NHL top props: Is it time to fade the Bruins?

It’s going to be a sprint to the finish for the fresh NHL season, and count me in — less filler, more bang for our buck. Here are some puck props that caught my eye with opening night on Wednesday. All lines courtesy of BetMGM.

Nathan MacKinnon, Hart Trophy/MVP (+500)

Generally I don’t think you’ll get a lot of value betting on an award favorite, but in this case, I’ll take the ticket. MacKinnon has run second, sixth, and second in the last three Hart votes, and sometimes these votes turn into career achievement awards as much as anything else. He’s the signature player on the Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche and a threat to win the scoring title. All the dots connect. The voters might see this as MacKinnon’s turn to win.

Carter Hart, Vezina Trophy/Best Goalie (+900)

He’s going to get as many starts as he can handle, and the Flyers’ roster is in a favorable window, with the right mix of ascending talents and veteran presence. The primary contenders in the East Division are starting to age out of relevance; if Philly takes that group, Hart could be positioned for a hardware grab.

Kirill Kaprizov, Calder Trophy/Top Rookie (+400)

I’ll admit, the rookie tickets are generally poor values, as there are so many viable candidates and it’s hard to know who will be pressed into a critical role right away. You’re also betting on young, unproven talents. That said, Kaprizov is no green teenager — he turns 24 in April — and he was a scoring machine in the KHL, leading the league in goals the last two years. Minnesota doesn’t have an ideal playmaking fit for Kaprizov, but this guy is going to score no matter who he plays with.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) in the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar could be in for a big season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Cale Makar, Norris Trophy/Top Defenseman (+1200)

Another case where we’re ticketing a fresh face, but he’s older than you think — Makar is already 22, and had no trouble adjusting to the speed of the game as a rookie. If the Avalanche run roughshod over the league as expected, he has a chance to be the scoring leader at his position, along with a tidy plus/minus.

Boston Bruins/Under 72.5 points

It might seem odd to be fading the NHL’s best regular-season team from last year, but the core is getting old in Boston, and the second line remains suspect. The squad does get younger with the deletion of captain Zdeno Chara, but there wasn’t an obvious replacement for him on the top six. The Bruins are also going to miss Torey Krug on the power play. They can’t go deep without the first line carrying most of the weight, but Patrice Bergeron is 35 and David Pastrnak is currently injured. The Bruins probably are miscast as the division favorite.

Buffalo Sabres/Over 55.5 points

Full disclosure, I’ve been waiting for the Sabres to click during the Jack Eichel era and it’s yet to happen, but he’s never had as much help as he does right now. Taylor Hall is a perfect fit for Eichel on the first line, three different lines can score, and Rasmus Dahlin might be ready for a third-year leap. The goaltending is uncertain, but 55.5 points isn’t a big ask. They can sail past this number with weeks to spare.

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