By Adrian Dater | | 4 mins
NHL Draft Betting Tips, Odds to Go No. 1 and Best Bets
This year’s NHL draft won’t have any surprises at the first two picks. American forward Jack Hughes is a lock to go first overall to the New Jersey Devils and Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko will go second to the New York Rangers. Hughes is -1000 to go first and Kakko +500. Yeah, some scouts have Kakko rated ahead of Hughes, but Hughes will go No. 1. Take that to the bank.
Where there remains plenty of suspense is who will go third and fourth and, yes, there are proposition odds available for this and some other possibilities for the draft, which begins Friday in Vancouver. Let’s look at some of the more interesting NHL betting props surrounding the draft, which runs for seven rounds in a two-day span (the first round is Friday, Rounds 2-7 are on Saturday).
Odds of Being No. 1 Overall NHL Draft Pick
|Jack Hughes||Center||5-10, 171||-1000|
|Kaapo Kakko||Right Wing||6-2, 194||+500|
|Vasily Podkolzin||Right Wing||6-1, 196||+3200|
|Bowen Byram||Defenseman||6-1, 195||+5000|
|Cole Caulfield||Right Wing||5-7, 163||+5000|
|Dylan Cozens||Center||6-3, 183||+5500|
|Alex Turcotte||Center||5-11, 186||+6000|
|Trevor Zegras||Center||6-0, 173||+7000|
|Kirby Dach||Center||6-4, 198||+7500|
|Matthew Boldy||Left Wing||6-2, 196||+8000|
Best Bets To Go Third and Fourth
At Draft Kings, there are 13 players with odds listed as the possible third overall choice. Illinois native and University of Wisconsin enrollee Alex Turcotte is the favorite, at -315 with Canadian Western Hockey League defenseman Bowen Byram at +210.
These two are almost certainly going to go third and fourth overall, but to which team is the question. The Chicago Blackhawks have the third pick, and they are a team that needs help on the blue line. Byram is the only defenseman projected by TSN draft expert Bob McKenzie to go in the top 10, and the Colorado Avalanche pick fourth.
Chicago general manager Stan Bowman and his staff drafted three defensemen in the first round the last two years, and the Blackhawks just acquired veteran D-man Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh. That has more people convinced Chicago will take Turcotte at No. 3, and I’d probably go along with that sentiment.
Byram is the favorite, at -139, to go fourth while Turcotte is +245. While Colorado already has top young defensive prospect (and fourth overall pick in 2017) Cale Makar on the roster, Byram will probably be too good to pass up. So I second these odds as well.
Bets on Total Forwards, Defense in First Round
Despite Byram being the only defenseman projected to go in the top 10, the odds are favoring at least five to either other defensemen to go in the first round. At 888Sport, the odds are -162 in favor of six to nine defensemen going in the first round, with five or fewer at +2000.
Stay with the safe play on this one. Typically, teams will go with the higher-rated defenseman than forward in the late portions of the first round.
Around the NHL Draft Boards
Here’s a really interesting prop bet available at Draft Kings too: Who will be drafted first among these five prospects: Philip Broberg (-195), Cam York (+355), Thomas Harley (+355), Victor Soderstrom (+550) or Moritz Seider (+1200)?
McKenzie has these five players projected from picks 14-18 on his list, but Soderstrom is ranked 14th, one spot ahead of Broberg. I’m certainly not one to go against Bob McKenzie on the draft, so bettors should take heed on this prop bet and take a chance on Soderstrom.