Every year, online bookmaker Bovada releases a set of lines on the NHL Draft. Last year, we broke down each of those lines, and I think I ended up coming out pretty well. This year, for a Draft that has seemed fairly cut-and-dried for most of the year, the lines were incredibly difficult to pick. There just aren't many bets on this board that I look at and say, "Well that's free money". That's a good thing though, because it should make for a very exciting Draft on Friday night.
As a disclaimer, I should note that I'm not putting any of my own money on any of these bets, so you'd be foolish to bet your own money based on my picks. This is just a fun way to preview and discuss the upcoming Draft.
Here are this year's lines:
How many players from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: I've got a pretty good feeling about this McDavid fellow, so that's one right off the bat. It feels like it should definitely be over because you'll be three-quarters of the way there in the top seven or eight picks with McDavid, Marner, Strome, Crouse, and Zacha, but finding two more looks very iffy. Travis Konecny has a very good chance and then you're hoping somebody goes off the board with a pick like Zach Senyshyn. I'll take the over, but with very little confindence in it.
How many players from the Western Hockey League (WHL) will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: I will lean towards the under, but again, with not a lot of confidence. This is the opposite of the OHL pick. Matthew Barzal will go early, but otherwise, you're hoping for six WHL players to go in the last 10-15 picks of the first round. It could definitely happen, but I'm not confident about it.
How many players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMHL) will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: I'll take the over on this one, but again with very little confidence. I feel pretty good about Meier, Zboril, Svechnikov, Roy, Chabot, and Sprong going in the first round, which just leaves you hoping Filip Chlapik or Dennis Yan sneak into the first round to win your bet.
How many players from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: I took the over on two out of the three, so I suppose mathematically, I should take the over on this one too. If you take the over, you're hoping the Russian Factor is a real thing that scares teams off from some Russian prospects like Gurianov, Dergachyov, and Samsonov.
How many players from the USA Hockey's National Team Development Program / NCAA or USHL will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: This line opened up at 5.5 about a month ago and I liked that number a whole lot better. Eichel, Hanifin, Werenski, Connor, and White are pretty safe bets. This bet comes down to whether you believe it's more likely someone like Jack Roslovic sneaks into the first round than it is that Brock Boeser slips out of the first round. This line almost always pays off on the over, but I'll pick the under, fully expecting it to be a push with six taken.
How many players outside the CHL / USA Hockey's National Team Development Program / NCAA or USHL will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: Again, you're betting on how big the Russian Factor is. If teams aren't scared away by Denis Gurianov's KHL contract or Ilya Samsonov skipping the NHL Combine, the over might be a decent play. As it is, I'll stick with the under which I think is a little safer bet.
How many Forwards will be drafted in the 1st Round?
How many Defensemen will be drafted in the 1st Round?
How many Goaltenders will be drafted in the 1st Round?
My pick: My best guess was 7-8 defensemen and no goalies in the first round, so I think the over on forwards is a great line, and then under on the other two.
How Many Trades will there be the First Day of the Draft?
Number of NHL team representatives who thank the host city (Team or Fans) when they’re at the podium
Number of NHL team representatives who congratulate the Stanley Cup champion when they’re at the podium
What Percentage of players drafted will be Canadian?
My pick: Seek help if you bet on these. I have no idea how these numbers shook out last year, but the first round felt pretty lean and mean in terms of just teams just saying their damn pick, and people seemed to like that trend.
Over/Under Draft Position
My pick: I would be a bit surprised if some combination of Hanifin-Strome-Marner went 3-4-5 in the Draft. Not saying it's a guarantee, but I think the odds heavily favor the over here.
My pick: I had Rantanen eighth overall when I tried putting together a mock draft, and I think it's more likely he goes lower than higher. Again, surprises happen, but the odds seem to favor the under.
My pick: I put Provorov seventh overall in my mock draft, but think it's more likely he drops lower than higher(though he's picked up a ton of buzz as the best D in the draft lately). This one could go either way.
My pick: I really like Barzal and he's in my personal top 7, but I think it will be very hard him to push somebody in that group out. I'd lean towards the under.
My pick: One of the most controversial players in this year's Draft. I think most people will look at his stats and think take the under, but scouts love the way this guy plays, and I think there's a very strong chance he goes well before the 10th overall pick.
My pick: Like I mentioned in my profile on Werenski yesterday, I feel confident that Hanifin and Provorov will be selected before him. Will three teams want a D in the top 10? Is there a chance a team really likes a lower rated guy ahead of Werenski? I'll say no and yes respectively and take the under, even with as much as I like Werenski as a player.
My pick: I wouldn't touch this one. Opinions are all over the board on Zacha, who has top-five talent, but maddeningly inconsistent. My gut feeling would be to take the over, but I could also definitely see him slipping.
My pick: I had Connor going 12th to Dallas in my mock draft, but I think that's probably the ceiling for where he could go. Under feels like the safer play.
My pick: If I was picking, I'd place Meier way lower than 13, but we're picking what teams will do, not what they should do. That number is pretty close to the ceiling for where Meier could go, so the under might be a little safer, but neither option looks particularly strong.
My pick: Konecny has drawn some late buzz, but that number still seems awfully high for him. Under looks like the safe bet.
My pick: Again, I pegged Zboril at 15th in this Draft, but think it's more likely he falls lower than goes higher. This is another coin flip.
My pick: To be honest, I don't have a great feel for this one. I would guess under, but it's just a guess.
My pick: Merkley seems like he's on the rise heading into the Draft so I'll take the over on this one.
My pick: I really like White and would select him well before the 22nd overall pick. But do GMs feel the same way? I think White left a great last impression at the World U18s and think he does get picked somewhere in the teens.
My pick: There are some issues with Sprong, but I think his talent is too much to ignore. I think he'll go earlier than this.