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Stanley Cup Odds: Lightning Favored in New Format

Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs guards the net against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Seventy-five days after the NHL announced a pause on the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league’s return-to-play plan on May 26.

As a result, oddsmakers have updated their Stanley Cup odds lists for the unprecedented new playoff format.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the +550 favorites at Bovada. Here’s a look at the championship odds for all 24 clubs at the shop heading into the second day of NHL playoff action:

Odds to Win the 2019-20 Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay Lightning+550
Boston Bruins+600
Colorado Avalanche+700
Vegas Golden Knights+750
Philadelphia Flyers+1000
St. Louis Blues+1100
Washington Capitals+1200
Pittsburgh Penguins+1200
Dallas Stars+1500
Toronto Maple Leafs+1800
Edmonton Oilers+2200
Chicago Blackhawks+2500
New York Rangers+3300
Vancouver Canucks+3300
Nashville Predators+4500
Carolina Hurricanes+4500
Florida Panthers+5000
Calgary Flames+5000
Arizona Coyotes+5500
Winnipeg Jets+6000
Minnesota Wild+6600
Montreal Canadiens+6600
Columbus Blue Jackets+7000

Odds as of August 2 at Bovada

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Toronto, Edmonton Chosen As Hub Cities

For the first time since 2011, the Stanley Cup will be awarded in Canada. That’s because Toronto and Edmonton will serve as hub cities when NHL action resumes on August 1. Edmonton is hosting the Western Conference and Toronto the Eastern Conference.

The Stanley Cup Final will be played in Edmonton in October. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all games will be played in empty arenas, and players will be living in their own “bubble” communities during the course of the postseason.

How Does the Playoff Format Work?

The bottom eight teams in each conference will play best-of-five play-in series, while the top four have a round robin to determine seeding. Once the field narrows to 16, the teams will play traditional best-of-seven series.

To see the latest odds to win each play-in series, check out our NHL Series Price page.

In the East, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers occupy the top four spots. Out in the West, the defending champion St. Louis Blues are joined by the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.

To learn more about how the new format will change the betting landscape, visit our article How the 2020 NHL Playoff Format Impacts Betting Odds.

NHL Draft Lottery Mishap Will Impact Play-In Series

Fans of teams that didn’t make it to the return-to-play plan only had one thing left to cheer for: the NHL Draft Lottery on June 26. The draft lottery ended up providing plenty of intrigue, just not in the way that those fans were anticipating.

The lottery included the seven teams not part of the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles (except for the San Jose Sharks, whose pick was owned by the Ottawa Senators), plus eight placeholder positions for the teams that are eliminated in the play-in qualifiers. A separate drawing was held for each of the top three picks.

The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft will end up being determined by the second phase of the NHL Draft Lottery based on the results of the first phase, as the top selection will go to one of the teams that fails to make it past the qualifying round. Each of the eliminated teams will have a 12.5 percent chance of attaining the No. 1 pick.

The Detroit Red Wings, who had the best odds to win the No. 1 pick, fell to No. 4. The Los Angeles Kings moved up to No. 2, while the Ottawa Senators will have the No. 3 and No. 5 picks. The Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres will pick at Nos. 6, 7 and 8, respectively.

Winners & Losers From the 24-Team Playoff System

The extended period of rest over the past few months has allowed injured players to heal up, benefiting previously banged-up teams like the Avalanche to gear up for an extended playoff run. The Avs saw their title odds improve from +800 to +750 in light of the announcement of the new format.

Other teams that saw their odds trend in the right direction are the Capitals (+1400 to +1200), Penguins (+1500 to +1200) and Stars (+1800 to +1500).

The 24-team format has effectively halted any momentum teams had as of mid-March, and it’s clear that certain franchises are behind the 8-ball as the league approaches the new system. The Predators saw their odds worsen from +1800 to +4000 after Bettman’s announcement, as Nashville draws an opening-round matchup with the Coyotes.

Arizona is a talented team that was leading the Pacific Division prior to making the Taylor Hall trade in December, and the layoff has helped the ’Yotes get healthy. The Preds have had an up-and-down campaign in 2019-20 and will have to find a source of consistency in the most unique playoffs in NHL history.

What is a Futures Bet on Stanley Cup Odds?

Before hockey season starts, oddsmakers will release their lines on each team’s chance of winning the shiny championship trophy. If you were to place a wager at any point before the Stanley Cup Final, you would be making a futures bet. This is a bet that deals with events that will happen in time. For instance, you could bet on the Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup in September, but you would not see the results of your bet until the postseason.

How to Read NHL Stanley Cup Odds

At your sportsbook of choice, you’ll see Stanley Cup odds listed like this:

Tampa Bay Lightning +300

Toronto Maple Leafs +450

Vegas Golden Knights +500

Boston Bruins +800

Unlike a moneyline bet where there is a clear favorite and underdog, for an NHL futures bet, you would consider the team with the lowest odds as the fave. In this case, it’s Tampa. The team with the highest odds would be the dog. For this example, it’s Boston.

Let’s say hockey season is about to start and you’ve done your research. You believe that it’s Toronto’s year, so you lay down $40 on the Leafs to win the Cup. If they do win it all, you’d see a payout of $220 – your original $40 is returned along with your winnings of $180.

You can use our Odds Calculator to figure out what you’d win based on the amount you bet and the odds.

When it comes to futures, get in on the action early. The closer it gets to the NHL playoffs, the more the odds will shift. Oddsmakers update the lines for these bets frequently as teams slip and fall in the standings. Injuries, trades and coaching changes will affect a team’s odds of making it to the Cup Final, and those who set the lines take that into consideration when updating the odds.

As mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that when you make your NHL futures picks, you won’t see a return until Lord Stanley’s Cup is awarded to the winner.