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Odds to Win the 2018-19 Stanley Cup: Here Come the Blues

St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) reacts after scoring in the first period during an NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues on February 09, 2019, at Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO.

The 2018-19 NHL season is in the stretch run with teams having roughly 20 games remaining until the playoffs, and the landscape of the Stanley Cup betting market couldn’t be more wide open right now.

The Tampa Bay Lightning top the championship list at Bovada with a price of +225, while the Calgary Flames (+700), San Jose Sharks (+700), Toronto Maple Leafs (+700), Winnipeg Jets (+750), Boston Bruins (+1200), Nashville Predators (+1200), New York Islanders (+1400), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1600) and St. Louis Blues (+1800) round out the top 10.

Blues are tearing up the NHL right now

It’s been a tale of two halves so far in the NHL campaign. Since the all-star break, a number of teams have made major strides up the standings while others have tumbled to the basement.

The St. Louis Blues are the most noteworthy team in that conversation. The Blues, who looked to be headed toward a high draft lottery pick at the end of 2018, have gone on an absolute tear since. St. Louis was riding a franchise-record 11-game winning streak as of February 21 and jumped from +8000 on January 3 to +1800 in Cup odds as a result. With a hot goaltender in Jordan Binnington and a reignited offense, the Blues look like a force to be reckoned with.

The Bruins, another hot team, are playing their best hockey of the season right now. Winners of six in a row, Boston is sitting comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division standings as of this writing. The Islanders top the Metropolitan with a record of 35-18-6 and are now +1400 to win the hardware after being available for +2400 in early January.

Ducks, Avalanche and Sabres are trending downward

On the flip side, three squads have seen their Stanley Cup odds plummet. The Anaheim Ducks looked like a potential playoff team when 2019 began but have fallen off a cliff since, sitting at 24-27-9 and well back of the postseason hunt. The Colorado Avalanche (+2600 to +6600) and Buffalo Sabres (+2500 to +5500) join the Ducks in that list.

Take a look at the book’s full list of odds. Who do you think is going to win the Stanley Cup in June? Have your say in the comment section below.

2018-19 Stanley Cup Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning+225
Calgary Flames+700
San Jose Sharks+700
Toronto Maple Leafs+700
Winnipeg Jets+750
Boston Bruins+1200
Nashville Predators+1200
New York Islanders+1400
Pittsburgh Penguins+1600
St. Louis Blues+1800
Washington Capitals+2000
Vegas Golden Knights+2200
Montreal Canadiens+2500
Columbus Blue Jackets+3000
Carolina Hurricanes+4000
Dallas Stars+4000
Buffalo Sabres+5500
Minnesota Wild+6000
Colorado Avalanche+6600
Edmonton Oilers+7000
Vancouver Canucks+7000
Chicago Blackhawks+7500
Arizona Coyotes+12500
Philadelphia Flyers+12500
Anaheim Ducks+15000
Florida Panthers+15000
New York Rangers+15000
Los Angeles Kings+25000
Detroit Red Wings+30000
New Jersey Devils+35000
Ottawa Senators+35000

Odds as of February 21 at Bovada

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With the calendar turning to 2019, the landscape of the NHL has shifted rapidly in the matter of a few months. When it comes to odds on which club will hoist the Stanley Cup in June, the Tampa Bay Lightning top the list.

The Lightning are the +300 front-runners to go all the way this season, with the Toronto Maple Leafs (+450), Winnipeg Jets (+1000), Calgary Flames (+1100), San Jose Sharks (+1100), Washington Capitals (+1200), Nashville Predators (+1400), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1400), Vegas Golden Knights (+1700) and Columbus Blue Jackets (+2000) comprising the rest of the top 10.

Lightning are undisputedly the team to beat

As of January 3, the Bolts were sitting head and shoulders above the rest of the league with a sparkling record of 31-7-2 SU. Tampa is currently riding a six-game winning streak and is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games.

With a star-studded forward group led by Nikita Kucherov (65 points), Brayden Point (52) and Steven Stamkos (43), along with standout netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, it would be a major shock to see Tampa lose its favorite label before the playoffs. Tampa Bay opened the campaign with the second-best odds to win the Cup (+850) but has since leapfrogged Toronto, which opened with a league-leading price of +700.

Flames look like legitimate Stanley Cup contenders

There’s been no shortage of surprises on the ice this season, but the Flames rising to the top of the Western Conference is the biggest one. Calgary occupied the No. 1 spot in the West standings as of this writing at 25-12-4 and sat two points ahead of Winnipeg and Vegas.

Goaltending has long been an issue for the Flames, but Mike Smith (12-8-1) and David Rittich (13-4-3) have fared well enough to keep them in games so far. The young Flames are well-rounded from top to bottom and boast one of the most exciting forward groups in the league with Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk paving the way, so don’t be surprised if their odds continue to improve from here on out.

Three teams are trending in the wrong direction

To say the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers have disappointed this year would be an understatement. The veteran-laden Kings are showing their age while becoming one of the slowest teams in the league and have a 16-22-3 record to prove it. L.A. started the year with the 11th-best odds to win the Cup (+2600) but are an afterthought at this point.

The Blues, who were one spot above the Kings on the odds list at +2000 prior to the season opener, look like a team in disarray. St. Louis is in the basement of the Western Conference (15-18-4), so it’s safe to say general manager Doug Armstrong’s roster overhaul in the summer hasn’t worked out.

Fresh off a surprise postseason appearance, the Flyers (15-19-5) were primed for big things this year but haven’t been able to live up to expectations. Philly has started four goaltenders already but made the decision to call up goaltender of the future Carter Hart to the big club, which has at least given some optimism for a frustrated fan base.

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Hockey is widely perceived as the toughest of the four major North American professional sports to predict, and a month into the 2018-19 NHL season, the race to be crowned Stanley Cup champion is once again wide open at sportsbooks.

At Bovada, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the +650 Stanley Cup favorites, with the Tampa Bay Lightning (+700), Nashville Predators (+850), Boston Bruins (+1000), Winnipeg Jets (+1000), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1100), San Jose Sharks (+1200), Washington Capitals (+1400), Vegas Golden Knights (+1600) and Calgary Flames (+2500) rounding out the top 10.

No shortage of surprises so far

It’s been an interesting opening month on the ice, to say the least. As of November 1, the Penguins (6-2-2) topped the Metropolitan Division, while the Lightning (8-2-1) reigned supreme in the Atlantic. Out west, the Predators (9-3-0) and Vancouver Canucks (8-6-0) led the Central and Pacific divisions, respectively.

The biggest surprise team so far is undoubtedly the Carolina Hurricanes, who were +10000 at the beginning of the campaign but are now +4000 to win the second Cup in franchise history. Led by Sebastian Aho, who has 17 points through 12 games, the Hurricanes look like a completely different team from last year’s 83-point club.

The Hurricanes have gone from +10000 to +4000 in Stanley Cup odds.

The ’Canes haven’t made the playoffs since the 2008-09 campaign and they haven’t had this type of a start in quite some time. If the three-headed goaltending trio of Petr Mrazek, Curtis McElhinney and Scott Darling can continue to exceed expectations, Carolina could be a legitamte threat in the Eastern Conference.

Other teams that have experienced meteoric rises on the oddsboard are the Montreal Canadiens (+10000 prior to the season to +4000), Canucks (+12500 to +8500) and Colorado Avalanche (+4000 to +2500). Out of those three, the Avs (7-3-2) are the likeliest candidates to maintain their red-hot pace, but stranger things have happened in the NHL.

Who’s trending downward?

When it comes to underperforming clubs, four teams stick out at the shop. The St. Louis Blues, who were +2000 in early October, were lauded by many thanks to their busy offseason, but their new additions haven’t panned out thus far. The Blues (3-4-3) are now +4000 at Bovada.

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Flyers (+2600 to +4000), Los Angeles Kings (+2600 to +5000) and Florida Panthers (+4500 to +7000) have all been major letdowns after four weeks. There’s still plenty of time for them to right the ship, but their outlook is bleak.

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As per usual, sportsbooks are expecting another wide-open season on the ice. According to oddsmakers, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the stand-alone favorites to go all the way in the 2018-19 NHL campaign.

At Bovada, the John Tavares-led Maple Leafs lead the way at +650 odds, with the Tampa Bay Lightning (+800), Winnipeg Jets (+850), Nashville Predators (+1100), Vegas Golden Knights (+1100), Washington Capitals (+1100), Boston Bruins (+1100), Pittsburgh Penguins (+1200), San Jose Sharks (+1200) and St. Louis Blues (+2000) rounding out the top 10. For a comprehensive betting breakdown of the top wagers for every NHL team, check out my best bets article here.

Addition of Karlsson has the Sharks looking scary

After months of speculation, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion finally decided to pull the trigger and trade franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson to the Sharks for forward Chris Tierney, defenseman Dylan DeMelo and forward prospects Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers, as well as a first-round draft pick (2019 or 2020) and a second-round pick in 2019. If the Sharks miss the postseason this year, that first-rounder will be in 2019; otherwise, it’s a 2020 first-round pick that will go to Ottawa.

The Sharks’ championship odds moved from +1600 to +1500 after the Karlsson trade.

With Karlsson in the fold, the Sharks now possess the best one-two punch on the blue line in the NHL with the Swede lining up next to Brent Burns. San Jose is clearly going all-in right now, and despite the franchise’s history of excellent regular seasons followed by disappointing playoff showings, many fans and pundits alike are expecting the Sharks to make a serious push for Lord Stanley’s holy grail. In light of the Karlsson trade, the Sharks’ Cup odds shifted from +1600 to +1200.

Plenty of value in current Cup odds

Some professional sports leagues have been criticized for their lack of parity (looking at you, NBA), but the same certainly can’t be said about the NHL. For starters, at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, who could’ve predicted the Washington Capitals – a franchise synonymous with postseason failures – would finally get over the hump and win their first championship over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights?

That Stanley Cup matchup was proof of the unpredictability of the NHL, and sharp puck bettors can find tons of value on the oddsboard ahead of the upcoming season. A few teams I like are the Blues and Calgary Flames (+3300).

The Flames have a talented mix of young stars and seasoned veterans and could raise some eyebrows in 2018-19 if the goaltending holds up, but there’s plenty of traction on the tires of 36-year-old starting netminder Mike Smith. The Blues had arguably the best offseason out of any team in the league (outside of Toronto), as the club traded for Ryan O’Reilly and signed Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon in free agency.

Take a look at the book’s full list of Stanley Cup odds. Who are you putting your money on? For more hockey betting information, head over to our NHL page ahead of puck drop of the new season on October 3.