The NHL just dropped the puck a month ago, but the KHL is nearing the end of its season. The Gagarin Cup playoffs are only a few weeks away and CSKA Moscow, the Western Conference leader with 83 points, is the +250 betting favorite in KHL odds. There aren’t many former NHL players in the league but there are some noticeable ones in Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk.
CSKA is the defending champion from back in 2018-19 – COVID-19 prevented the conclusion of last year’s season – and much of the team is gone from that championship run. Online sportsbook Sportsbook has CSKA as the favorite in KHL odds, followed by East-leading Bars Kazan at +350 and SKA St. Petersburg at +700.
The three teams with the highest odds to win the KHL championship are also the last three teams to capture the title.
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2020-21 KHL Championship Odds
|SKA St. Petersburg||+700|
|HC Dynamo Moscow||+900|
|Salavat Yulaev UFA||+1600|
|HK Dinamo Minsk||+2200|
|FC Sibir Novosibirsk||+5000|
|Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod||+5000|
Odds as of February 11 at Sportsbook
CSKA Moscow Remains the Team to Beat
CSKA Moscow took a hit with the losses of Alexander Romanov, Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin to the NHL. The team has needed to rebuild much of its roster from the 2018-19 championship season, and has been getting great goaltending from the tandem of Lars Johansson and Alexander Sharychenkov.
The team doesn’t have any forwards or stat lines that jump out at you, but they are well-coached and play well fundamentally. The only former NHLer on the roster is Brendan Leipsic, who has 11 goals and 24 points in 37 games. Leipsic spent five seasons in the NHL, playing on four different teams.
With the best KHL odds on the board at +250, CSKA Moscow should represent the Western Conference in the finals but will have some tough competition along the way from the likes of SKA St. Petersburg and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Avangard Is A Dark Horse
Avangard Omsk is one of the few teams that has some recognizable former NHLers in Kovalchuk and Nail Yakupov. Kovalchuk has appeared in just 15 games so far but he is averaging a point per game. Yakupov has struggled to get his legs underneath him with just 10 points over the 22 games he’s played in.
The team is currently second in the East, seven points behind Bars Kazan. Avangard at +800 KHL odds is a good bet as one of the few teams that could challenge CSKA Moscow and Bars Kazan to win the league.