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Bolts lead the way but can the Preds or Pens knock them off the top spot?

We’re just over the quarter mark in the NHL season and a usual suspect remains at the top of the leaderboard. The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the pack as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup with the NHL’s best record at 17-7 SU. Are there more lucrative options to chase after for bettors?

Online sportsbook Bovada lists the Bolts at +800 to win it all but with their recent “slump” (2-3 SU and ATS in their last five), the Bolts have finally looked vulnerable. Steven Stamkos, the current league leader in points, has only nabbed one assist during their recent struggles and opposing teams are figuring out that in order to neutralize the Lightning’s attack, they need to shut down Tampa’s top line.

One team bettors need to pay attention to is Nashville. The reigning Western Conference champion has taken its momentum from last year’s playoffs and translated it to second place in the West with 33 points. The Preds have an impeccable home record (9-2 SU) and are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games. But what’s most impressive is their road wins this season against the league’s top teams like St. Louis, Los Angeles and Columbus. The idea of home-ice advantage is kind of a myth in the NHL playoffs but Nashville is proving to be the exception. Now, if they can just figure out how to get Carrie Underwood back in the building.

Another team that has fallen in the odds but can break out at any time is Pittsburgh. The Penguins opened as the Stanley Cup favorite at +850 and bettors can now get them at +1200. The main knock on the Pens has been their inconsistency on defense. They currently rank second-last in the NHL in goals allowed (3.57 per game) compared to last year when they only allowed 2.79 per game (14th). Statistics like that could bury them come playoff time and while a team hasn’t three-peated since the Islanders in the early ’80s, getting +1200 value for the reigning champions seems like a steal at this stage.

The Vegas Golden Knights continue to be the biggest surprise in the NHL and the Knights have made the biggest jump since the odds were released. Opening at +20000, Vegas currently sits at +1800 to win it all and even dropped from +2800 since our last update on November 5. The most astounding stat about Vegas is they’re on pace to be the first expansion team with a winning record and first to make the playoffs since the 1979 Hartford Whalers.

Here’s a look at the updated Stanley Cup futures odds:

2017-18 Stanley Cup Odds
TeamCurrent OddsOpening Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning+800+1000
Toronto Maple Leafs+800+1500
St. Louis Blues+800+3500
Pittsburgh Penguins+1200+850
Columbus Blue Jackets+1200+2200
Nashville Predators+1200+1500
Winnipeg Jets+1200+4500
Chicago Blackhawks+1600+1200
Vegas Golden Knights+1800+20000
Los Angeles Kings+2500+2200
Dallas Stars+2500+1500
New Jersey Devils+2500+10000
Washington Capitals+2500+1000
San Jose Sharks+2800+2200
New York Islanders+2800+4500
Anaheim Ducks+3300+1500
Minnesota Wild+3300+1500
Calgary Flames+3300+3500
New York Rangers+3300+1500
Boston Bruins+3300+3500
Edmonton Oilers+4000+1000
Ottawa Senators+4000+3500
Vancouver Canucks+4000+10000
Montreal Canadiens+4000+1500
Carolina Hurricanes+5000+6500
Philadelphia Flyers+6600+7500
Detroit Red Wings+7500+10000
Colorado Avalanche+7500+10000
Florida Panthers+10000+4500
Buffalo Sabres+30000+6500
Arizona Coyotes+100000+10000

Odds as of November 29 at Bovada

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