The NHL Return to Play Plan and the 2020 Draft Lottery
COVID-19 has put every major sport on hold, and the National Hockey League (NHL) was no exception. However, for the first time since March 12, the NHL announced its plans to resume and complete the 2019-2020 season with a 24-team playoff.
NHL Return to Playoffs Plan
Twenty-four teams will compete for the Stanley Cup – 12 from the Western Conference and 12 from the East. The 189 remaining games are void and 24 of the 31 teams were chosen based on point percentage. The tournament begins with a 16-team, eight-series Qualifying Round and a Seeding Round Robin with the top four teams to determine how the postseason will line up from top to bottom.
Finally, some NHL action for online bookies to handicap. Unfortunately, the expectation is for this plan to kick in no earlier than the first half of July.
In the meantime, bookies can offer bettors an NHL primer with the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery on June 26th.
2020 NHL Draft Lottery
Fifteen teams are part of the lottery and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks are up for grabs while the rest are determined by point percentage.
How this lottery is conducted overall is much different from your standard ping-pong draw – see the “Phase1/Phase 2” draw rules below.
- Three draws: First Draw (1st overall pick), Second Draw (2nd overall pick) and Third Draw (3rd overall pick.)
- If a team from the bottom 1-7 group are drawn they win the 1st pick – the same for the 2nd and 3rd pick draw.
- If a team from 8-15 group is chosen, the right to the 1st pick is determined in Phase 2 – the same for the 2nd and 3rd draw.
- After the First Draw no team from either group can be chosen for the Second or Third Draw.
- If Phase 2 is necessary, every team has the same odds.
- When all phases are completed, the remaining 12 teams will be placed in reverse order of their point percentages.
Bottom line, your clientele will be able to wager on the lottery winners and even have some early prop action on who the top pick will be. The worse the shortened 2019-20 season, the more the odds of the ball bouncing to the top spot in the draft are amplified.
Best Odds to Win the NHL 2020 Draft Lottery
Detroit Red Wings +145 – 18.5% Odds to Win the Lottery
The worst point percentage in the NHL (.275) gives the Detroit Red Wings 18.5% odds to receive the No. 1 overall pick. Though they receive the largest percentage of lottery balls for their one pick, handicappers should keep their odds close or behind the Ottawa Senators in NHL Draft Lottery betting. Ottawa is lucky enough to have two picks within the top 15, improving their odds.
If the ball bounces their way, the Red Wings pick will be a no-brainer: Forward Alexis LaFreniere. Any odds on the Red Wings taking LaFreniere should be largely in your sportsbook’s favor and take limited action. LaFreniere is the top talent in the draft and could have an immediate impact, improving Detroit’s regular season win total and per-game scoring.
Ottawa Senators +145 – 13.5% and 11.5% Odds to win the Lottery
Ottawa acquired a second top 15 pick in a 2018 trade with the San Jose Sharks, who finished with a .450 point percentage. That along with their own .437 point total gives them 13.5% and 11.5% respective odds to steal the top pick from the Red Wings. The combined percentages give the Senators nearly a 25% chance of winning the chance to draft LaFreniere.
LeFreniere could also have an immediate impact on the Sens season totals and team scoring, as his ability to score could offset a goals-against average that was second-worse in the league.
Los Angeles Kings +800 – 9.5% Odds to Win the Lottery
The odds begin to get shakier if the Senators and Red Wings are unlucky enough to lose their shot at the number one spot. With a one pick in the top 15 and a 9.5% odds, the Los Angeles Kings chances are profitable but less likely. The odds slide the Kings right into the fourth overall pick in the draft. But at around +800, the value of picking the Kings for a lottery shocker could be a solid option for bettors. That’s why oddsmakers should put fairly strict limits on sports betting props and specials.
If the Kings can’t secure the top spot, odds for the Kings to draft a top-ranked defenseman like Jamie Drysdale increase.
Anaheim Ducks +900 – 8.5% Odds to Win the Lottery
The Ducks have a 26.1% chance of landing in the top 3 of the draft and 8.5% odds to take the top spot. They can pick anywhere from 1-3 or 5-8 – in this head-scratching lottery format, they can’t secure the No. 4 pick.
If they stay at No. 5 overall a player like forward Cole Perfetti could be in their sights.
New Jersey Devils +1000 – 7.5% Odds to Win the Lottery
Bettors and fans who take the Devils to win the draft lottery are in for a hefty reward. But the odds are slim. Their percentages slide them into the 6th overall pick, likely leaving them prospects like Center Marco Rossi or Right Winger Alexander Holtz.
Buffalo Sabres +1200 – 6.5% Odds to Win the Lottery
Buffalo rounds out the top seven with a long odds and little chance at the LaFreniere sweepstakes. Expect the Sabres to take the best offensive player available wherever they may be.
2020 NHL Lottery Odds are Available Now
Though there’s no puck hitting on the ice just yet, the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery should give your sportsbook an interesting kickstart to the wild playoff format in mid-July.