2023-24 NHL Futures Bets: The House Versus Straus

by Mark Strausberg
2023 NFL Futures Bets

I keep thinking about that little kid who first fell in love with the NHL over 20... (cough cough)...40 years ago. If you had told him he'd be writing about the 2023-24 NFL Futures Bets decades later, he would have been so excited!

However, I am still excited. The NHL season opened last night and it was a fun night featuring three pretty decent hockey games. And with only three games into the season, there is still plenty of time for us to make some hockey bets for this upcoming season.

I placed a few preseason bets last season and one of them was Vegas winning it all, so I do have a decent track record when it comes to making NHL bets. But I really don't care if you take my word for it or not.

But I do like the bets below. So lace up your skates and let's take a look at my favorite 2023-24 NHL Futures Bets.

*Note that all these props come from the DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.

2023-24 NHL Futures Bets

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Detroit Red Wings To Make The Playoffs, Half a Unit (+230)

As you all know, I love to make bets on the underdog. And after a 32-40-10 record last season, the Red Wings are certainly an underdog coming into this season. They had a dreadful -38 goal differential last season as they potted just 237 goals and allowed 275 of 'em.

But this offseason saw nearly a complete overturn of the roster. Detroit added Christian Fischer, Alex DeBrincat, J.T. Compher, Shayne Gostisbehere, Klim Kostin, Justin Holl, Daniel Sprong and Jeff Petry. Last season, those players combined for 302 points on 109 goals and 193 assists.

Detroit should also be better between the pipes as well. It was recently revealed that Ville Husso was playing with an injury last year, but is healthy coming into the season and will likely play a healthy 50 games this season. The depth behind him is also much better. Detroit now has 13-year seasoned veteran James Reimer plus they added Alex Lyon. Lyon had a career-high 15 games last season, going 9-4-2 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.89 GAA. That's solid.

I expect Detroit to be around 90 points between Wins and Ties this season, which could earn them the final seed in the conference. I'd actually put their odds of getting the last seed (or better) just a little under 50%, giving us some +EV at 230.

Calder Trophy Awards:

Chalk Bet: Whole Unit--Conor Bedard, Chicago Blackhawks (-125 FanDuel)

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Grab this now while you still can, as I expect the payouts to get smaller rather quickly. And if you don't know who Bedard is, I'm sorry about your recent coma. But I'm guessing you lapsed into that coma less than ten years ago, so when I tell you to Google him, you know what I mean.

And Bedard picked up a point in his first NHL game last night. That might easily be the first of, no exaggeration, a hundred of them.

Value Bet: Half Unit--Luke Hughes, New Jersey Devils (+950 FanDuel)

Yes, Luke Hughes is related to both Vancouver captain Quinn Hughes and 2019 New Jersey No. 1 pick Jack Hughes. But the youngest brother of the three might end up being the best. The youngest Hughes is a defenseman with offensive skills and did play in two regular-season and three playoff games alongside brother Jack with the Devils last season. He already looks good and still has his rookie eligibility.

In five NHL games played, he has four points already. The 6'2 defenseman is a solid asset behind the blue line but has the shooting skills to be an offensive force. While defensemen have won only four of the last 15 Calder Trophies, two defensemen have won the last four years. Don't be surprised if that becomes three out of five.

LongShot Bet: Quarter Unit--Adam Fantilli, Blue Jackets (+1200 FanDuel)

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This prop was actually at +2000 on FanDuel less than a week ago but FanDuel quickly brought it down close in line with its competitors. It's probably because he is rumored to not have only made the team, but will likely be on the Blue Jackets' top power play unit besides Patrick Laine and Johnny Gaudreau.

But I used one of my boosts to bring it up to +1800, making it well worth the longshot bet. Even at +1200, I still like it, as we are getting over 100 points of additional value versus DraftKings for example. Fantilli was the third overall pick and he had already played minor league hockey before he began playing for the Michigan Wolverines.

In just 36 games for the Wolverines as a freshman, Fantilli dominated at the college level, notching 65 points (30g, 35a). It was the best college hockey season since current Winnipeg Jets star Kyle Connor recorded 71 points for Michigan in the 2015-16 season. That led to this two-way star being chosen for the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, All-Big Ten First Team, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.

In postseason play, he set the record for most goals (7) and points (11) in a Big Ten tournament and was named the MVP of the tournament. It was no surprise he won the Tim Taylor Award for best freshman of the year as well as the Hobey Baker Award for the top overall college player of the year. With his Hobey Baker win, he became just the third freshman ever to win the prestigious trophy after Paul Kariya (1993) and Jack Eichel (2015).

Like Kariya and Eichel, Fantilli has some tough competition to win the Calder. But with a four-digit payout, I'm willing to take that chance.

Half Unit--Carolina Hurricanes to Win the Stanley Cup +900

Perhaps this is a bit of a chalky pick. Since 2010, just five teams with odds above +1,000 have gone on to hoist the Cup of Lord Stanley. And Carolina is the top choice to win the East. However, I will point two things out as to why this is maybe not as chalky as you think.

First off, the Avalanche are actually the favorite to win the Cup, so I'm not taking the favorite. Secondly, the Eastern Conference is still absolutely a brutal gauntlet to run through. Even if Carolina secures the top seed in the East (which is far from probable), they will still have to face a trifecta of super-talented teams.

But my gut is telling me this is their year. Yet the brain is putting up very little argument.

Perhaps that is because Carolina led the NHL in 5-on-5 xGF% last year by a large margin at 59.88%. Unlike some other top teams, they return their entire core that nearly made it to the Stanley Cup final despite not having Andrei Svechnikov. Furthermore, Carolina put its extensive cap space to use early in free agency, inking defender Dmitry Orlov, forward Michael Bunting, and re-signing goalie Antti Raanta. Those are some very nice depth pieces.

Bet it now.

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