Illinois Sports Betting Operators Not Taking Bets On Blackhawks’ Obvious #1 Pick

Written By Matt Boecker on May 9, 2023
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The Chicago Blackhawks hit it big Monday night by winning the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. With the first overall pick comes the right to add a generational talent to the Blackhawks’ roster. Illinois sports betting operators are so convinced Chicago will use that pick to select star prospect Connor Bedard they are not even taking bets on the matter.

The Hawks had an 11.5% chance to win the NHL Draft Lottery, giving them third-best odds. Top odds were with the Anaheim Ducks at 18.5%, then the Columbus Blue Jackets at 13.5%.

With the numbers stacked against them, Chicago needed horseshoes and rabbit’s feet to win the lottery. But sometimes, relying on luck can pay off.

The last time the Blackhawks scored the first pick in the draft was 2007 and they used it to select Patrick Kane. It would be unrealistic to expect Chicago’s upcoming number one pick to match Kane’s career accolades, but there’s a prospect available that many believe will bring hope back to the United Center.

Illinois sportsbooks agree Blackhawks will draft Bedard

Most years, there’s a healthy debate over which player should go first in the NHL Draft. But this certainly isn’t one of those years.

NHL teams, scouts and fans have been buzzing about center Connor Bedard for quite some time now. No matter how much research you do into the 2023 draft, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone calling for a player other than Bedard to be selected first.

The Illinois sportsbooks agree. They’re not even offering betting markets for a player to go first overall. At DraftKings, you’ll find odds on which players will go second and third overall. FanDuel is only taking bets on who goes second.

It’s such a sure thing that Bedard goes to the Blackhawks that neither sportsbook is taking action on the 17-year-old from North Vancouver to go second or third.

He spent this past season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. In 57 games, Bedard led the WHL with 143 points (71 goals and 72 assists).

Blackhawks fans new found hope thanks to Bedard

Chicagoans have only seen their hockey team make the playoffs once in the last six seasons. The last playoff series win came in the 2014-2015 campaign.

But getting the rights to draft Bedard could change that, and fans are already showing their excitement. Last night at Wrigley Field, Cubs fans erupted when the video board flashed this message:

The White Sox were on the road facing the Kansas City Royals, but the Chicago faithful in attendance celebrated as well. White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin reported that White Sox fans were hugging and chanting ‘Let’s go Blackhawks’ at Kauffman Stadium. Royals fans must have been very confused.

In the short time since the Blackhawks were announced as having won the NHL Draft Lottery, ticket sales have shot through the roof. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that as of Tuesday morning, $5.2 million in season-ticket packages have been sold. That includes 1,200 new customers.

Chicago Bears also had the #1 pick this year

Chicago sports fans have had it rough as of late. But the tides may be turning for at least two teams.

The Bears went 3-14 last season, finishing with the worst record in the NFL. Since the NFL determines draft order by record instead of a lottery, the Bears earned the first pick.

While the Blackhawks are expected to keep their draft pick and take the best player available in Bedard, the Bears went a different route. The Monsters of the Midway have a QB in Justin Fields, which allowed them to trade back to the ninth pick and still land a solid prospect in tackle Darnell Wright.

Hopefully, there’s some magic at the United Center as the NBA Draft Lottery is on May 16. But the Bulls have just a 1.8% chance to land the first overall pick.

But don’t hang your heads yet, Bulls fans. The Bulls had a 1.7% chance to get the number one pick in 2008 and miraculously, it happened. The team selected Derrick Rose and he became one of the most iconic athletes in Chicago sports history.

Photo by Matt Slocum / AP Photo
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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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