NHL Playoff Preview
NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs
1. Tampa Bay Lightning +200
The Lightning ran away with the Atlantic Division. Tampa actually bottomed out the entire Eastern Conference with 128 points. They’re a massive favorite to win the Cup.
WC2. Columbus Blue Jackets +2200
Columbus’ 98 points sends them to the playoffs, but they had to come on late to get in. That’s actually a good sign. The Blue Jackets could be peaking at the right time.
2. Boston Bruins +1000
The Bruins battled Tampa tough during the season. The Lightning got such a massive lead that the closest Boston could get, even with a 20-point streak during the season, was within 19. The Bruins’ 107 points are second in the Eastern Conference, though. They appear to be the Lightning’s biggest competition for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs +1800
Toronto’s odds to win the Stanley Cup were set at +850 before the season started. The Leafs defense was exposed some during the regular season, which is why their odds have gone up considerably before the playoffs.
1. Washington Capitals +1200
We must give the defending champs respect. For most of the season, the Islanders led the Metropolitan Division. Only in March did the Caps overtake NYI. Washington, like Columbus, could be peaking when it matters most.
WC1. Carolina Hurricanes +2500
Carolina was consistent during the season. But, they’re going to have to step it up in the playoffs if they hope to have any shot of a Stanley Cup title.
2. New York Islanders +2000
The Islanders most definitely deserve acknowledgement as an Eastern Conference contender. They lost out on the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan by a single point. They ended up with 103, while Washington had 104.
3. Pittsburgh Penguins +1600
Pittsburgh’s BetAmerica odds tell us how deep the Eastern Conference is after Tampa Bay. The Penguins won back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 2017, making them the most experienced team in the NHL playoffs.
NHL Western Conference Playoffs
1. Nashville Predators +1200
It took Nashville almost the entire regular season to overtake Winnipeg. But, they did by a single point, 100 to 99, and now have a great shot of returning to the Stanley Cup Final.
WC1. Dallas Stars +2200
Dallas allows 2.4 goals per game, ranking second in the NHL. The Stars are a good enough team to upset Nashville in Round 1. If they accomplish that, who knows?
2. Winnipeg Jets +1500
Winnipeg ended the regular season losing 5 of their last 7. The Jets could turn it on quickly, though. They’re going to have to if they want to get by St. Louis in Round 1.
3. St. Louis Blues +1400
The Blues, like Boston in the Eastern Conference, had a massive winning streak during the season. That’s what put them back into playoff contention. St. Louis was so good in the second half of the season that they ended up losing out on the No. 1 seed from the Central by a single point, just like Winnipeg.
1. Calgary Flames +1000
Like Boston, Calgary offers second-choice odds on BetAmerica to win the Stanley Cup. The consistent Flames had no real ups or downs during the season. They just hit the ice and did their job, winning the Pacific Division over San Jose by 6 points.
WC2. Colorado Avalanche +4000
The Avalanche played great in the first couple of months of the season. After those first two months, they sort of imploded. There was a moment where many questioned if Colorado might even make the playoffs. Here they are, though, which means they’ve got a chance, even if it’s not a good one.
2. San Jose Sharks +1100
The Sharks had won 1 of 10 before their final two regular-season games. They did end the regular season on a high note, beating Edmonton 3-2 and Colorado 5-2. Do the tea leaves say San Jose remains hot in the playoffs? Or, will they revert to the form that led to those 9 losses?
3. Vegas Golden Knights +1100
Vegas was the surprise team from the West in last year’s Stanley Cup. This season, they struggled mightily in the first half before coming on in the second half. With Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, the Golden Knights can most definitely win the Stanley Cup. They might even be an overlay at the +1100 BetAmerica odds.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER. 21+. NJ only. Odds may vary. Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.