Home | News | Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – October 9th, 2023

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week – October 9th, 2023

By Hank Blaine

The 2023-24 NHL regular season begins this week, with arguably the two biggest storylines being the debut of mega-touted Blackhawks prospect Connor Bedard and whether the Vegas Golden Knights can repeat as Cup champions. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups, including Bedard’s first game.

Top NHL Betting Picks of the Week (October 9th, 2023)

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • When: Tuesday, October 10th, 2023, 8:00 PM ET
  • Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: WGR 550 AM (Blackhawks) // 104.5 The Team ESPN (Penguins)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: Blackhawks (+1.5) // Penguins (+1.5)

This is the highlight of the three-game opening night on ESPN as Blackhawks rookie No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard makes his regular season debut. He’s the most hyped talent to enter the league since Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Before that? It was Pittsburgh’ Sidney Crosby, who is still going strong for the Pens. Crosby was one of Bedard’s idols growing up.

“I think that guys who are in that situation, I think, thankfully, they’ve gotten to that point because they can handle that,” Crosby said. “You know, if you’re a first overall pick or if you’ve achieved what he has, it’s not like you’re waking up Day One in the NHL and have these expectations all of a sudden. So I think he’s shown he can handle it. And he’s dealt with it really well.”

Bedard led the WHL in goals (71), points (143), shots on goal (360), points per game (2.51) and goals per game (1.25) in 57 regular-season games with Regina last season. His 1.25 goals per game was the highest scoring rate for a 17-year-old in WHL history. He also had an impressive World Junior Championship, producing 14 points in seven games. One of the things Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) is going to have to get used to is facing bigger, stronger players. This preseason, Bedard had one goal and four assists for a team-leading five points and 16 shots in four games. He averaged about 20 minutes of ice time per contest.

Fellow forward Philipp Kurashev is in question with an injury. The 23-year-old had nine goals and 25 points in 70 contests last season and should play as a middle-six forward when healthy.

Arguably Pittsburgh’s best forward these days isn’t Crosby but Jake Guentzel. He will miss the start of the season following offseason ankle surgery. Guentzel isn’t the first Penguins superstar to undergo an offseason procedure, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin doing the same in recent summers, and coming back better than ever. The Penguins are confident that Guentzel, who led the team with 36 goals last season, can do the same.

“Jake is a vitally important player for our team,” Coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s quietly emerged as, in my mind, one of the superstars in the league. He’s a really good goal scorer, he’s a competitive guy, but he’s got a two-way game also. He plays on both sides of the puck. He just plays the game the right way. I think when he’s in our lineup, it gives us the ability to bump guys down a little bit. That helps our depth, and it makes our third line stronger, for example. That’s the impact I think that he has when he’s inserted into our lineup.” These teams split last season.

NHL Betting Pick: Penguins

Florida Panthers vs. Minnesota Wild

  • When: Thursday, October 12th, 2023, 8:00 PM ET
  • Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
  • Radio: TSN 1050 (Panthers) // 102.5 FM WHPT The Bone (Wild)
  • Live Stream: NHL Live
  • NHL Betting Odds: TBA

This could easily be a Stanley Cup preview. Of course, the Panthers got there last year but lost in five to the Vegas Golden Knights. Florida is good enough to repeat in the East. However, top-six forward Sam Bennett is doubtful for the season opener at the Wild. The 27-year-old had three points (one goal, two assists) in three preseason games. Last season, he had 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points in 63 regular season games. He also had 5 goals, 10 assists and 15 points in 20 playoff games.

While it’s impossible to replace the unique combination of grit and skill that Bennett brings to the Panthers, Maurice is confident that Eetu Luostarinen is more than capable of stepping up.

Shifting from center to the wing this past season, the 25-year-old Finn achieved new career-highs in goals (17), assists (26) and points (43) while playing in all 82 games for the Panthers. Finn may center a line with Nick Cousins and Matthew Tkachuk.

“He shifts into the middle seamlessly, and whatever line he goes to he makes better,” Maurice said. “It’s a luxury to have a guy that can play wing and play it well. These young guys come in as centers, but never get to play center. He got a whole year at center ice and then moved to the wing. When he goes back, he has experience.”

Minnesota will start the season without defenseman and captain and defenseman Jared Spurgeon due to an upper-body injury suffered in the preseason. He totaled 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 79 games last season and a plus-32 rating for the second consecutive season. Spurgeon averaged 21:49 time on ice per so in his absence the Wild are likely to rely even more on players such as Jonas Brodin, Jake Middleton, and rookie Brock Faber.

Florida won both matchups in this series last year. The one in the Twin Cities was 2-1 in a shootout.

NHL Betting Pick: Wild

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