Online bookmaker Bovada has released gambling odds on the first round, and with the NHL now having a franchise in gambling mecca Las Vegas, it only feels right that we should participate.
Actually, we do this feature every year, because it's as good a way of previewing what is expected to happen at the Draft as anything else out there.
Big, huge disclaimer that I'm not putting any of my own money down on any of these lines, regardless of how confident I feel, so you probably shouldn't put any of your own money down on my gut feelings either.
This year is a tough one. All the hype and attention is at the front end of the first round, but it's the end of the first round where you really make your (entirely hypothetical) money. And this year in particular, I feel about as confident as one can be about this sort of thing with the first 20 picks in the first round, but have absolutely no clue about the final ten picks of the first round. So I didn't have a huge amount of confidence in a lot of these lines.
Here's what is out there. If you're not a degenerate, and thus, don't understand what the odds listed are, a negative number is how much one would have to bet to win $100. A positive number is how much a $100 bet would win.
1. How many trades will there be on the first day of the Draft?
Over 6.5 (-120)/Under 6.5(-120)
My take: I have no idea. It seems like there's a lot of talk about trades right now, but it's always like that, and the end result is underwhelming. Like the PK Subban rumors earlier on Thursday, it could be a bunch of bored reporters trying to drive a story when there isn't one there. Or maybe with the impending expansion draft looming, it creates the urgency to get a lot of deals done. This one is a coin flip for a reason, because nobody really knows.
2. How many defenseman will be taken in the first round of the Draft?
Over 8.5(-120)/Under 8.5(-120)
My take: You've got six guarantees: Bean, Chychrun, Fabbro, Juolevi, McAvoy, Sergachev. They should all be gone in the top 20. That leaves ten picks for three more defensemen. Logan Stanley and Dennis Cholowski seem like strong bets. You still need one more to win, and I feel like at least one of the WHL duo of Libor Hajek and Lucas Johansen goes in the first round. Not a guarantee, but I'd pick the over if I had to.
3. How any forwards will be taken in the first round of the Draft?
Over 21.5(Even)/Under 21.5(-140)
My take: Basically the same as the defenseman bet, with odds slightly worse on the over on account of the slight possibility of a goalie going. I liked the over on the other one, I like the under on this one.
4. How many goalies will go in the first round of the Draft?
Over 0.5(+200)/Under 0.5(-300)
My take: I liked this bet earlier in the week when Toronto had the 30th overall pick, and rumors were that the Leafs would take a goalie with that pick. But since that pick was traded to Anaheim in the Freddy Andersen trade, it's back up in the air. I saw someone suggest that after losing Andersen, Anaheim might be interested in taking a goalie with that pick to re-stock their cupboard. But picking at 30th overall is all about taking best player available, not need.
The oddsmakers have this one pretty much right, in that I'd definitely lean towards no goalie going in the first round, but there's enough of a possibility to make me think the chances of tripling my money would be worth it.
5. How many players from the CHL will be drafted in the first round?
Over 16.5(Even)/Under 16.5(-140)
My take: 17 is a tough number to get to, but I feel like out of the big group of 'maybe late-first rounders' the overwhelming majority of the most likely picks are CHL guys. I'm going to lean towards the under later on with the NCAA and European bets, so I'll take the over here.
6. How many players from the OHL will go in the first round of the Draft?
Over 10(-175)/Under 10(+135)
My take: Eight givens: Tkachuk, Nylander, Brown, Juolevi, Chychrun, Sergachev, McLeod, and Jones. Logan Stanley seems like good bet. Alex DeBrincat, William Bitten, Boris Katchouk, and Nathan Bastien are all potentials. Maybe even Cliff Pu? The odds suggest the sharps are confident in two out of those four going. I'm not entirely confident though.
7. How many players from the QMJHL will go in the first round of the Draft?
Over 3.5(+230)/Under 3.5(-360)
My take: Two more guys after Pierre-Luc Dubois and Julien Gauthier? Vitali Abramov seems like a good bet, but not a guarantee. There's a chance for Pascal Laberge, Frederic Allard, and Sam Girard. The smart money is on the under though, which is why you don't get great odds for it.
8. How many players from the NTDP/NCAA/USHL/US High School will go in the first round of the Draft?
Over 6(-175)/Under 6(+135)
My take: The over on this line has paid off each of the past three years, but this year seems like a really tough number to reach. Keller, Bellows, Kunin, Tufte, McAvoy all seem like locks. Bovada seems to have more confidence in Tage Thompson than I do. I'm not sure who the seventh would be. Wade Allison? Cam Morrison? Adam Fox? Seven feels like a huge stretch.
9. How many players from the WHL will go in the first round of the Draft?
Over 2.5(+120)/Under 2.5(-160)
My take: It's an awful year for the WHL, in part because three first round prospects out of western Canada are in the BCHL this year. Jake Bean is the only guarantee to go in the first round. Brett Howden seems like a pretty safe bet. You just need one more after that, and with the weak group towards the end of the first round, I like one of the Hajek/Johansen duo to get picked on the first day. Over seems like a decent bet here.
10. How many players outside of the CHL/NTDP/USHL/NCAA/American High School will be taken in the first round?
Over 7.5(-120)/Under 7.5(-120)
My take: Matthews, Laine, Puljujarvi, Jost, Fabbro, Rubtsov are the six freebies, and you need to find two more in the final 10 picks to win the bet. Rasmus Asplund is a decent bet to get taken. Carl Grundstrom seems to have fallen out of first round contention. There have been a few rumors of Henrik Borgstrom sneaking into the first round, but I'm not sure I buy them. I don't think they make it to eight guys.