The 2020-21 NHL season is ready to get started with five games on the slate for Wednesday, Jan. 13 with the rest of the remaining teams to begin in the coming days in what should feel like a sprint all the way to the finished in shortened season. For Canadian hockey fans, this should be a compelling regular season as each Canadian team is featured inside the same division. Before we get into a betting preview for the season, here’s what the new format will look like as the league tries to get back on track after a COVID-19 impacted 2019-20 campaign.
2021 NHL season format
This season’s schedule is being impacted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that suspended the NHL season for months. The 2019-20 season shut down operations in March and returned, crowning a Stanley Cup champion in late September. Each team is scheduled to play a 56-game schedule with the the divisions split up into four groups. Teams will play only divisional games, and it was necessary to put all Canadian teams into the same division because of the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus.
The regular season is scheduled to end on May 8, and the playoffs will include 16 teams playing four rounds of best-of-seven series with the Stanley Cup expected to be awarded in July.
With all that said, here’s a betting preview for the upcoming season in the NHL.
2021 NHL season betting preview
There are tons of betting options to choose from including futures for teams and players across the NHL for bettors to track all season long. Here we will take a look at the betting favorites in the futures market to get ready for the season. All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.
Stanley Cup Champion
To win the Stanley Cup this summer, the Colorado Avalanche are the betting favorites at +650, followed by the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning at +750 to repeat. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the top Canadian team according to the oddsmakers at +800 and are tied with the Vegas Golden Knights with the third best odds. To round out the top five, the Boston Bruins check in with +1500 odds to win the championship.
The NHL is split into four divisions for this season, and here’s a look at the favorites to win each. The Bruins have +250 odds to win the East Division, while the Avalanche are at +160 to win the West. To win the Central, Tampa Bay has +125 odds, and the Maple Leafs are at +125 to take the all-Canadian North Division this season.
Hart Memorial Trophy
To win the award given to the player judged most valuable to his team, Connor McDavid is the betting favorite at +450 followed by Nathan MacKinnon at +500 and Auston Matthews with +800 odds. Leon Draisaitl checks in with the fourth best odds at +1000, and Artemi Panarin rounds out the top five at +1100.
Calder Memorial Trophy
Given to the NHL’s best rookie, there is a two-way tie at the top with Alexis Lafreniere and Igor Shestyorkin at +300, followed closely by Kirill Kaprizov at +400. Nils Hoglander has +900 odds, and Tim Stuetzle has the fifth best odds at +1000.
James Norris Memorial Trophy
Given to the best defender, Victor Hedman is the favorite with +400 odds, while Roman Josi at +600 odds and Dougie Hamilton is at +650. John Carlson has +900 odds to win the Norris Trophy with Cale Makar closing out the top five at +1100.
Jack Adams Award
The Jack Adams Award is given to the NHL’s best coach, and Jared Bednar is a slight favorite at +800 with Jon Cooper in second with +900 odds. There is a three-way tie for the third best odds at +1000 with Rod Brind’Amour, Peter DeBoer and Barry Trotz.
Given to the league’s best goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the field with +600 odds to win the Vezina Trophy, followed by at Connor Hellebuyck at +800. John Gibson and Carter Hart are tied for the fourth best odds at +1000, and Carey Price has +1100 odds to win it.