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Odds to Win the 2018-19 Stanley Cup: Plenty of Shakeups On the Oddsboard

Sebastian Aho #20 of the Carolina Hurricanes and Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare for a faceoff during an NHL game on April 7, 2018 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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.

2018-19 Stanley Cup Odds
Toronto Maple Leafs+650
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
Calgary Flames+2500
Colorado Avalanche+2500
Columbus Blue Jackets+2800
Dallas Stars+3000
New Jersey Devils+3000
Carolina Hurricanes+3500
Chicago Blackhawks+3500
Edmonton Oilers+3500
Minnesota Wild+3500
Anaheim Ducks+4000
Montreal Canadiens+4000
Philadelphia Flyers+4000
St. Louis Blues+4000
Los Angeles Kings+5000
Florida Panthers+7000
Buffalo Sabres+8500
Vancouver Canucks+8500
Arizona Coyotes+10000
New York Islanders+10000
New York Rangers+12500
Ottawa Senators+30000
Detroit Red Wings+50000

Odds as of November 1 at Bovada

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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.

2018-19 Stanley Cup Odds
Toronto Maple Leafs+700
Tampa Bay Lightning+850
Winnipeg Jets+850
Nashville Predators+1100
Vegas Golden Knights+1100
Washington Capitals+1100
Boston Bruins+1100
Pittsburgh Penguins+1200
San Jose Sharks+1200
St. Louis Blues+2000
Los Angeles Kings+2600
Philadelphia Flyers+2600
Edmonton Oilers+3000
Anaheim Ducks+3000
Dallas Stars+3000
Columbus Blue Jackets+3000
Calgary Flames+3300
Chicago Blackhawks+3500
Minnesota Wild+3500
Colorado Avalanche+4000
New Jersey Devils+4000
Florida Panthers+4500
New York Rangers+8500
Carolina Hurricanes+10000
Montreal Canadiens+10000
Buffalo Sabres+10000
New York Islanders+10000
Arizona Coyotes+10000
Vancouver Canucks+12500
Detroit Red Wings+20000
Ottawa Senators+20000

Odds as of September 28 at Bovada