bet365 NHL Betting Preview: 2024 All-Star Skills Competition Odds

The 2024 NHL All-Star Festivities are officially underway in Toronto! Events popped up in the city earlier in the week, and on Thursday night, that extended to the first night of on-ice action, featuring the drafting of the rosters, a tribute to the 1967 Maple Leafs, and a fantastic three-on-three showcase featuring the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL)’s All Stars.

Before the main event on Saturday, we still have the skills competition on Friday night. For once, there’s a lot on the line for our competitors – let’s dive right in!

NHL Skills Competition

Time/DateFebruary 2nd, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet, TVA Sports (French)
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)
Favourite To WinConnor McDavid (+500)

The competition features six primary events, in which all 12 competitors will participate in four. They’ll be awarded points based on their rankings. The eight highest scores will advance to a one-on-one shootout against the goaltender of their choice to potentially earn more points. Lastly, the six highest-scoring players at this stage will go to a double-scored obstacle course for one last attempt to jump up the rankings.

The winner? They’ll receive a whopping $1 million prize. Not bad for a performance bonus! Our competitors this year include…

Mathew BarzalNY IslandersAuston MatthewsToronto
Leon DrasaitlEdmontonConnor McDavidEdmonton
Quinn HughesVancouverJ.T. MillerVancouver
Nikita KucherovTampa BayWilliam NylanderToronto
Nathan MacKinnonColoradoDavid PastrnakBoston
Cale MakarColoradoElias PetterssonVancouver

Now that we’re familiar with the field, let’s break down the individual events.

NHL All-Star Fastest Skater Odds

Connor McDavid+120Mathew Barzal+225Cale Makar+425
William Nylander+1200Quinn Hughes+1200

We’ll kick things off with the fastest skater, and it’s no surprise that Connor McDavid is the odds-on favourite to win. After all, he three-peated in this event between 2017 and 2019, the only person to ever win it back-to-back and one of two to ever win it three times (Mike Gartner in 1990, 1993, 1996 the other). Don’t sleep on Mathew Barzal, though – his time of 13.175 seconds in 2020 is the fastest of anyone here who has participated in this event.

Winning the Fastest Skater requires a combination of top speed, turning ability, and explosiveness out of the gate. It also doesn’t require a puck, which is typically where McDavid tends to be most dominant. I’d still consider him the favourite, but this could be competitive!

NHL All-Star One-Timer Competition Odds

David Pastrnak+500Auston Matthews+500Leon Draisaitl+500
Elias Pettersson+600Nathan MacKinnon+650Nikita Kucherov+650
J.T. Miller+650Mathew Barzal+750

Not many details are given for this new event, beyond each player taking three one-timers from each spot on the ice. There are a lot of good names here, but the name I’ve got my eyes on is Nikita Kucherov – his one-timer off the wall has been a deadly component in Tampa Bay’s offence for years. Most of the others on this list also have bombs, but consistency under pressure is key, so my lean is towards the man with history on his side.

NHL All-Star Passing Challenge Odds

Cale Makar+650Quinn Hughes+650Leon Draisaitl+700
NIkita Kucherov+700Nathan MacKinnon+750Connor McDavid+750
Elias Pettersson+750Mathew Barzal+800Auston Matthews+900
William Nylander+1000J.T. Miller+1000

The passing challenge returns after four years of absence, involving hitting targets with passes while moving. It’s not certain whether it will look the same as it was in 2018 and 2019, but if it’s close, Leon Drasaitl will certainly have an advantage given his victory in the latter year. Even without that edge, he’s already a pretty shrewd pick here, with some of the softest touches in the league. I’d also be curious about local hero William Nylander here, who’s not typically dominant on the assist list but can link up as well as anyone.

NHL All-Star Stickhandling Competition Odds

Connor McDavid+500Nathan MacKinnon+600Nikita Kucherov+600
Mathew Barzal+650Elias Pettersson+650Quinn Hughes+700
Leon Draisaitl+750David Pastrnak+800William Nylander+800

The league has had events in this vein in the past, most notably the “Puck Control Relay” between 1990 and 2019. As you can imagine, no one participating has won it before, with Johnny Gaudreau (not in the All-Star Festivities) being the only active NHL who has won the event previously.

There’s not really a bad pick for this one, as a lot of players here have the stickhandling ability and edgework needed to get through what will be a prequel-of-sorts to the final event. McDavid is a fair favourite, but Nathan MacKinnon is another player worth giving serious consideration to.

NHL All-Star Hardest Shot Odds

Elias Pettersson+175J.T. Miller+350Cale Makar+350
Auston Matthews+500David Pastrnak+600

It’s interesting to see this event go from one of the most anticipated of the year to a bit of a dying breed, as slap shots become less and less common in players’ toolboxes. Time and space are at a premium in today’s NHL and you don’t often get the room to swing back and forth at full velocity. Pettersson is a clear favourite here, as the defending champion (103.2 mph), the only player who’s won this event before, and one of the few stars in the league who frequently use their clapper.

NHL All-Star Accuracy Shooting Odds

David Pastrnak+600Connor McDavid+600Leon Drasaitl+650
Nikita Kucherov+700Auston Matthews+700Nathan MacKinnon+750
William Nylander+800J.T. Miller+850Cale Makar+900
Quinn Hughes+900

Another one of the classic events, Quinn Hughes is currently boosted by bet365 at +1000, up from +900. I certainly wouldn’t rule him out, because while a lot of people tend to think sniping forwards for this event, defencemen such as Jaccob Slavin, Tomas Kaberle, and the seven-time winner/co-winner Ray Bourque have found success in it before. Of those participating, only Pastrnak has come out on top in the past, winning in 2019.

For that reason, he’s a great choice here, and his co-favourite status reflects it. I feel like if there’s an award for Auston Matthews to win in front of the home crowd, though, it might be this one.

Auston Matthews to win NHL Accuracy Shooting Competition


NHL All-Star Skills Competition Winner Odds

Connor McDavid+500Cale Makar+700David Pastrnak+800
Nikita Kucherov+800Nathan MacKinnon+850Mathew Barzal+850
Elias Petterson+900Quinn Hughes+900Leon Draisaitl+1000
Auston Matthews+1000J.T. Miller+1000William Nylander+1200

After the first six events, we’ll see the top eight-ranked performers advance to a one-on-one challenge against the goalie of their choice, followed by a final obstacle course. That course will give them one last opportunity to build up points, and the player with the highest score following it will be crowned champion.

It’s no surprise that McDavid ranks highly here, as a legitimate threat in all of his events (Fastest Skater, Passing, Accuracy Shooting, Stickhandling). That’ll bank him some points, and the obstacle course should be an event where his toolbox features strongly. I wonder if MacKinnon will follow his in-season production and potentially take this trophy home too. Normally, I’d wonder if Auston Matthews would have a massaged path to victory given the host city, but a million dollars is a lot to skip competing for, so he’ll have to earn it the hard way if he wants it.

Check back tomorrow for our thoughts on the actual game!

Connor McDavid to win 2024 NHL Skills Competition