2023-24 NHL Season Preview - Stanley Cup Playoffs, Awards, Picks & Predictions

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There’s a reason why ice hockey has a reputation for being one of the most intense sports in the world. Each team ices five players and a goalie including three forwards (one centre and two wingers) and two defencemen.

Three 20-minute periods are played, and the team with the most goals at the end of regulation time is declared the winner. If the score remains tied after 60 minutes, a five-minute sudden death overtime is played to determine the winner. If that doesn’t settle anything, teams then engage in a shootout.

With the NHL preseason drawing to a close and the 2023-24 NHL season fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to get in on the action. Will a Canadian team finally make a deep playoff run and win the Stanley Cup for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens last did it in 1993?

With so much excitement on the horizon, the betting opportunities are plentiful. Use this as your go-to sports betting guide and stay in the know. Without further ado, let’s preview the upcoming season.

NHL Season Overview & Schedule

A tripleheader of games kicks off upcoming regular season play on Tuesday October 10th. One of the featured games is a late-night finale between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken – beginning with a banner raising ceremony to commemorate Vegas’ Stanley Cup championship last season.

Per usual, the 2023-24 NHL season will see each team play out an 82-game schedule (1,312 games in total) concluding on Thursday April 18th, 2024.

Notable NHL Games

Throughout this year’s campaign, there will be a few different outdoor games. The first of these events – aka the 2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic – will be held on Sunday October 29th at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The Calgary Flames will be coming to town for a classic ‘Battle of Alberta’ matchup – always a thrilling spectacle.

In November, the NHL will also be sending four teams to play four regular-season games in Stockholm, Sweden including the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Each game will take place at Avicii Arena from Thursday the 16th until Sunday the 19th.

Another notable outdoor game is the 2024 Discover NHL Winter Classic, taking place on New Year’s Day (Monday January 1st, 2024) as it usually has since the inaugural event in 2008. This game, like opening night, will feature a matchup between the Golden Knights and the Kraken at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

The Stanley Cup playoffs schedule is not yet known, but it will start fairly soon after the season concludes on April 18th. The NHL postseason typically lasts for around two months, culminating at some point in early-mid June.

NHL Season Predictions – Top Teams & Players

One of the biggest stories heading into the season is the professional hockey debut of Chicago Blackhawks’ forward Connor Bedard.

After putting up historic numbers and selling out stadiums in junior, Bedard was taken first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft and projects to be one of the biggest stars the game has ever seen. Needless to say, he’s been a popular outrights (futures) betting option with many wagering on his ability to easily surpass the over/under on his projected goals and points totals.

Popular Western Conference Outrights Bets

Other popular outrights bets include Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP, with other dark horse picks like Sidney Crosby also generating some buzz. McDavid has won three Harts in the last seven seasons; however he’s never won it in two straight seasons. Will this be the year he does?

On the team side of things, there’s a lot of value to be found in outrights bets concerning division winners. For example, the defending-champion Golden Knights are among the favourites to win the Pacific Division.

That being said, there are several young teams right on the brink including the Oilers and the Flames. Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Los Angeles Kings are also firmly in the mix, and have the depth to be a problem if the goaltending holds.

Popular Eastern Conference Outrights Bets

In the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic Division is wide open with several teams recovering from early-season injuries to key players including the Steven Stamkos-led Tampa Bay Lightning. The John Tavares-led Leafs are certainly early favourites, but could there be a usurper?

For example, former top pick Owen Power is part of a formidable blue line that could see the Buffalo Sabres make a serious run. Across the other Ontario-US border lies the Detroit Red Wings, looking to become a playoff team following the addition of impact forward Alex DeBrincat.

The Metropolitan Division will also be an interesting watch. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, the New Jersey Devils, and the New York Rangers figure to be locks for the postseason. Other teams, like the Philadelphia Flyers, are still looking to find stable footing for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown. The Flyers were on an incredibly hot streak led by high-pedigree goaltender Carter Hart going in March 2020, but haven’t looked the same since.

Other oft-bottom dwellers like the Columbus Blue Jackets may be in tough to finish in the top-three, but perhaps a wild card spot is at play following several solid additions including Damon Severson and Ivan Provorov on the blue line. If not, they could absolutely be sellers at the trade deadline. But the core is young, and it’s hard to estimate the team’s potential. A long-shot bet on Columbus to make the playoffs could return serious dividends if it came to fruition.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Picks & Predictions

The 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs is sure to be one for the books. Vegas has a strong chance to repeat, with other conference powerhouses like the Oilers and the Dallas Stars hoping to get revenge.

Cup Favourites

The Colorado Avalanche will definitely be searching for the promised land once again, fighting painful memories of being upset by the Kraken in seven games during last year’s opening round. Perhaps this demise will lead to a discount on an outrights bet on the Avs as this year’s Cup champions. After all, the team is only two years removed from its last championship.

The east is also filled with teams starving for playoff wins. As many know, Toronto has been the epitome of a playoff-choking team but the path to success is a little less difficult this time around. Home-ice advantage, and even a division win, are on the table.

Boston and Tampa Bay have both taken steps back, as has Florida but not to the same degree. Notably, the Bolts will be without star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for at least the first two months of the season. Will they still be able to punch their ticket?

Who Will Win in the End?

There are a lot of different teams with a solid chance of winning the Cup this time around, meaning it could be smart to place an outrights bet on a strong team with lower odds. When looking at Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) outrights, it’s hard to veer away from McDavid or Leon Draisaitl given their playoff resumes.

On the other hand, the Oilers may not be the most surefire playoff contender. When choosing who to bet on to win the Conn Smythe, it’s often smart to take the best player from the team that you think will win the Cup. For example, choosing Nathan MacKinnon or Cale Makar from the Avs.

How to Bet on the NHL

There are a few different NHL bet types to explore. Each one has different appeal, and the selection is vast enough to ensure that there’s something out there for everyone. Read on to learn more about how to bet on hockey .

Types of NHL Bets

  • Moneyline: Moneyline betting is wagering on one team to win outright against the other. This includes overtime and shootout wins as well.

  • Spread (Puckline): Spread betting (also known as puckline orhandicaps betting ) is a slightly more complex version of moneyline betting. The game winner is still important, but a team must now win by a specific number of goals. For example, if the Leafs were 2-point favourites, it would mean the team is favoured to win by two-goals-or-more and must do so for the bet to cash.

  • Totals (Over/Under): Totals betting (over/under betting) concerns the final score of a game. For example, if an Oilers vs. Flames game had a total set at 6.5 goals and you bet the over, you would need seven goals or more to win.

  • Outrights (Futures): Outrights betting , sometimes referred to as ‘futures’ betting, is a wager on a future event usually involving the playoffs or one of the season-end awards. For example, betting on the Columbus Blue Jackets to be the ‘Outright Stanley Cup Champion’ or on Connor Bedard to win ‘Rookie of the Year’.

  • Prop: Prop bets are wagers that are typically made on events not pertaining to the final score. A lot of these bets are connected to the individual performance of a particular player. For example, taking Auston Matthews as an ‘anytime goal scorer’ would be prop betting . If he scores, you cash. Prop bets can also be tied to player totals including the over/under on goals, points, shots, and hits. For example, taking the over on McDavid at 1.5 goals.

  • Parlay: Parlay betting is the act of combining multiple bets into one. This is done to increase the odds of winning a bigger payout, but the risk matches the reward. Each individual bet in a parlay is referred to as a ‘leg’, and every leg has to hit for the bet to cash. For example, taking a three-leg parlay with a Leafs moneyline win, a Rangers puckline win, and the over on an Oilers/Flames total goals bet. It’s also possible to submit same-game parlays, easily done with Stake thanks to the same game multi-bet builder .

  • Live: Few things have taken the sports betting world by storm quite like live betting. When comparing live betting vs. pre-match betting , there are some key differences. First, live hockey betting is as it sounds meaning that wagers can be placed on a game at any time – which naturally isn’t the case with pre-match betting. Live betting odds also fluctuate at a much greater pace, constantly changing to mirror the likelihood of multiple events as a game progresses. For example, the Leafs may go into a game against the Ottawa Senators as the moneyline favourites, but that can change quickly in live betting if the Sens were hypothetically up 2-0 after the first period.

Hockey Betting Tips

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to betting on both hockey and sports in general, but it’s much easier to navigate if you have a system. Some of the best hockey betting tips to follow include:

  • Check the News: Hockey, like any other sport, is filled with roadblocks including injuries, suspensions, and cold streaks. By staying up-to-date with the latest hockey news , you will be rewarded. For example, you place a same-day moneyline bet on the Oilers only to realize hours later that McDavid has been ruled out of the game due to injury. Since yesterday. By being aware of the news and game notes before each bet, you can save yourself a lot of heartache.

  • Look for Gaps in Odds Value: Sometimes, the odds don’t accurately reflect the probability of certain game events. For example, the Leafs have decided to play their backup goaltender however a sportsbook has them as heavy favourites – not accounting for the goaltending downgrade. Taking a dog bet on the team facing the Leafs could be a sneaky way to get a larger payout.

  • Always Play Within Your Means: Gambling addictions can be dangerous, but you can put your mind at ease by always engaging in responsible gaming . Set limits, and don’t double-down on more bets when things aren’t going your way. Even the Warren Buffett’s of the sports betting world have off-days. Know when to quit, and never spend more than you can afford to lose. For more information, feel free to read Stake’s online guide to responsible gambling .

Live Stream Hockey Online at Stake Sportsbook

One of the best parts about betting with Stake is the option to access live streams of ice hockey games in progress. The best part? It’s completely free. Simply head over to the Stake website and select a sport to live stream. Clicking on a live event will bring up information about the game, along with a ‘video tab’ if live streaming is available for that event in particular. You can also place live bets, all in the same place. Feel free to get the ball rolling by taking advantage of one of our many sports betting promotions as well.

Bet on Hockey with the Best Odds at Stake Sportsbook

You’re officially ready to embark on your hockey betting journey with us over at Stake. Rely on us for all of the best odds and the most up-to-date information concerning the sports betting world, straight from our comprehensive blog . All the best to you and your team this season, and good luck with your bets!