the NHL Season

Below are key dates from nhl.com:

  • Last day of the regular season: April 29
  • Stanley Cup playoffs begin: May 2
  • Last possible day of the Stanley Cup Final: June 30
  • NHL Draft: July 7-8 at Bell Centre in Montreal
  • Signing period for restricted and unrestricted free agents: Begins July 13
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