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Early NHL Betting Season Losing Games to COVID-19

Nolan Patrick 2017 NHL Entry Draft top pick by Sports betting sites

Like the NBA, the NHL is no longer in a bubble. And the NFL never was, and Super Bowl LV is on the horizon. But the NHL did realign its divisions in an effort to reduce travel, and hopefully, reduce the number of positive COVID-19 tests for the 2021 season. So far, though, it hasn’t had the desired result.

The Dallas Stars had their first four games postponed because of 17 positive tests among players and coaches, and the rescheduling of those games has pushed the end of the regular season back two days. This week, the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning all had to add players to the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.

It’s already a short season, and as we continue to press on in the wake of the post-Christmas COVID-19 wave, there will be more interruptions and pauses in the schedule. So what will that do to the final standings? How might that change the end of season awards?

Regular Season Most Points

This online sportsbook has set the odds on several season prop and futures bets, including which team will win the President’s Trophy with the most regular-season points:

Colorado Avalanche+650
Las Vegas Golden Knights+750
Tampa Bay Lightning+750
Boston Bruins+1000
Toronto Maple Leafs+1000
Carolina Hurricanes+1200
St. Louis Blues+1400

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The Bruins finished the 2020 season with a league-high 100 points and are in the mix again this season. The Blues were second overall with 94 points, which was good for tops in Western Conference.

The favorite is the Colorado Avalanche. They had 92 points a season ago and made it to the second round of the playoffs. Along with being the favorite to finish with the most regular-season points, the Avalanche are the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

Regular Season Least Points

If you don’t want to bet on the best NHL team this season, you can instead bet on the team to finish the regular season at the very bottom of the standings:

Detroit Red Wings+400
Chicago Blackhawks+700
Los Angeles Kings+700
Ottawa Senators+750
New Jersey Devils+900

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Detroit didn’t even qualify for the playoff bubble in 2020. Neither did the Kings, Senators, or Devils.

Chicago actually made it past the qualifying round with a 3-1 series win over Edmonton. But with mainstay goalie Corey Crawford moving to the Devils, then retiring, the Blackhawks will be much worse this year.
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner (Regular-Season MVP).

With only 56 games on the schedule, the competition for the regular-season MVP will be more intense than usual:

Connor McDavid+385
Nathan MacKinnon+485
Artemi Panarin+900
Auston Matthews+900
Leon Draisaiti+1000

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Leon Draisaiti led the league in assists and points last season and was named the winner of the Hart Trophy. It was his second straight season with more than 100 points. Draisaiti’s teammate in Edmonton, Connor McDavid, is the favorite to win, according to online betting odds.

If the Avalanche do, in fact, finish the season with the most points, it will be because their 25-year-old captain, Nathan MacKinnon, has played an MVP-caliber season. He finished second in voting last year.