(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
- The NHL season starts today and our SBD Experts have their best future bets locked and loaded
- The future bets range from valuable division winners to player award winners
- See the odds and best future bets from our SBD Experts below
The hockey season is finally here as the NHL season kicks of today, January 13th, 2021, with a five-game slate. But before the puck drops on the 2021 NHL season, our SBD Experts take a crack at their best future bets.
Let’s see the picks!
SBD Staff 2021 NHL Futures Bets
|SBD Staff Member||Future Bet||Pick||Odds|
|Matt McEwan||To Win North Division||Toronto Maple Leafs||+125|
|Ryan Sura||Calder Trophy Winner||Kirill Kaprizov||+400|
|Sascha Paruk||Player Total Points||Artemi Panarin U 67.5||-112|
|Ryan Metivier||Best Finishing Position – Excluding Playoffs||Rangers ahead of Islanders and Devils||+145|
|Pete Apostolopoulos||To Make The Playoffs||Florida Panthers||+120|
|Mitch Robson||Columbus Leading Scorer||Oliver Bjorkstrand||+225|
Odds taken Jan. 13 at DraftKings
The Leafs have had big problems in the Atlantic division. The Lightning play a similar game to Toronto, but are much better at it. The Bruins play a physical style that the Leafs just cannot handle. But now Toronto is free from those teams and only playing the other Canadian teams in the league.
Off to work we go ? pic.twitter.com/yhgd9ngqI0
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 12, 2021
On paper, they’re the most skilled team in the North. The additions of TJ Brodie, Wayne Simmonds, and Joe Thornton may also finally bring a bit of grit to the team.
Even at the short price, I still think the Leafs offer value to win the North.
When you think of Kirill Kaprizov, think of Artemi Panarin 2.0. Kaprizov was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Russian native has been tearing up the KHL over the last few seasons, logging 63 goals and 113 points in 114 games over the last two seasons. Since he hasn’t played a game in the NHL, this will be considered his rookie season as a 23-year-old.
“We saw some nice things all around.”
? More from #mnwild Head Coach Dean Evason after tonight’s scrimmage. #mnwild | @usbank pic.twitter.com/QXCaeaNuuY
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) January 9, 2021
Obviously, Kaprizov will have some stiff competition for the Calder Trophy. He’ll go up against Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, Bowen Byram, and others, but he holds one big advantage; his age. Panarin had the same advantage when he won the 2016 Calder Trophy scoring 77 points in 80 games.
In a 56-game season, Panarin would have to average 1.2 points per game to hit 68 points. The Rangers star has done this once in his five-year career. It was last season, his first as a Ranger, but there are a number of plausible ways in which he stays under.
One year ago today, Artemi Panarin became one of us.
And we were never the same. ? pic.twitter.com/hHTwwDvfM8
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 1, 2020
Importantly, there is no obvious stipulation on the wager that players play a certain number of games. In a season that is likely to be impacted by COVID-19 in numerous ways, unders (both player points and team points) offer better value.
I’m throwing down with the Rangers to finish above their New York rivals the islanders, as well as the Devils this season. The Rangers are favored over both in the NHL East Division odds. They also have the top two favorites to win the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year in Alexis Lafreniere and Igor Shesterkin. Much will be expected from Shesterkin as he assumes the number one spot in goal. He was 10-2-0, 2.52 GAA and .932 save-percentage in his starts last season.
Igor Shesterkin (10-2-0) became the sixth goaltender in NHL history to earn 10 wins in his first 12 appearances. The others:
Frederik Andersen (2013-14)
Bob Mason (1983-84 – 1984-85)
Bob Froese (1982-83)
Wayne Thomas (1972-73 – 1973-74)
Frank Brimsek (1938-39)#NHLStats pic.twitter.com/TzUzArJPv8
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 11, 2020
New York struggled against both Boston and Philly, losing all six meetings last season. But against the rest of the teams they’ll be playing in the newly-formed East Division they were a solid 9-4-0 (including 3-1-0 vs NYI and 2-2-0 vs NJ). The Rangers’ best run of the season saw them win nine of ten in February, and either Shesterkin or Alexander Georgiev played each of those games.
If the Rangers improve on defense/goaltending (tied-eighth-most goals allowed) and can replicate a similar showing on offense (fifth overall in scoring) they should be a good bet in this prop. They look to be in good shape on the offensive side of the ice with the likes of Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and co.
The Panthers have been in the playoff mix each of the last few seasons, but haven’t gotten over the hump. That all could change with some favorable realignment for the Panthers. Now freed from Boston, Tampa, and Toronto taking seemingly “automatic” playoff spots, things will be a little more wide-open, for a team that loves to play that way.
The first question that comes up for the Panthers has, and will remain to be, their goaltending. Sergei Babrovsky is one of the highest-paid players in the league and coming off his worst season as a pro. Bobrovsky has had a stellar career, and is a former Vezna winner. With the beating he’s taken from fans and media over the last year, I’m betting he’ll be focused and ready to prove some people wrong.
The key here for the Panthers will be balance. They have a great leader and an elite 2-way player in Aleksander Barkov, and a more than formidable cast around him to get into the playoffs. The pieces are there, and their re-aligned division has a grouping of Carolina, Columbus, Nashville and Florida battling for 2 spots behind Tampa and Dallas.
Assuming one of the finals teams has a hangover season, that could even make it three spots depending on how bad they got. If they do end up making the jump, look-out in the playoffs, because if Bob is playing well and a consistent offense is in-front of him, this team can be very very dangerous.
Not only is Bjorkstrand coming off a breakout season of 21 Goals in 49 Games, but the favourite Pierre-Luc Dubois remains desiring a trade from Columbus.
Bjorkstrand missed the end of last season with surgery on his ankle, but recorded 30 points in 30 games before the injury. Bjorkstrand should get first line minutes alongside Dubois as well as increased time on the Blue Jackets powerplay.
Note that he was scoring at a 35 goal pace averaging under 18 minutes a night without substantial powerplay usage last season, but saw his usage trend closer to 20 minutes at the end of his season, coinciding with the 30 points in his last 30 games. Dubois amidst a trade request, distraction and the fact he has never scored more than 61 points in a season there is a huge opportunity for Bjorkstrand to lead the Jackets in scoring.