Wolverines Are Atop Odds
Welcome to October, and the start of the 2022-23 NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey season. The Denver Pioneers return as the defending champions, although the ice hockey betting odds only have them tied as fifth-likeliest winner this season. It’s the Michigan Wolverines, sixth in the preseason USCHO poll, leading a tight list of contenders. They’re at +650 to win it all.
With a dozen players already signed by NHL teams, the Wolverines remain a team that’s stacked. This will be their first season with a new (interim) coach in Ann Arbor, ex-assistant Brandon Naurato replacing the bounced Mel Pearson. Pearson was fired on the heels of numerous reports about his many scandals in the school. Addition by subtraction, as the Wolverines should be better. At least, that’s what the online sports betting lines are suggesting.
It won’t be smooth skating to the title, as other elite teams take their shots.
Favorites on the Board (after Michigan)
- Denver Pioneers (+1000): The defending champions took Michigan out of the Frozen Four in a classic game that went to overtime. Ranked as the top team by the USCHO, Denver’s missing Bobby Brink and eight others who have departed, however, The team boasts 12 players with NHL contracts, including defenseman Mike Benning, the Most Outstanding Player from the tourney last season.
- Minnesota Golden Gophers (+650): The Gophers are just behind Michigan on the outright table, that despite getting dominated by Minnesota St. in the Frozen Four last season. This team received the second-most first-place votes on the USCHO, and will feature the more players (14) with NHL contracts than any school, led by newcomer Logan Cooley
- Minnesota St. Mavericks (+650): Coach Mike Hastings enters his 11th season with the Mavericks, a team boasting the most experience among the top contenders on the board. Even if there are no NHL players on the team (as of now), Mavericks will have plenty of continuity, and thus are a legit threat to win the first title in the history of the program.
- Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (+1000): Coach Scott Sandelin goes after his fourth national title with a team that boasts a nice mixture of sbarp newcomers and grizzled veterans. The most notable of the 10 NHL-contracted players is Isaac Howard. Tampa Bay’s 2022 first-round pick led the silver medal-winning Team USA in the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championships (six goals and five assists).
- Western Michigan Broncos (+1400): The Broncos may only be 14th in the USCHO poll, but just behind the usual suspects as far as betting online is concerned. WMU and Pat Ferschweiler will look to improve on the result last season, that a regional final loss to Minnesota. Replacing some six key figures isn’t easy, but the Broncos have plenty of experience, led by new team captain Jason Polin.