We’re in the final weeks of summertime and ice hockey will be back sooner than you think. It’s why we’ve gone ahead to forecast the looming 2022-23 NHL season, specifically, we’re making picks on the conference champions in the East and West. We have two bets on each side and here’s who we’re taking:
Best Bets To Win 2022 NHL Eastern Conference Title
The East is absolutely loaded. Realistically, there’s four legit contenders to earn a Stanley Cup berth from the conference. Here’s the current conference-title-winning odds available at the most-used NHL betting sites:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+400||+400|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+450||+450|
|New York Rangers||+1000||+1000|
Carolina was historically good last season. Here’s a franchise that notched a 58-19-9 record and 125 points over the course of 86 games. That sum set franchise-best marks in wins, points and win percentage — even better than its sole Stanley Cup-winning season in 2006. Of course, those franchise bests were soured in the second round of the playoffs as the Canes blew a 2-0 series lead to the Rangers in a Game 7 defeat.
There’s reason to believe Carolina has done enough over the offseason to build upon that historically-good season. The team went out and added an elite-level goal-scorer in Max Pacioretty, plus upgraded defensively with Tony DeAngelo over Brent Burns. However, in an act of bad luck, Pacioretty tore his Achilles and is expected to be out six months. The best-case scenario for the Canes is to have him back by the All-Star break.
Losing its prized offseason acquisition certainly hurts, but it’s not like Carolina can’t fill the void in the meantime. Forwards Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov will not struggle to create offense for the team. But even then, what keyed the Canes to success a year ago was elite defense and goaltending. The team allowed a meager 2.28 goals per game in 2021-22, which was fourth-least league-wide.
For us, all signs point towards Carolina taking the “next step” this season. The team is young, improved, and now more experienced to make a deep Stanley Cup playoff run, hence why we’re jumping on their betting line.
New York Rangers
We’re actually mystified that the Rangers are as long as +1000 to win the Eastern Conference. Here’s a team that posted a 110-point season and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2022 (beating the aforementioned Canes to get there but also blowing a 2-0 lead in the conference finals to the Lightning). New York has a talent-rich roster with the likes of the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin, 2021 Norris Trophy recipient Adam Fox, and a 50-goal scorer Chris Kreider, among many others. So why “only” +1000?
Welp, perhaps oddsmakers are tempering expectations because New York plays in a loaded division and conference. Getting past Carolina again in the playoffs won’t be easy, but we really feel whoever wins a possible second-round rematch would be en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s why we’re throwing money at the Rangers while they remain this undervalued betting-wise.
Best Bets To Win 2022 NHL Western Conference Title
Odds out West aren’t nearly as competitive. As you can see below, the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Avalanche, are overwhelming favorites to win the Western Conference again:
|Vegas Golden Knights||+850||+850|
|St. Louis Blues||+1400||+1400|
Zero surprise here as we’re fully in agreement with oddsmakers here: Colorado is the best team out West by a mile. This team took all of 20 games to win the Stanley Cup last year — second-fewest in league history since its expansion to seven-game series in 1987. Most of that roster will return, including the reigning Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cale Makar, a rare two-way specimen.
The major missing pieces for the Avs will be Nazem Kadri (now with the Flames) and starting goaltender and Darcy Kuemper (Capitals). In a bit of a surprise move, the organization traded for Alexandar Georgiev to replace Kuemper at net rather than promote last year’s backup Pavel Francouz.
“Running it back” is certainly easier with a fully intact roster, but what Colorado lost isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. This team is as deep as anyone in the league and play in a so-so Western Conference with no legit challengers. The Avs are a no-brainer bet here.
With our second pick out West, we specifically targeted a Pacific-division team and avoided anyone in the Central with Colorado. The Pacific is a largely suspect group of teams but among them, the Oilers are clear-cut frontrunners.
We probably don’t have to remind you that Edmonton possesses two of the best goal-creators in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl but we will anyway. Anytime you have a killer one-two punch like that, you have a chance to win, simple as that, hence this wager.
How To Bet On 2023 NHL Futures?
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