The fate of all 32 NHL franchises can possibly change come July 7 — the date of the next NHL Draft. Similarly, bettors' fates hang in the balance too because there's no shortage of prop bets available around the Draft. We've done the research and hand-picked the very best bets for the 2022 NHL Draft. Keep reading on for our expert betting advice.
NHL Draft — First Overall Pick Bet
Let's begin with the obvious bet, who goes first overall in the NHL Draft? If you ask the top online sportsbooks, it's largely a two-player choice for the top spot. Here are the current betting odds for the first pick:
The Montreal Canadiens hold the number-one pick after winning the NHL lottery, and by all intents and purposes, are not trading it away. The franchise does own another first-round pick (26th overall), which is more likely to be swapped so Montreal can get a second top-10 choice. But when it comes to the number one pick — it's either Slafkovsky or Wright.
Honestly, it's a difficult choice. Of course, Wright is the odds-on favorite per popular NHL betting sites. All year long, most scouts and fans have had Wright penciled in as the league's top prospect. However, his goal-scoring went down this year — to 32 compared to 37 the year prior — which muddled his spot slightly. Still, the center is incredibly balanced and has real two-way ability. NHL brass raves about Wright's IQ and leadership ability, making him a player that can be plugged into a team imediately.
As for Slafkovsky, welp, his upside is enormous. The left-wing power forward stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 220-pound. But being only 18 years old, it's possible that his frame gets stretched out even further — which would surely make him dangerous on the ice. Slafkovsky isn't as polished as Wright is, but his ceiling sure feels higher. The speed and offensive skills he possesses are extraordinary for his hulking size.
There's something to be said about Slafkovsky's momentum. He's ascended up the prospect pecking order after a stand-out showing at the 2022 Olympics in which he tallied seven goals in seven games — most among all players (most of which were older than him). Moreover, the performance helped earn Slovakia a bronze medal, its first men's Olympic hockey medal. Call us crazy, but we think the Habs are going with him over Wright. You can't teach his physicality, which leads us to believe Montreal decides is a differentiator.
NHL Draft — Over/Under Matthew Savoie Pick
Savoie has the fifth-best odds at going number one, however, his over/under of being picked is set at 8.5 rounds. And even then, oddsmakers have the over favored currently. Here's where the odds stand on Savoie's draft selection:
|Over 8.5 rounds||-150||-150|
|Under 8.5 rounds||+110||+110|
There might not be a more dynamic skater in the entire 2022 draft class than Savoie. Playing just one full season in the Western Hockey League, Savoie flashed with 90 points (35 goals, 55 assists) in 65 games. He's small — just 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds — but he makes up for it with speed. Savoie's explosive offensive ability and high IQ give us confidence he'll go somewhere in the top-10.
Two possible landing spots include the Red Wings at eight or Sabres at nine. Both teams could benefit greatly from Savoie's playmaking ability. Unfortunately, those draft picks are right in the middle of the over/under set by bookies.
A popular player comparison for Savoie is Brayden Point, another undersized center in his own right. The question is, do NHL teams believe Savoie can replicate Point's success? Or is Point an exception to the rule, which dooms Savoie? It could go either way, but we're betting on the former. Drafting is about hope and upside, which Savoie has an abundance of.
NHL Draft — Player To Be Drafted First
Alright, here's another head-to-head bet. Between prospects Frank Nazar and Danila Yurov, which player gets drafted first? Right now, it's an absolute dead heat at bookmakers:
Here's the scoop on each player. Center Nazar is similar to the aforementioned Savoie. His size is nothing to write home about — 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds — but the strong skating skills are apparent. This makes him a legit two-way threat. Yurov, on the other hand, is a winger that tallied 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in the MHL, Russia's junior league. Through no fault of his own, Yurov has slid down draft boards because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has made travel and in-person scouting difficult.
We sense many risk-averse NHL general managers will skip out on Yurov. Yes, he has talent, but it's not overwhelming enough to take a risk on in the first half of the draft. This should help Nazar be picked sooner, hence our bet on him.
How To Make 2022 NHL Draft Bets?
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