NHL Free Picks & Predictions: Season Overview
The 2019-20 NHL season is upon us again. And continuing on the shock and awe we saw last season in the playoffs, we can expect the unexpected this year. But that won't stop us or bookmakers from laying out our NHL Free Picks.
As unpredictable as this game can get, we utilize advanced metrics and computer-driven data to minimize the "luck factor" involved. Hence, we can better read the NHL Betting odds better than even the smartest hockey analyst.
Peruse our NHL free picks and our bold predictions for this year's NHL. Also, read on the different markets offered. There are plenty of top sportsbooks around offering plenty of NHL bets. Now is the time to go wild!
- 01Who will win the Atlantic Division in 2020?
- 02Who will win the Metropolitan Division in 2020?
- 03Who will win the Central Division in 2020?
- 04Who will win the Pacific Division in 2020?
- 05Who will win the Eastern Conference in 2020?
- 06Who will win the Western Conference in 2020?
- 07Who will win the Cup in 2020?
- 08Best Players in 2020
Who will win the Atlantic Division in 2020?
Despite their embarrassing end to the season, the Lightning are still a cut above the rest. They return most of their key players and will have an extra chip on their shoulder. It's unlikely they hit 128 points or win 62 games again, but they won't need to.
This team is just too good and too deep to falter. They can absorb several injuries and still hit 100 points, no problem. Expect Tampa Bay to keep chugging along and have another stellar regular season.
Who will win the Metropolitan Division in 2020?
The bandwagon will only keep getting bigger and faster as the Carolina Hurricanes will prove last season's second-half rally was no fluke.
"The Jerks" are built for the modern NHL and their deep blueline got even better with the addition of Jake Gardiner. Their young core will only get better as the old guard, Washington and Pittsburgh will only tread water and didn't any better in the offseason.
Most importantly, Peter Mrazek will do for them what Frederik Andersen does for the Leafs and make up for any deficiencies on defense.
Who will win the Central Division in 2020?
The toughest and most unpredictable division can go any way.
Right now, the Colorado Avalanche are the trendy pick to win thanks to momentum and the deadliest top line in the NHL. But Dallas just has as much stake.
Adding Joe Pavelski will go a long way and their young defense will only get better.
Nashville is getting older and lost their best defenseman. The Jets got stripped on defense. And the Blues might feel a little bit hungover. It's between Colorado and Dallas and at these odds, toss one for Dallas.
Who will win the Pacific Division in 2020?
Opposite to the Central Division, the Pacific is more straightforward: it's Vegas or bust.
The Golden Knights slowed down a little last season but were one controversial penalty away from making another deep playoff run.
This team is still young and just hitting its stride. Their forwards can score in bunches in a sec, their defense is underrated, and Marc-Andre Fleury continues to add to his Hall of Fame legacy.
Most importantly, no one else in the division will be a threat as the Flames will regress and the Sharks lost valuable assets.
Who will win the Eastern Conference in 2020?
Tampa Bay is the favourite to win the East, but it's their neighbours who will as the Panthers will stun the hockey world and advance to the first Stanley Cup playoffs in 24 years.
The Panthers just barely missed the playoffs last season and fixed their most glaring weaknesses this offseason.
Adding Sergei Bobrovsky to solidify the net is huge. We all saw what solid goaltending has done for the Leafs and Jets, two sub-.500 teams who became overnight contenders. New bench boss Joel Quennville's playoff savvy will also be a catalyst for this team.
Who will win the Western Conference in 2020?
The Knights will take advantage of a tumultuous conference to once again emerge from it. Yes, the West has plenty of killer teams, but none of them have what Vegas has: continuity.
Vegas returns virtually the same roster from season's past and with players like Paul Stastny and Mark Stone having that extra season to gel, expect a smoother ride for the Knights.
They will remember their heartbreaks from the past two seasons and use that to push them past all the others as they return to the Finals.
Who will win the Cup in 2020?
The house always wins and that's why you bet on Vegas to win the Stanley Cup odds 2020.
After one of the greatest seasons ever, never mind a brand new team in a non-hockey market like Vegas, the Golden Knights imploded in front of everyone last season.
The Knights blew a 3-1 series lead and a three-goal lead in game seven to lose the series to the Sharks. They get a conditional pass as Cody Eakin's game misconduct led to an extended Sharks power play that sunk their Stanley Cup hopes.
As disappointing as that loss was, it's exactly what the Knights needed.
History has proven that Stanley Cup champions need to experience the pains of playoff losses and their Stanley Cup defeat and controversial exit last year account for these.
Vegas actually got better on paper as they added Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty. And their original core featuring William "Wild Bill" Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith will only get better.
At net, Fleury already has the Stanley Cup pedigree and seems as motivated as ever to win his fourth ring and stick it up the Penguins organization.
Vegas, unlike many of the other contenders in their conference, is still trending up. They are young, hungry, and have an extra season of continuity.
Teams like the Stars, Avalanche, and Flames have reshuffled their rosters.
The Predators are running out of gas. The Jets are a shell of themselves.
The Sharks lost a key piece, especially against Vegas, in Joe Pavelski. And the Blues may be winded from that exhausting championship run.
Of course, things will have to go right for Vegas. They will have to avoid or handle the injury bug if it shows up and they can't have regressions from their key players.
But even if you account of injuries, key players underperforming, and intangible issues, the Knights are still too good that anything short of another deep playoff run will be a disappointment.
This season, they will win it all and be the fastest modern-day franchise to win a championship.
Best Players in 2020
Hart Trophy (League MVP) - Nathan MacKinnon
He came oh so close to winning it two seasons ago and had virtually the same scintillating performance last year. But expect MacKinnon to take it to another level as the Avalanche will enjoy their best season since their dynasty years.
MacKinnon will finally break the 100-point plateau and flirt with 50 goals as he brings home his first Hart Memorial Trophy.
Calder Trophy (Best Rookie) - Cale Makar
Calder races are usually tough to predict, but being a defenseman on a Stanley Cup contender who could score between 50 to 60 points will entice enough voters to give Makar the edge.
Kaapo Kakko could score enough on the Rangers and top pick Jack Hughes is a threat in New Jersey.
Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie) - Carey Price
What's even more amazing than Carey Price's ability is the fact he's only won one Vezina trophy. Since his unbelievable 2014-15 season, Price has dealt with injuries, inconsistencies, and a turbulent team in front of him.
But last season proved that Montreal is once again on the upswing. They barely missed the playoffs but dealt with a rash of injuries.
Price still played decently enough and if things break a bit more evenly for the Habs this year, Price could recapture his 2015 form and win his second trophy.
Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoffs MVP) - Marc-Andre Fleury
Picking an MVP for the Knights is incredibly difficult and that's why despite them being one of the favourites to win the cup, they don't have a player in the Hart Trophy race.
Between their scoring-by-committee approach and slew of crafty defensemen, it's hard to pick one player who will rise head-and-shoulders above everyone. But there is a player who will get more scrutiny than the rest: Marc-Andre Fleury, the goalie.
It's simple for Fleury: if he plays like he did two seasons ago, the Knights win the cup. If he doesn't, they get bounced early. It's boom or bust for Fleury and in this case, it's a Stanley Cup.