Stanley Cup Futures Watch
We’re getting deeper into the NHL season and the success stories are starting to separate themselves from the failures. Me, I’m starting to feel like the Sabres are not the playoff team that some experts (me) predicted them to be. It’s been a strange year. So far, Vegas is giving better odds to an expansion team winning than the 2-time defending NBA champions…
The Tampa Bay Lightning +600
Tampa is still the favorites to win it all. They have been nothing short of brilliant so far this season. The Lightning’s 3.74 goals per game leads the Association right now. At the same time, they’re only giving up 2.46 goals per game, good enough for third best overall.
Does a regular season this good lead to a championship? The oddsmakers say yes and have been favoring this Tampa Bay team nearly the entire season so far.
The Toronto Maple Leafs +1100
We’ve now got a real logjam at the #2 position in the eyes of oddsmakers, starting with this Toronto team. Toronto struggled without their top gun, Auston Matthews, but they kept the ship from completely sinking. Now he’s back and they’re looking good again.
Matthews had a goal an assist in his return and Toronto is looking to get back to their high scoring ways. Right now, Toronto is scoring 3.24 goals per night, with lots of room to improve. But are they the second best team in hockey? Well, they are ONE of the second-best teams. There’s also…
The Nashville Predators +1100
Oddsmakers are starting to feel this team more, and their betting stock is trending upwards… even though they have lost their last 3 games, they had won their previous 6. The D has killed them, giving up 14 goals in 3 games. You are going to have a really hard time convincing me this team has the depth and talent required to win it all this year.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights +1100
We also have the expansion team ranked the same as the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seriously, if the Knights win it all in their first year, Toronto and St. Louis fans will all collectively vomit with rage. And, likely, rum. The Knights are tops in the Pacific division right now, as they’ve been red hot lately. Vegas is 8-2 over their last 10 games and have won 4 in a row overall. Their division is deep as hell, with the Edmonton Oilers still yet to really play their best hockey.
The St. Louis Blues +1100
The Blues are the team with the second longest Stanley Cup drought, next to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Which is why I really love them being ranked the same as the Knights right now. St. Louis may have the best overall team of the 3 we’ve mentioned. The Blues are giving up 2.47 goals per game, which is good enough for third in the NHL. They’re playing mediocre hockey right now, and are only 5-5 over their last 10 games. And their lead in that Central is down to a single point.
The Pittsburgh Penguins +1800
The odds are of the Pens being the first NHL team to three-peat are very bettor-friendly, if you believe in the yellow and black. We all keep waiting for them to flip the switch and start looking like 2-time champions. But that hasn’t happened yet.
They are under .500 for the first time in recent memory. If the playoffs started tomorrow, they would not even be close to the wildcard playoff spot. They’re going to have to play some serious hockey if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
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