Here is a look at the separate divisions and an analysis of their NHL odds and betting picks for this season.
Boston Bruins is the runaway favorite at +165, and while there are a few challengers in the division, the Bruins are the strongest and most consistent. Tampa Bay and Montreal Canadiens are next at +420 and +430, respectively, then you have Detroit at +700 and Toronto at +800. There isn’t a lot to say that any of these teams can overtake the Bruins, who basically bring back the same team from last season’s division winners. This is a team that is built for a long season and a run to the Stanley Cup finals; it should come as no surprise that the Bruins are favored to emerge from the East.
The Blackhawks are favored to win the Central at +170 and they’re also reloading for another trip to the conference finals. They’ll have to deal with St. Louis Blues at +300, and the Blues made some moves to compete with the Blackhawks, who booted St. Louis out of the playoffs and these two are building their rivalry back to what it was in the 1980s. But don’t forget about Colorado at +550 and Dallas at +750, starting with the Colorado Avalanche, who shocked everyone to win the Central last season. They won’t be a surprise again, but they have a good, young lineup that has room to improve and they are one of the most exciting teams in hockey to watch. The same goes for Dallas Stars, who would be a fantastic value NHL pick and if they get good goaltending, you never know what they’re going to do.
Pittsburgh is favored here at +250, but they overhauled the front office and have a new head coach, not to mention some potentially damaging losses on the blue line. This will put a lot of pressure on their offensive stars, who lost some up front as well. The New York Rangers are next at +350, and they have to ride the good vibes they got from last season’s stunning run to the Cup finals, where they lost to Los Angeles. The value pick of the division comes from Washington, who are rated at +700 and they have a new head coach who values defense. They also raided the Pittsburgh Penguins of two very good defenders.
The Los Angeles Kings are favored at +175 to win after taking the Stanley Cup, and they’re a very good team, one of the favorites to lift the Cup again. However, the Kings don’t seem to put everything into the regular season; this is a playoff team that steps up as the stakes get higher. Anaheim Ducks is next at +300 in the NHL Odds and they have won the division in each of the last two seasons, but they might be looking more at the Kings’ style and not putting so much into the regular season, either. San Jose is rated at +450, but they’re a mess after losing a 3-0 series lead in the first round against the Kings. Vancouver rounds out the top teams at +650, but they’ll need excellent goaltending to beat out the California trio.