The 2021-2022 NHL regular season kicked off on Tuesday, with the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrating their second straight Stanley Cup victory with the raising of a championship banner before falling to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins by a 6-2 margin. The schedule kicks into high gear on Wednesday, particularly north of the border, as the Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the archrival Montreal Canadiens as betting favourites. Later in the evening, the Edmonton Oilers welcome the Vancouver Canucks to town, and the Winnipeg Jets visit the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the best bets as Canada’s NHL teams begin a new season. Sports bettors looking to get in on NHL action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their hockey betting experience.
|NHL Moneyline Odds|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||1.60||1.59||1.58||1.58|
Injuries a Factor as Leafs Host Habs
The Montreal Canadiens emerged as the Cinderella story of last season’s NHL playoffs thanks to a stunning first-round series upset victory over Toronto. However, the Habs will be hard-pressed to match last summer’s heroics when they hit the ice for their season opener at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday as 2.45 underdogs at Bodog.
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) October 7, 2021
The Canadiens return to action without their most important leaders, as both team captain Shew Weber and star goaltender Carey Price remain sidelined indefinitely. Montreal will also be without recently signed forward Mike Hoffman, veteran Paul Byron, and rearguard Joel Edmundson as they seek to build on their playoff success. But while the Habs managed to hand Toronto yet another massive playoff disappointment, they have struggled badly to compete when facing the Leafs on the road during the regular season, losing eight of their past 10.
That’s all very good news for the Maple Leafs, who enter their first contest of the new season perched as 1.59 chalk to extend their recent home dominance over their long-time rivals. The Maple Leafs open the schedule with injury concerns of their own. The NHL’s leading goal scorer last season, Auston Matthews will be unavailable for Wednesday’s action as he recovers from a wrist injury. Perhaps more concerning is the uncertain status of Mitch Marner, who suffered an injury in practice on Tuesday.
Mitch Marner leaves Maple Leafs practice early after colliding with Wayne Simmonds.
The Leafs star winger will be re-evaluated Wednesday morning ahead of the club’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. https://t.co/IgTjzIHzUZ
— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) October 12, 2021
Despite those concerns, the Maple Leafs sport more than enough healthy talent on their roster to exact a measure of revenge on Wednesday night, and open their schedule with a decisive victory.
The Pick: Maple Leafs -1.5 (2.45) at Bodog
Canucks Begin March Back to Respectability in Edmonton as Underdogs
The Edmonton Oilers have a playoff disappointment of their own to put behind them as they get set to open the 2021-2022 NHL season on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks as 1.52 home favourites at Sports Interaction. The Oilers challenged for the top of the North Division standings before settling for a decisive second-place finish but saw their playoff woes continue with a stunning first-round loss to the Winnipeg Jets, who romped to an easy four-game sweep.
Kyle Connor scores in triple overtime, Jets sweep the Oilers pic.twitter.com/yk2LI475V7
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 25, 2021
The Oilers made some offseason upgrades, most notably with the addition of top-line winder Zach Hyman and rearguard Duncan Keith. This is also a team that was dominant at times on home ice last season, highlighted by an eight-game win streak that began in early March. Add to that the Oilers’ run of six wins in their past nine dates with the Canucks, and they begin to look like a solid bet to open the season with a win.
Canucks’ Breakout Candidates in 2021-22 https://t.co/FU71DhGSAW
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) October 13, 2021
However, sports bettors fade this Canucks team at their peril. Vancouver is coming off an absolutely miserable 2021 season, during which they were beleaguered by untimely injuries and an extended layoff due to a coronavirus outbreak. But with their injuries behind them, the offseason acquisition of players like Conor Garland and Olli Ekman-Larsson, and a considerable amount to prove. Add to that, the Canucks dominating performances in a pair of late-season victories at Rogers Place, and Vancouver suddenly offers enormous value as a 2.60 underdog.
The Pick: Canucks to win (2.60) at Sports Interaction
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Jets Well Open Season in Anaheim as Betting Favourites
There is likely to be considerably less intrigue when the Winnipeg Jets close out the Wednesday schedule with a visit to Anaheim as 1.66 chalk at Bet99. The Jets are coming off a respectable 2021 campaign that they finished in third place in the North Division standings before stunning the Oilers in the first round. With the NHL reverting to pre-pandemic divisional alignment this season, a return to the postseason is far from assured for Winnipeg, raising the importance of capitalizing on what should be a mismatch against a youthful Ducks squad.
Friendly reminder… Mark Scheifele has one game left on his suspension from the playoffs last year. He’ll miss the Jets first game.
— CapFriendly Depth Charts (@CF_DepthCharts) October 10, 2021
Winnipeg also made some solid veteran additions to the blue line by acquiring Nate Schmidt and Brenden Dillon during the offseason. That should make life easier for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. However, they will be without Mark Scheifele on Wednesday as he continues to serve the suspension he earned during the playoffs, while Nik Ehlers remains a question mark.
The Anaheim Ducks have embraced their rebuild as they enter training camp https://t.co/MfRmhPIxai
— The Athletic L.A. (@TheAthleticLA) September 23, 2021
But can the Ducks take advantage of the shorthanded Jets as they prepare for their home opener as 2.22 underdogs? Anaheim is coming off a last-place finish in the West Division, and after committing to a rebuild is also one of the youngest teams in the NHL. But while this team trails badly on the Stanley Cup odds at Betway, where they lag as a distant 101.00 bet, the Ducks also sport some impressive young talent that may not have yet realized that they are supposed to lose. Combined with their 3-1 record in their past four season openers, that makes the Ducks an intriguing value wager to knock off the Jets on Wednesday.
The Pick: Ducks to win (2.30) at Bet99