NHL Futures Odds and Expert Predictions: Vezina Trophy Betting Picks
The difference between having a great goalie on your roster and having an okay goalie on your roster is night and day. Just look at the Philadelphia Flyers. They've been without a solid No. 1 goalie for almost two decades now and they have had very limited success with the one exception being a trip to the Cup Final in 2010. And then you look at a team like Nashville or Washington who boast two of the last three Vezina Trophy winners, and you see two teams that have either won the Cup (Washington) or have been to the Cup Finals after a dominant regular season. The name of the game is to outscore the opponent, but it doesn't hurt to have a goalie you can rely on to get you timely saves.
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For those who don't know, the Vezina Trophy is awarded to the "goalie judged to be the best at his position" - aka the best goalie in the league. If you are familiar with the goings on in the NHL, the short list of Vezina Trophy candidates will not shock you. But before we break down each of the top four goalies in terms of odds, let's take a look at some of the trends to consider before placing down a futures bet.
Eight out of the last 10 Vezina trophy winners have plied their trade in the Eastern Conference. This includes Sergei Bobrovsky's win in 2012-13 when Columbus still resided in the Western Conference.
Outside of the East bias, it's almost impossible - much like the Hart Trophy - to win this award without playing on a playoff-bound team. There have been only four occasions in the history of the NHL where a goalie has won the award but did not play a single playoff game. The last time this happened was coincidently in 2012-13 when Bobrovsky won the first of two Vezina trophies.
And lastly, while it may seem counterproductive to try and win an individual award while not playing in games, no winner in the last 10 years has started more than 69 games. This means that goalies who have won the Vezina are fresher and able to produce quality starts, which in turn lead to wins which in turn leads to success.
All odds are courtesy of Bovada
Pekka Rinne - Nashville Predators (+450)
If you are the No.1 goalie on the best team in the Western Conference, the chances are your statistics are pretty good. And that's the case for Pekka Rinne as he vies for his second consecutive Vezina trophy. Rinne leads the league in goals-against average with 1.96 and save percentage at 9.30. He sits 12th in the league in wins. But as I mentioned above, his workload isn't ridiculous because he has a solid backup that the team can rely on and give Rinne a breather, so his starts are quality over quantity. If Rinne can lead the league in SV% or GAA and Nashville wins the West, the Vezina will be making a return to Nashville.
Frederik Andersen - Toronto Maple Leafs (+500)
Some would argue that Andersen is the Maple Leafs MVP this season, and I would tend to agree with that to a certain degree. Andersen is second in the league in wins, fifth in the league in save percentage (.926) and third overall in shots against. That tells me that he's seen more rubber than anyone and that he is actually performing well, and those stats are not inflated by any means. Andersen will need to continue his sharp play in order to be seriously considered given the fact that the Leafs would rather outscore teams 7-6 than play in a 2-1 hockey game.
John Gibson - Anaheim Ducks (+750)
If it weren't for John Gibson and his heroics early on this season, the Ducks would be at least 10 games under .500 instead of five games over. Gibson absolutely stood on his head in the early going and continues to do so as the Ducks give up the most shots on goal out of any team in the league. They give up an average of 36 shots per game. Therefore, if Gibson isn't at his absolute best, the Ducks find it tough sledding to win hockey games. Gibson may suffer from the whole "East Coast bias" that is apparently a thing, but I do believe the Ducks won't be a playoff team this year, so that could also hinder his chances at winning his first Vezina Trophy.
Sergei Bobrovsky - Columbus Blue Jackets (+750)
Sergei Bobrovsky was the odds-on favorite to win his third Vezina trophy, and many would have banked on his chances to cash their ticket. Bobrovsky has the privilege of playing behind an excellent defensive team in the Blue Jackets, and he knows how to handle a heavy workload and make the timely saves which lead to success for his team. However, after a slow start to the year, the goalies I've already mentioned are in much better shape to cash your Vezina ticket. Bobrovsky is not among the Top 5 goalies in any of the major categories. So, unless he comes out and posts like four shutouts in a row, Bobrovsky's third Vezina honor will have to wait.
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