Drop the NHL puck.
New Jersey online sports bettors prepare for a quick professional hockey turnaround as the NHL resumes its 82-game season Oct. 12.
It’s barely three months since the Tampa Bay Lightning won their second straight Stanley Cup, beating the Montreal Canadiens.
That was on July 7, right before … ah yes, the MLB All-Star break. The pandemic made last season run long and this season appear almost immediately.
Even in the short term, much has changed. The league will return to full attendance, giving teams a home-ice advantage again.
The NHL also welcomes a new team, the Seattle Kraken. They will debut Oct. 12 in Las Vegas.
On the NJ NHL betting front, the most popular teams, the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders return to familiar territory in the Metropolitan Division.
All 32 teams will be part of a 1,312-game regular-season schedule – 82 games per club – that will conclude Friday, April 29.
With that in mind, it’s time to ponder NHL Stanley Cup futures.
2021-22 Stanley Cup odds at NJ sportsbooks
What are the NJ NHL odds telling us?
The Islanders, the only team to reach the postseason last year, are getting the most betting respect. The Rangers are getting more than one might expect in light of their absence from the playoffs last year. The Flyers and Devils are not gaining much wagering support.
League-wide, the major teams’ bettors expect near the top of the pack are there. The Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Tampa Bay Lightning comprise the elite tier.
Between now and Friday, April 29 when the regular season concludes, bettors will see plenty of odds movement. This is a good time to consider futures bets because the odds on most teams will diminish over time.
The Vegas Knights were +50000 (500-1) to win the Stanley Cup in their first year. They lost in the finals, but what a ride for the bettors.
NHL bets available at NJ online sportsbooks
Here’s an interesting new wager: DraftKings Sportsbook has introduced a division-winner parlay. Hook up two winning teams from different divisions and it’s a two-leg parlay. The Islanders and Tampa Bay, for instance, would return +1100 if they each seized their division.
The bet is noteworthy because it can return a sizable price by combining two high-level teams.
Caesars Sportsbook also has an extensive hockey board. It has listed numerous individual award winners along with Stanley Cup futures. Bettors can find what stands out to them and play. It boosts different teams at different times.
Here’s an overview of the teams New Jersey bettors watch most.
Will Philadelphia’s defense improve?
The Flyers’ odds have a relatively high bar at 92.5 points at DraftKings. The over-under is -110 both ways.
What kind of a number is 92.5 points? The Flyers had 82 a couple of seasons back, the last time the league tabulated 82 games.
The expectation seems a little out of line with Philadelphia’s remote odds to capture the division or conference. Under bettors will give this a good look.
One key number summarizes the Flyers from last year: 201. It’s not an area code, it’s the number of goals they surrendered, the most in hockey. All of hockey.
Philadelphia addressed that by picking up defensive-minded Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Keith Yandle. Philadelphia hopes this trio relieves some of the pressure off of goalie Carter Hart, who slumped to 3.67 in a down year.
Included in the team’s late-season slide was a 9-0 loss to the Rangers.
Offensive names to watch include Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, and Joel Farabee, who led them with 20 goals last year.
New York Rangers have a change behind the bench
The Rangers have a new coach in Gerard Gallant. They fired David Quinn after the team did not make the playoffs last year. Gallant coached the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup finals in their first season.
The Rangers have been in a rebuild for the last three years and have proclaimed this is the year they must make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They have good offensive players like Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Panarin had 58 points last year, which round rounds out to near 90 in this full season. Zibanejad led the team with 24 tallies, putting him in the 35-goal neighborhood for this year.
For those thinking about betting on the Rangers, DraftKings established props for Zibanejad. It’s over-under 37.5 goals for -115 either way.
The props up on most players are a guide to what pace they should be on all year and could be a guide to forecast slumps or surges. But they don’t constitute great wagering deals in and of themselves.
The Rangers, like many New York teams, have a high profile and garner a lot of betting money. There also is immense pressure in the Big Apple, which leads to under-performance.
In the off-season, they added more toughness to combat physical teams.
They signed Barclay Goodrow, who won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning two years ago as a third-line defensive specialist.
They added Ryan Reaves, who played for Vegas when it reached the Cup finals a couple of seasons back.
Sammy Bias, a strong forechecker, was on the St. Louis Blues team that won the 2019 Stanley Cup.
New York Islanders: Trying to build on postseason magic
Although they grabbed the final playoff spot, the Islanders stunned the heavily-favored Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins in six games last year. They won three overtime games in this span and captured both Game 5’s on the road, snapping 2-2 series deadlocks.
They showed mettle against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Lightning. The Isles were blown out 8-0 in Game 5, but rallied to win Game 6 and only lost the deciding game 1-0.
Semyon Varlamov played the best hockey of his career, leading the Islanders in the postseason.
Their key players include Matthew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, and Anthony Beauvillier. They are an excellent skating team.
The new arena may take the enthusiasm to a new level. As far as what it all means for Islanders odds at NJ sportsbooks is TBD.
New Jersey Devils still looking up at the pack
The Devils odds of winning are once again not looking very promising.
They finished 11 games below .500 last season but played a spoiler role down the stretch.
Their top players from last year were Pavel Zacha, Jack Hughes, and Yegor Sharangovich.
Not a bad nucleus and Lindy Ruff is a good coach.
Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood can play with the best on given nights. But be wary of any season-long props on him. Blackwood is not vaccinated and could miss several games, including when the team plays in Canada.
AP Photo/Bruce Bennett