The Bolts have technically won only the last two Eastern Conference titles, if we don’t count 2021 when the conferences were realigned due to COVID-19 – Tampa Bay went on to win the Cup that year anyway. But this season the Lightning are only fifth overall in the conference standings and they aren’t favored in the Eastern Conference odds to dominate yet again.
With a little under half of the season accounted for, the Boston Bruins (+325) are the favorites on the oddsboard to win the Eastern Conference championship and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. They’re followed closely by the Toronto Maple Leafs (+400) and Carolina Hurricanes (+400), with the Lightning (+700) and New Jersey Devils (+800) rounding out our top five Eastern Conference contenders.
Good news for you and your wallet: All of your options in the Eastern Conference betting odds are currently at plus-money value. There’s no shame in being an early bird here – placing an early Eastern Conference pick will score you some profit. Don’t limit yourself to the Eastern Conference either. Check out our NHL betting odds for the Western Conference and every division:
Here is a look at what Sportsbook has on its complete 2022-23 NHL Eastern Conference futures board:
Who Will Win The 2022-23 Eastern Conference?
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+400|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+700|
|New Jersey Devils||+800|
|New York Rangers||+1200|
|New York Islanders||+1500|
|Detroit Red Wings||+4000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+50000|
Odds as of January 3 at Sportsbook
Top Eastern Conference Contenders and Value Picks:
Boston Bruins +325
Currently favored to win the Atlantic Division, the Bruins not only have a tight grip on the top spot in the Atlantic and in the Eastern Conference, but they also sport the best record in the league at 29-4-4 with a six-point bulge over the No. 2 Carolina Hurricanes.
In the Sportsbook two months of the year, the Bruins felt defeat just three times. It was the feeling of victory they were accustomed to, winning 19 contests across October and November, with 16 of those wins coming by at least two goals. Since then, Boston has been slightly less otherworldly, dropping five of 14 matchups in December, though each loss was decided by just one goal.
Boston has the offensive and defensive talent, topping the league by allowing 2.16 goals against per game and ranking second by scoring 3.73 goals per game.
The Bruins have 10 skaters with 15 or more points, including seven with at least 25 points. David Pastrnak is on pace to have his best season yet, leading the team with 50 points as he tries to surpass the career-high 95 points he recorded in 2019-20. Last year’s scoring leader Brad Marchand and top defender Charlie McAvoy didn’t take as long as expected to recover from offseason surgery and stepped back into the lineup without skipping a beat.
The veterans on the bench are inching closer to the end of their careers and Boston is edging for one last run before a rebuild period awaits. At +325, the Bruins are looking awfully promising to win the conference title.
Carolina Hurricanes +400
Holding the second spot in the league and in the conference, the Hurricanes have suddenly turned into a storm to chase. Carolina was sluggish out of the gate and stumbled through a five-game skid in November. But the Canes regrouped – they have lost only one game since November 26 and are piping hot on a current 11-game winning streak.
The Hurricanes’ defensive play has been crucial to the team’s success. Carolina ranks tied for second in the NHL with a 2.54 GAA and its 82 percent efficiency on the penalty kill is eighth. The team has had to overcome the loss of starting goalie Frederik Andersen. But since the 33-year-old was placed on the IR with a lower-body injury, the tandem of veteran Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov, named December’s Rookie of the Month with a 7-0-1 record, have only dropped three regulation losses combined.
I’d keep an eye on whether this success is a phase or if it continues into the new year. Still, I’m confident that Boston’s consistency carries through the remainder of the season.
Value pick: Toronto Maple Leafs +400
The Leafs sit third in the conference with 52 points, rank eighth in the NHL in goals (3.38 per game), are tied for second in goals against (2.54 per game) and have the 10th-best power-play conversion rate (24.8 percent). The offense is explosive with Hart Trophy Sportsbook Auston Matthews coming off a 60-goal season, Mitch Marner now the franchise record holder for a 23-game point streak this year and William Nylander leading both of them with a team-best 21 goals.
Though it pains me to admit as a Habs fan, there’s no denying Toronto has some of the best scoring ability in the league. Why am I listing them as a value pick and continuing to doubt them? The playoff curse, of course. In case you haven’t heard, Toronto hasn’t advanced past the first round since 2004 and is currently 0-10 in series clinching contests since 2018. Not a good track record. The Leafs are a strong contender to rule the East but I’m not convinced they’re stronger than the Bruins or can break the dreaded first-round exit trend.
Who Has Won The Eastern Conference?
|Year||Sportsbook||Preseason Odds||When Did Their Season End?|
|2021-22||Tampa Bay Lightning||+350||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to Colorado (4-2)|
|*2019-20||Tampa Bay Lightning||+300||Stanley Cup Champions|
|2018-19||Boston Bruins||+600||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to St. Louis (4-3)|
|2017-18||Washington Capitals||+600||Stanley Cup Champions|
|2016-17||Pittsburgh Penguins||+450||Stanley Cup Champions|
|2015-16||Pittsburgh Penguins||+600||Stanley Cup Champions|
|2014-15||Tampa Bay Lightning||+900||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to Chicago (4-2)|
|2013-14||New York Rangers||+1000||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to LA (4-1)|
|2012-13||Boston Bruins||+650||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to Chicago (4-2)|
|2011-12||New Jersey Devils||+1800||Lost In Stanley Cup Final to LA (4-2)|
* The 2019-20 NHL season was shortened to 48 games due to COVID-19. Standings were based off points percentage.
Note the 2020-21 season is not listed as divisions were realigned due to COVID-19.
How To Bet On NHL Eastern Conference Odds:
Oddsmakers set and move lines during the NHL season for all divisions, awards and the Stanley Cup. You can bet on these odds using one of our top NHL sportsbooks, and use our Odds Calculator to figure out how much you’d win.
At Odds Shark, we use American odds, meaning the top-ranked team in Eastern Conference odds might be +400 odds to win. That means you would earn $400 for every $100 wagered if that team goes on to win the conference. However, a long-shot team may be +10000 to win the conference, meaning you win $10,000 for every $100 bet. It’s a better payout, but the line is set like that for a reason. If you’re betting on Eastern Conference odds, or any hockey bets, it’s important to weigh that big payout with the probability of the team actually winning.