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Betting Odds and Picks For 2019 NHL Draft
Just because the Stanley Cup playoff chase is over doesn’t mean you can’t bet on the NHL anymore. We’re on to the NHL Entry Draft, which happens this Friday and Saturday. Here’s a bettor’s guide to the event, which will shape the league for years to come!
Still recovering from an unbelievable NHL postseason that included a historic meltdown (Tampa Lightning) and an even more historic turnaround (St. Louis Blues going from worst to Stanley Cup champions)? Yep, well so are we.
Nonetheless, it's time to shift our attention to the 2019 Entry Draft taking place on June 21. Online sportsbooks have betting lines out for who will be the first pick in the 2019 NHL Draft:
- Jack Hughes (-1200)
- Kaappo Kakko (+600)
Let's dive into the bet and what more you can expect from the NHL Draft!
Ending the Hughes-Kakko Debate Once And For All
Typically, rookie drafts have one transcendental, can't-miss prospect. We're seeing that this year in the NBA with Zion Williamson. But what if there's two? That's the lucky predicament the New Jersey Devils finds themselves in.
Despite slim NHL Draft lottery odds, the Devils won the coveted top pick this past April. Since then, it's been a nonstop debate between pundits whether Hughes or Kakko should go one, with heavy support on both sides.
Kakko's draft stock became scorching hot after a show-stealing performance at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. The 18-year-old spurred Finland to a championship with six goals in ten games. This came on top of a gold-medal-winning performance at World Juniors before that.
By most accounts, a 6-foot-2 scorer that's proven himself over and over again internationally would be a lock at one, but not this year.
Kakko can thank Hughes for that. The 18-year-old has everything you want in a forward — tremendous ice vision, speed, and just a knack for making game-changing plays. Heck, hockey even runs through his DNA.
His dad, Jim, is a former player turned Boston Bruins assistant coach. Even mom played the sport collegiately.
And if we're being perfectly honest, there might be some bias at play here, too. For all of Kakko's dominance overseas, Hughes has shined right in NHL scouts' backyard.
Plucked out of Orlando of all places, he came up the ranks through USA Hockey's own National Development Talent Program. Matter of fact, Hughes holds the program record for points with 228 over his career.
Hughes ascent rivals Patrick Kane, another NDTP product who went first overall in 2007. Like Kane, Hughes' stature — 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds — has come into question. Obviously, Kane's size has done little to hold him back from league-wide success, setting a precedent that Hughes can now revel in.
Hughes is the easy bet to make here. We know the odds are steep, but bet what you have on Hughes to go first because this kid is the real deal.
How Does The Rest of The Draft Shake Out?
Let's rewind back to April. NHL draft lottery 2019 odds proved meaningless as the Rangers and Blackhawks weazled their way into the top-three pecking order. New York had the sixth-best chance to win the entire lottery, yet landed at No. 2. Chicago's odds were even worse at twelfth but somehow leapfrogged into the third spot.
The flip-flopping pushed Colorado and Los Angeles three spots down. Both had the one and two best chances to pick first but ended up at fourth and fifth after all. Chaos indeed.
It's almost a foregone conclusion that the Rangers will pick the "silver medalist" between Hughes and Kakko. As we've discussed, that should be the Finland phenom — cue the career-long narrative of Kakko playing with a chip on his shoulder for being picked after Hughes.
If you find any sort of betting line for the two selection, you can confidently bet on Kakko being the pick.
Worth noting for non-NHL-savvy bettors, lottery outcomes only apply to the first round. The remaining rounds revert back to the regular-season standings as teams that finished the year with the lowest point total pick first and so on.
Where and How Can I Watch?
Whereas the NBA Draft will receive nonstop coverage on ESPN, the NHL Entry Draft flies more under the radar inside the United States. Regardless, there are multiple options to view the event live.
The most simple way is through the NBC Sports Network, which will televise the first round on Friday, June 21. Coverage begins at 8 pm EST that day. Day two of the event, which included rounds two through seven, will air on the NHL Network starting at 1 pm EST.
Cord-cutters, fear not, because streaming avenues exist, as well. Both the NBC Sports app and fuboTV will stream the NHL Draft both days.
Now that you know what to expect on draft day and how to watch it, all that's left is to lock in a bet. One of our partners below has all your hockey wagering needs — from draft day to the regular season to the Stanley Cup playoffs and all the way back to odds NHL draft lottery!
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
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