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Stanley Cup odds (As of Dec. 14)
Toronto Maple Leafs: 5.20
Tampa Bay Lightning: 6.00
Nashville Predators: 7.00
Washington Capitals: 14.00
Colorado Avalanche: 15.00
Winnipeg Jets: 16.00
You won’t go a day during the hockey season without hearing something – anything – about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Doesn’t matter if they’re good or if they’re bad.
After years of struggle and getting top draft picks, they have assembled a very good team in Toronto. Yes, it’s a team good enough to perhaps emerge out of the Eastern Conference this year and wouldn’t that be a polarizing topic of conversation at the water cooler a few months from now.
As of Friday morning, the Maple Leafs remained the current Stanley Cup favourites – more than two full months into the season – with odds of 5.20 at PlayNow.com to win the championship in June. It would be their first Stanley Cup title since (*checks notes*) 1967, although folks in Toronto probably already knew that.
About 14.3 per cent of the money bet so far on the Stanley Cup outright market is on the Maple Leafs, and their odds have shifted moderately since the beginning of the season, topping at 9.00 on Oct. 25 to where they are today at 5.20. There hasn’t been much in the way of fluctuation.
Yet the team that should be grabbing the headlines around the NHL is the Tampa Bay Lightning. It just so happens that the Lightning and Maple Leafs play in the same division (they’re also first and second in the NHL’s overall standings) and right now the Bolts are pulling away in the Atlantic with an eight-point lead over Toronto. The gap has widened courtesy of an eight-game win streak from Steven Stamkos and company.
While the Maple Leafs are the current Stanley Cup favourites, the Bolts are favoured to win the division with odds of 1.68 at PlayNow.com. That’s compared to 2.55 for the Maple Leafs and 14.00 for the third-place team, which, surprisingly after years of futility, is the Buffalo Sabres.
The Lightning’s odds to win the Stanley Cup outright are 6.00, just a shade behind the Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay has been knocking on the door with a deep and talented roster for some time now. They’ve made the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years – losing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and then losing in each of their last two conference championship appearances.
NHL Betting Breakdown:
They have their cornerstone goalie with 24-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2018 Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman patrolling their blue line, and forwards like Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov (we’re skimming the surface here) should strike fear into the vast majority of NHL defencemen. So far this year, Tampa Bay is averaging four goals a game, which is notably higher than the Washington Capitals at second in that category at 3.70 goals-for per game.
On Thursday, the Lightning bested the Maple Leafs by a score of 4-1. Vasilevskiy made 48 saves in his return after missing 14 games with an injury, and the Bolts scored four unanswered goals to get the win and keep their streak going.
While the Maple Leafs remain the Stanley Cup favourites, a pair of Canadian teams have thrown themselves into the contender conversation. The Winnipeg Jets forged their way into a Western Conference force a year ago, making it to the conference finals. Their odds right now to win the Stanley Cup are 16.00 at PlayNow.com and they currently have the fourth best record in the league.
As of Friday, 18.1 per cent of the money wagered on the Stanley Cup was on the Jets, who face the Lightning on Sunday. (Check back to PlayNow.com over the weekend for the latest Money Line odds.)
The other Canadian club that has moved up the board is the Calgary Flames. They’re 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, as of Friday, and have the fifth best record in the NHL at 20-10-2. Their 42 points puts them one back of the Maple Leafs.
Calgary’s odds to win the Stanley Cup are 18.00 at PlayNow.com.