Patrick Kane helped the Central Division to the NHL All-Star Game championship game for the first time last year. Now the division is the betting favorite to win Saturday’s event in front of its home fans in St. Louis (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, NBC).
The Central — consisting of Kane, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Mark Scheifele, Tyler Seguin, Eric Staal, Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Binnington and Connor Hellebuyck — is the +250 favorite, with the Pacific next at +275, Atlantic at +300 and Metropolitan at +315, per odds posted at DraftKings.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the seemingly ever-changing format of the NHL’s ASG, there are four 11-man teams (one from each division), with the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic and Metropolitan playing each other in one 3-on-3 game, and the Western Conference’s Central and Pacific playing in another. Two teams advance to the finals to crown a winner.
All 31 teams must be represented, and Kane is the lone Blackhawk. Chicago enters the break 24-21-6, three points back of the Golden Knights for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Central Division, which has seven teams compared to eight in the three other divisions, is 1-4 under the current format. Last year, the Metropolitan beat the Central 10–5 in the final, with Penguins center Sidney Crosby being awarded MVP.
Like other All-Star events, the NHL’s exhibition usually features high-scoring games. This year’s Metropolitan vs. Atlantic game has a betting total of 12 goals, while Pacific-Central is at 12.5.
For a higher return, bettors can pick which skater will score the most goals in each semifinal. The Islanders’ Mathew Barzal and Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner are the 8/1 co-favorites in the Atlantic-Metropolitan semi. The Bruins’ David Pastrnak is 9/1, and the Devils’ Nico Hischier and Capitals’ T.J. Oshie are 10/1.
Kane, who has 25 goals on the season for Chicago, is 9/1 to have the most goals in the Pacific-Central semi. The Oilers’ Conor McDavid is on top of the oddsboard at 8/1, followed by the Avalanche’s MacKinnon.