While the temperatures begin to rise outside, the action on the ice is also heating up with four tightly contested NHL restructured divisional races. Focusing in on one favorite or spotting a longshot offering long term value remains the best way to attack futures betting.
Bettors have quietly begun targeting the Carolina Hurricanes who have taken over the lead in the Central. Carolina, who were once being offered as high as +3500, have now fallen to odds of +1300 this week. The red-hot Colorado Avalanche have not only taken over the top spot to win the West (-275) but they have overtaken the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and become the overall betting favorites to hoist the Cup in 2021 at odds of +350. The Lightning, who have struggled of late - dropping five of their past seven games - have seen their odds rise from odds of +425 last month to +600 this week.
Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at any changes after more than a month of games in the NHL betting odds for each of the divisions as well as Stanley Cup futures at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds to Win 2021 Central Division
Tampa Bay +150
"Frankie Whispers" Breakdown: In a tightly bunched Central Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning 26-11-2 (54 points) have lost their spot atop the division after losing five of their last seven games. The defending Stanley Cup Champions have fallen behind both the Carolina Hurricanes 26-9-3 (55 points) and the Florida Panthers 26-10-4 (56 points) who lead the Central in points. Carolina has seen a dramatic shift in their betting odds now becoming the overwhelming favorite to win the Central seeing their odds drop from +265 in mid-March to -118 this week. The Hurricanes surge has been led by the efforts of goalie Petr Mrazek who has three shutouts in just six games this season. Florida, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped by Carolina on Tuesday, hold a one-point edge over Carolina, but the Hurricanes hold two games in hand.
Despite going a pedestrian 5-5-0 over their last 10 games, bettors should not fully discount Tampa Bay who possess the second-best goal differential (+35) of any team in the NHL thanks to defending Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy who continues to anchor the club with a 23-6-0 record combined with tying for the lead with a 2.00 GAA. The oddsmakers have knocked the Lightning from the top betting perch at odds of -240 two weeks ago to plus-odds of +150 this week.
Odds to Win 2021 East Division
NY Islanders +185
NY Rangers +7000
NJ Devils +100000
"Frankie Whispers" Breakdown:: The East has become a three-team race as the New York Islanders 25-10-4 (54 points) have seen their odds of +900 offered last month cut to +185 this week at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Islanders hold a slim advantage as the betting favorite to win the East over Washington and Pittsburgh thanks to their stellar 16-1-2 mark in the friendly confines of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Capitals 25-10-4 (54 points), who have won six of their last 10 games, witnessed their peak odds of +1000 offered last month sliced down to +200 this week. The Penguins are an amazing team to back at home posting a 16-3-1 record, however away from PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh is hard to trust only winning eight games (8-10-1).
Odds to Win 2021 North Division
"Frankie Whispers" Breakdown:: The Toronto Maple Leafs 27-10-3 (57 points), have once once become overwhelming prohibitive favorites (-715) to win the North, after going 8-1-1 SU in their last 10 games. Auston Matthews continues to shine, leading the league with 28 goals. The oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have adjusted the Maple Leafs from -200 favorites demanded late last month to win the North to odds of -715.
The Edmonton Oilers 24-14-2 (50 points), who possess the top two NHL scorers in Connor McDavid (23 goals; 45 assists, 68 points) and Leon Draisaitl (22 goals; 39 assists, 61 points), have now fallen seven-points behind Toronto and appear to be on the outside looking in for the North division title.
Odds to Win 2021 West Division
San Jose +10000
St. Louis +12500
LA Kings +20000
"Frankie Whispers" Breakdown:: The biggest shift we have witnessed of any division involves the top two teams in the West as the Colorado Avalanche 26-9-4 (56 points) have become prohibitive favorites (-275) over the Vegas Golden Knights 25-10-2 (52 points). The Avalanche have won five of their last six games and are 7-1-2 in their 10 games overall. Colorado continues to be led by star goalie Phillip Grubauer who owns the most wins (24), the best 2.00 GAA and leads the league in shutouts (5).
Only four-points separate the two clubs, but with 18 more games remaining on the schedule this race is far from over.
Odds to Win the Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay +600
NY Islanders +1400
NY Rangers +4500
San Jose +5500
St. Louis +6000
LA Kings +12500
NJ Devils +50000