The Pittsburgh Penguins weren't the best team in the NHL's Eastern Conference during the regular season, but they're favored at the sportsbooks to advance to the final as Stanley Cup playoff betting gets underway this week.
The return of Sidney Crosby to active duty wasn't quite enough to march the Penguins into the top spot in the Eastern standings, so they've had to settle for the fourth seed and a date with the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs this week.
At TopBet the Penguins are favored at +150 to win the NHL's Eastern Conference, with the Flyers back at +650 on those NHL odds. Sandwiched between those two clubs are the New York Rangers (+200) and the Boston Bruins (+450), who open against the Ottawa Senators (+1500) and the Washington Capitals (+1500).
The New Jersey Devils are then listed at +1000 at TopBet to win the NHL's Eastern Conference and advance to the Stanley Cup final, and they'll be taking on the Florida Panthers (+1800) in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers are the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and the Devils are the sixth seed.
First-Round Eastern Playoff Matchups & Betting Trends:
No. 1 New York Rangers vs. No. 8 Ottawa Senators
The Rangers went 1-3 against the Senators this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 1-2-1 in those four contests.
No. 2 Boston Bruins vs. No. 7 Washington Capitals
The Bruins went 1-3 against the Capitals this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 2-2 in those four contests.
No. 3 Florida Panthers vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils
The Panthers went 2-2 against the Devils this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 2-1-1 in those four contests.
No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers
The Penguins went 2-4 against the Flyers this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 3-2-1 in those six contests.
Odds to Win NHL Eastern Conference at TopBet:
Pittsburgh Penguins +150
New York Rangers +200
Boston Bruins +450
Philadelphia Flyers +650
New Jersey Devils +1,000
Ottawa Senators +1,500
Washington Capitals +1,500
Florida Panthers +1,800