• The Eastern Conference is loaded, but there are some strong value bets in the Western Conference to win this upcoming Stanley Cup.
By Michael Blinn
August 13, 2018

When the Washington Capitals kick off their Stanley Cup defense on Oct. 3, they’ll have just the fifth-best Vegas odds to win it all again.

The Caps sit at 10/1 according to bookmaker William Hill, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs, all at +850 to open things up.

Washington will have to fend off the Lightning, a legit contender in the Eastern Conference, while the Golden Knights take the ice with some vengeance after falling to the Caps in the Stanley Cup Final. The Pens boast a 1-2 punch of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin down the middle, though the Maple Leafs instantly upgraded their lineup by adding prized free agent John Tavares to an up-and-coming lineup that features Auston Matthews.

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Of course, it’s a long season and there are plenty of teams waiting for a chance to show what they can do—and how much they’ve improved in the offseason. Here’s a look at a few more teams that could provide some value for bettors eyeing Stanley Cup odds for this upcoming season:

St. Louis Blues (28/1)

After just missing out on the playoffs in 2018, there are great expectations for a retooled offense in St. Louis. Adding Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Pat Maroon to a young offense led by Vladimir Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz could mean big things, especially if Robby Fabbri and Nikita Soshnikov continue to develop. Alex Pietrangelo helms a defense that has little room for injury. Jake Allen has shown he can carry the load for the Blues, but just how far he can take them is a big question.

Nashville Predators (12/1)

The Predators having just the sixth-best odds to win the Cup seems weirdly low. This is a team with one of the best defenses in the NHL, playing in front of a resurgent Pekka Rinne in goal. GM David Poile hasn’t been afraid to pull the trigger when it comes to adding a game-changing piece to his roster—look no further than Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Filip Forsberg or even Ryan Hartman. Homegrown products Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala have shown a propensity for clutch antics, and if rookie Eeli Tolvanen can make some noise in his first full season, it’ll be hard to deny Nashville the title of Stanley Cup favorite.

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Carolina Hurricanes (100/1)

New owner, new GM, new coach, new look. The Hurricanes remade themselves over this summer, adding Dougie Hamilton and Calvin de Haan to a young set of blueliners that already boasted Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin and Trevor van Riemsdyk. There are big hopes on 2018 No. 2 pick Andrei Svechnikov to chip in on offense to help fill in for the loss of Jeff Skinner, while Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas will get a chance to open things up on the frontline. How far the Canes can go is very contingent on whether or not Scott Darling can rediscover his game after a disappointing first season with Carolina.

Arizona Coyotes (75/1)

The Coyotes are a deep, deep sleeper, but the rebuild in the desert is poised to pay off. Derek Stepan is the veteran on an offense loaded with burgeoning stars Alex Galchenyuk, Clayton Keller and Vinnie Hinostroza. Having Christian Fischer and Christian Dvorak develop further after their first seasons will only help the cause—as will a full year with Antti Raanta in net. The Coyotes could easily make some noise in a wide-open Pacific division.

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