Why Connor Bedard To Score Against Penguins, Bruins Might Be Bad Bet

Bedard's impact will be felt Tuesday but probably not how fans expect


Oct 10, 2023

The 2023-24 NHL regular season opens Tuesday, and all eyes are on Connor Bedard’s debut against Sidney Crosby.

The matchup has been hyped as the new kid versus the old “Kid” as the Chicago Blackhawks are excited about their future after drafting the 18-year-old first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins look to spoil the party at PPG Paints Arena as they hope for improvement after missing the postseason for the first time in 16 seasons.

The Bedard train doesn’t stop Tuesday, as the night after, Chicago travels to Boston to take on the Bruins in their season opener.

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It’s why the favorites to be the victim of Bedard’s first goal are the Penguins at +200 and the Bruins at +290 on FanDuel Sportsbook. But there’s reason to believe the wonder kid doesn’t get his storybook moment in the first two games of his NHL career.

“I feel like that will be the game where we see him get these assists that we’ve been seeing him get in the preseason,” The Ice Guys’ Alex Smith told NESN Bets analyst Sam Panayotovich on the “Chicken Dinner” podcast. “He’s the guy who’s going to facilitate for people around him. Everybody’s looking for him to score. Everybody’s looking for that quick shot of his. But his skill and his vision on the ice will be to find Taylor Hall, find those other guys and open up those chances. I think that’s where we’re going to see him shine early. I think it’s going to be a while. He’s going to get his feet wet as he’s playing in the preseason games. That’s the next level. Regular-season games, going up against 87, seeing the ESPN cameras. That might tighten him up a little bit.

“The next night, he’s going against Boston. That’s going to be a big ceremony night, 100th anniversary. You got a Boston team clamoring at the gills, trying to get back on the ice after the way things ended last season. That’s going to be a tough, physical game, a tough and tumble game. That’s also Taylor Hall and (Nick) Foligno’s return back to Boston. I don’t see a lot of scoring in that game compared to what we’ll see in Pittsburgh. Then you get to Montreal. Soft, cupcake Montreal. …”

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Panayotovich didn’t disagree with Smith’s handicapping of Bedard’s first two games but noted Bedard already is playing like a pro and won’t fear the bright lights. However, he did agree the Montreal Canadians at +420 — DraftKings has the number at +450 — is solid value. Panayotovich and Smith also agreed over 6.5 goals in Tuesday’s Blackhawks-Penguins game is a strong possibility.

Bedard tallied four assists in the preseason, and he’s expected to cement his place as one of the best young players in the league. He’s -125 to win the Calder Trophy at FanDuel, and while he might run away with the award, there’s reason to believe he might not get off to a flashy start as analysts and fans expect.

Listen to the full episode of “Chicken Dinner” to learn which sleeper team Smith is backing this season.

Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images

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