The NHL All-Star game will take place Friday night in Florida as the league will continue its 3-on-3 divisional format, with the winning team taking home a cool $1 million.
There are plenty of ways to look at this set of mini-games, but despite the prize, there isn't a ton to play for. More often than not, the outcomes are often decided by which team can turn a big save into an odd-man rush and capitalize.
There is no concrete template to properly handicap these near-coinflip contests. Still, bettors can hone in on things like faceoff win percentages or even prior All-Star experience to find outliers that might not be priced into these lines.
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NHL All-Star Game odds
|Team||Odds to win|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of February 2, 2023.
Pacific vs Central betting preview
The Pacific comes into the first game as +105 dogs, thanks to some "weak" goaltending in Stuart Skinner and Logan Thompson. However, these 3-on-3 formats are tough to handicap the goaltending properly, and getting Connor McDavid as an underdog is worth the price of admission.
When the public is choosing to bet on, the goaltending matchup will be the first thing they factor into their wager. This is certainly priced in and likely too heavily, in my opinion.
Thompson actually leads all NHL goalies in save percentage during shootouts at .778%, and Skinner is a six-foot-four giant, so the Pacific isn't at as much of a disadvantage as the books are making them out to be.
The O/U total of 13.5 is also a little high. Bettors will see the likes of McDavid going up against Nathan MacKinnon and expect a track meet. However, since the league established this format, only six of the 18 games played have seen 14 or more goals, and all three last year saw 13 or fewer.
Ultimately, having McDavid is such an advantage, and the goalies might not be as important to the winning probability as the oddsmakers are stating with this price.
The Pacific also has the most All-Star experience of the four divisions.
Best Bet: Pacific moneyline (+105 at DraftKings)
Metro vs Atlantic betting preview
Looking at the rosters, the Atlantic looks to have the better skaters suited for this format, with guys like Mitch Marner, David Pastrnak, Alex Barkov, Nikita Kucherov, and the Tkachuk brothers.
There is also enough familiarity there as Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Larkin, Brady Tkachuk, and Nick Suzuki all played in last year's All-Star game, and Pastrnak (MVP), Marner, and Tkachuk represented the Atlantic back in 2020.
This is just a younger, faster team that's also backed by Vezina-caliber goaltending. Jack Hughes could certainly make his mark on this game, but Kevin Hayes and Brock Nelson aren't difference-makers.
I believe this Atlantic roster is the deepest of the four teams, and having Larkin and Barkov win extremely valuable draws is very important as they are two of the best in hockey.
The Atlantic also has the edge in experience as seven of the 11 players on the Metro will be making their first All-Star appearance. In contrast, only Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Johnny Gaudreau have played in more than two AS games.
Although betting on these games is like playing blackjack, the Atlantic has enough edges that I'm willing to take them up to -120. The ability to win a faceoff is very underrated and is something they should excel at.
Best Bet: Atlantic moneyline (-120 at DraftKings)
2023 NHL All-Star Game Rosters
|Sidney Crosby||Aleksander Barkov+||Kirill Kaprizov||Leon Draisaitl|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Nikita Kucherov||Clayton Keller||Kevin Fiala|
|Kevin Hayes||Dylan Larkin||Nathan MacKinnon||Bo Horvat*|
|Jack Hughes||Mitchell Marner||Mikko Rantanen||Nazem Kadri|
|Brock Nelson||David Pastrnak||Jason Robertson||Connor McDavid|
|Alex Ovechkin||Nick Suzuki||Vladimir Tarasenko||Elias Pettersson|
|Artemi Panarin||Brady Tkachuk||Seth Jones||Chandler Stephenson+++|
|Andrei Svechnikov||Matt Tkachuk||Cale Makar||Troy Terry|
|Adam Fox||Rasmus Dahlin++||Josh Morrissey||Erik Karlsson|
|Igor Shesterkin||Andrei Vasilevskiy||Connor Hellebuyck||Stuart Skinner|
|Ilya Sorokin||Linus Ullmark||Juuse Saros||Logan Thompson|
+ Replaced injured Auston Matthews
++ Replaced injured Tage Thompson
+++Replaced injured Matty Beniers
*Selected as a member of Vancouver, but was traded to New York on January 30