The puck drops on the 2021 NHL season Wednesday and the Colorado Avalanche are hosting the St. Louis Blues at 8:30 p.m. The Avs have high expectations, as they enter as Stanley Cup favorites at +650 and have the highest point total at 76.5.
Below you’ll find a few of my favorite bets for opening day in the NHL. For more bets, check out the FTN Bet Tracker at FTNBets.com
St. Louis Blues +125 (DraftKings) at Colorado Avalanche -140 (PointsBet) - 5.5
The Colorado Avalanche open the season at home against the St. Louis Blues with Philipp Grubauer expected to get the call. This marks the first of two straight games against St. Louis, as these two teams will face off against each other eight times this season. Colorado took three of five against the Blues last season, including a 2-1 win in the bubble.
The Avalanche are absolutely loaded on offense, finishing 2020 second in goals, seventh in scoring chances and sixth in shots for per 60 minutes at 5v5. They brought in one of the better 5v5 players in the league in Brandon Saad, who adds to an already explosive top-six. The Avs also acquired Devon Toews, who is one of the most underrated skaters and puck-moving defensemen in the league. He’s expected to be paired with Cale Makar.
The Blues have plenty of firepower on offense, as they added Mike Hoffman and Torey Krug, but I believe they’ll feel the loss of former captain Alex Pietrangelo. Give me the Avs and the over.
Pick: 4-2, Colorado
Montreal Canadiens +115 (DraftKings) at Toronto Maple Leafs -135 (DraftKings) - 6.0
The Montreal Canadiens will play their first six games of the season on the road, and they’ll start in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Habs are one of if not the most improved team in the NHL and if you remember, they upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the bubble last season, led by Carey Price.
The Canadiens took all three meetings against the Maple Leafs last season, scoring 13 goals in the process, and they’ve won four straight against them (19 goals in four games). This is a much different team, as they added two former 20-goal scorers to their roster in Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli. The emergence of Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi make them a true contender in the North Division.
Like the Avs, the Maple Leafs are loaded on offense, but Montreal was one of two teams (Vegas) to rank inside the top 10 in shots, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances and expected goals per 60 minutes at 5v5, while ranking in the top 10 in scoring chances and shots against.
Pick: 5-3, Montreal
Others to consider: Tampa Bay -1.5 & Edmonton and over 6 goals