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Current NHL Futures & Picks

April 6, 2021
Hockey Talk -Betting Picks

The 2021 NHL season is just about to head into its final third. Teams are nearing the 40-game mark in this shortened 56-game regular season. As it heads down the regular season home stretch, it’s time to take another look at the NHL Futures.

There is plenty of value in the NHL Central Division, the home of defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay (-150) and current NHL President’s Cup leader Florida (+375). The Panthers are tied with Colorado with 56 points and sit at 26-9-4 thus far.

The other value bet is Carolina which is listed at +225 to win the division. The Hurricanes are 25-9-3 (53 pts.) and own the division’s second-best goal differential (+28). The Lightning have lost four of their last six and haven’t had Nikita Kucherov all season.

The Panthers are 7-3 in their last ten games and have gone 2-2 against Tampa Bay thus far with four games against the Lightning remaining. At plus-money, you have to like the Panthers to win this one.


The Washington Capitals have been playing some very good hockey as of late. The Caps are second in the league in scoring (3.42 goals per game) and they own a 25-9-4 record through 38 games. The Islanders (+200) are outstanding defensively – third in goals against per game at 2.34 – and would be the Caps biggest threat.

Never count out an Alexander Ovechkin team even if he is aging. This is Washington’s division to lose.

PICK: WASHINGTON +150 at top rated sportsbooks

Out west, we have one of the best battles of the 2021 season. Colorado (26-8-4, 56 pts) has overtaken Vegas (25-10-2, 52 pts) for the division lead. The Avalanche are now a -250 favorite to capture the division and they are now the favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

With Nathan MacKinnon (14 g, 45 pts) and Mikko Rantanen (21 g, 44 pts), the Avs are hard to stop. They lead the NHL in scoring – 3.61 goals per game – but they are also very good defensively and lead the league in goal differential per game (1.45).

Vegas is right there with the Avs – 3.22 goals for and 2.24 goals against. If one team can hang with the Avs, it’s the Knights. The two teams have split six games so far this year. Colorado is extremely hot right now going unbeaten in its last ten games.


The class of the all-Canadian division has been Toronto all season. The Maple Leafs did have a small drought in which they lost six of seven games, but they are 7-2-1 in their last ten and lead the North with a 26-10-3 record and 55 points.

With Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews No. 4 and No. 5 in scoring, the Leafs have the second-highest goal differential in the league (+37). Edmonton (+900) has the top two scorers in the league – Connor McDavid and last year’s MVP Leon Draisaitl – but the Oilers give up 2.80 goals per game.

Winnipeg (+650) is second in the division and actually scores more and gives up fewer goals than Edmonton. Still, this is Toronto’s year. It has been from the start.


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Because of the team’s current hot streak, Colorado is the new favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +375. One of the big keys for the Avalanche is their overall health. Injuries has derailed the Avs over the course of the past two seasons. There is still plenty of hockey left to play and with the number of games jammed into the tight schedule, it’s likely Colorado does have to deal with some injuries.

That is why the best bet for a Stanley Cup winner is a team with very good depth. Tampa Bay has the best third and fourth lines in hockey. Sure, they have superstars in Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos, but they also get production from guys like Mathieu Joseph, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn. That’s why the Lightning are still the best bet to repeat and win this year’s Stanley Cup.


Sticking with the depth theme, there is a team that can rival Tampa Bay. Carolina (+1200) has beaten the Lightning twice in five attempts so far this season. Remember, Carolina is sixth in goals allowed per game (2.46) and they score 3.14 per game.

The Hurricanes are getting strong goaltending from both James Reimer (14-4-1) and Alex Nedeljkovic (8-4-2) and like the Lightning can go deep in the lineup without a falloff in production. If you like longshots, like the Hurricanes.