7 Great NHL Prop Bets for 2019-20 Season You Should Back
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The 103rd season of the NHL begins next week and picking favorites for almost anything won’t be easy. This is a league, after all, which had the top four ranked playoff teams all upset in the first round by the bottom four in April. This is a league in which, the year before, an expansion team came within two wins of a Stanley Cup its first season.
That has become part of the NHL’s marketing appeal for many. You never know what might happen.
But there are some things we think will happen, things that might be worth an NHL betting proposition wager. Here are seven of them. Keep in mind: Prop bets are where you want to take more of a “what the heck?” longshot attitude. Consider these strong NHL value bets.
Best NHL Prop Bets for 2019-20
|P. Kane to win Richard Trophy||+2000|
|E. Karlsson to win Norris Trophy||+1000|
|B. Bishop to win Vezina Trophy||+800|
|J. Quenneville to win Adams Award||+900|
|K. Kakko to win Calder Trophy||+200|
|N. Kucherov to lead NHL in assists||+450|
|M. Zibanejad top Swedish scorer||+425|
The odds listed are current as of publication but subject to change. Click here for NHL futures betting odds.
PICK 1: Patrick Kane To Win Rocket Richard Trophy (Most Goals)
Some people take a look at Patrick Kane’s age (31 in November) and think, “Well, he must be on the downward slope.” No. Kane has been getting more prolific as he ages.
He is coming off the highest-scoring season (44 goals, 110 points) of his 12-year career. I don’t foresee any slowing down for 2019-20.
Kane has yet to crack the 50-goal mark of what figures to be a Hall of Fame career. I say this is the year. At +2000 at BetMGM, I think he’s a good bargain as a prop bet. Alex Ovechkin is the favorite, at +700, and it’s a tough call to bet against him. But at those odds, Kane is a solid pick.
PICK 2: Erik Karlsson To Win Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)
This award almost never goes to the purely best defensive defenseman, but rather the highest-scoring defenseman.
Newly healthy again after some nagging injuries the last couple years, Erik Karlsson is therefore a good bet to win the Norris, which would be his third. At +1000 at DraftKings, Karlsson is third, behind only San Jose Sharks teammate Brent Burns (+600) and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman (+800) to win the trophy.
Karlsson’s health will be the key. He has had foot and groin issues in the past, and those can come back at any time. Here’s betting he’ll have a healthy year and be back to his old self.
PICK 3: Ben Bishop To Win Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie)
He led the NHL in saves percentage last season (.934) but lost the Vezina to Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. It’s no surprise that Vasilevskiy is again the Vezina favorite (+550 at DraftKings), but I’m going with Bishop this time at +800.
Bishop should have a better team defensively in front of him. He’s 6 feet 7 and plays with a bit of a mean streak. He is intimidating to opponents, in other words. His health can be iffy at times, but I believe Bishop will have another top-notch year in Dallas.
PICK 4: Joel Quenneville To Win Jack Adams Award (Coach)
He missed most of last season after the Chicago Blackhawks fired him, but Quenneville is back in the league with the Florida Panthers.
Quenneville has had only one losing season in his long coaching career, and I don’t expect a second this season. Quenneville has a lot of talent to work with in Florida. The Panthers have good, young forwards, a young, mobile defense and a new No. 1 goalie in free-agent signee Sergei Bobrovsky.
At +900, Quenneville has better odds than anyone except John Hynes in New Jersey (+750) at BetMGM. The year off and new team presumably has Quenneville hungry again. He commands respect in the dressing room and is just the kind of coach the Panthers needed. This award traditionally goes to first-year coaches who have a surprise team, and that makes Coach Q an even better bet.
PICK 5: Kaapo Kakko To Win Calder Trophy (Best Rookie)
This should be a great race. Jack Hughes, the No. 1 overall draft pick for New Jersey, is +200 to win the Calder at DraftKings. Kakko went second overall, to the Rangers, and he too is +200 to win. I go with Kakko. I think he’ll play more top-six minutes than Hughes and put up more points.
Colorado’s Cale Makar is very tough to overlook at +400. He’s going to be a potential Norris Trophy winner at some point. But forwards most often win Calders so I think Kakko gets the nod. He has real-deal skill and, because he has played in the Finnish pro league, the step up in competition level will not be as steep.
PICK 6: Nikita Kucherov, Most Assists
He had the most helpers of any player last season (87), so we’re not going out on any skinny limb here.
The Tampa Bay Lightning forward is not the favorite to win this title, though, at 888sport. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is +350. No doubt McDavid will be up there, but coming off of summer knee surgery, and without the kind of talent around him that Kucherov has, I think the better bet is Kucherov at +450.
Kucherov has so many other talented guys to pass to on the power play. That’s where I think Kucherov will separate himself from the helper pack.
PICK 7: Mika Zibanejad Top Swedish Point Scorer (Regular Season)
Vancouver super sophomore Elias Pettersson is the favorite at 888Sport, at +250, to be the Swede who puts up the most points in the regular season.
My money is on Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers, at +425. Why? Because this is a guy who put up 74 points last season without Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko on the roster. Zibanejad, the Rangers’ first-line center, will now have Panarin on his left wing. Kakko, the second overall pick in the 2019 draft, is expected to start the season at right wing on the second line.
But it probably won’t be long before Kakko gets on that top line. Plus, Zibanejad is likely to play with both players on the first power-play unit.
Nicklas Backstrom is second on the 888 prop list at +400, but take Zibanejad for the higher payout. A top line, eventually, of Panarin-Zibanejad-Kakko is downright frightening to consider.