Ice, ice baby…the NHL is back in a big way hockey gamblers!
That’s right…in a mere matter of days the NHL and all of its fast-paced, hard-hitting action will be back in the spotlight in a big way – and this time…for a full season. Making things even better for ice hockey betting enthusiasts is expert look at the contenders and pretenders to win the 2013-14 NHL Stanley Cup Trophy.
Did You Know that the NHL had their first division realignment since 1998 this offseason?
The NHL has gone from six divisions to four with the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets moving east and the Winnipeg Jets moving west. The realignment does a better job at keeping teams in their time zone:
Now, with opening night getting started on Tuesday, Oct. 1, let’s get the ball rolling here.
Odds to win 2013-14 NHL Championship
Cream of the Crop
- Pittsburgh Penguins +575
- Chicago Blackhawks +675
- Boston Bruins +900
- St. Louis Blues +1000
- Los Angeles Kings +1500
- Detroit Red Wings +1300
- Vancouver Canucks +1300
Analysis: The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup Trophy in four years last season, taking home the bacon by beating Boston Bruins 4-2 in the finals in a strike-shortened season that had just 48 regular season games.
Chicago will be looking to win consecutive titles for the first time in franchise history, but NHL gamblers should know that no team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups since Detroit accomplished the feat back in 1997-98.
Still, the Blackhawks are loaded with talented players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so their status as the No. 2 favorite to win it all is well deserved.
Nevertheless, the Pittsburgh Penguins are installed as favorites and for good reason – they’re also loaded – and quite hungry after getting swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.
If gifted center Sidney Crosby can stay healthy for the majority of the season (and that’s always questionable) then the Penguins could use their up-tempo offense to blow right by their Eastern Conference counterparts.
Of course, the Penguins may have to get past the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins again and that’s not going to be an easy task, particularly seeing as how the Bruins gave up the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.
Despite getting knocked out in the first round of the layoffs a year ago, the St. Louis Blues have an outstanding defense that oddsmakers believe will make them an even more powerful force this coming season.
The L.A. Kings won the Stanley Cup two years ago and reached the Western Conference Finals last season, so clearly, they are a team to keep an eye on this season.
The Detroit Red Wings may need time to adjust to the Eastern Conference before really hitting their stride, maybe around mid-season while the Vancouver Canucks will look to improve on their division title from a year ago and actually make it out of the first round this time around.
Trio of Title Contenders
- San Jose Sharks +1600
- New York Rangers +1800
- Ottawa Senators +3150
Analysis: The San Jose Sharks nearly reached the Western Conference Finals a year ago and could very well take a step forward this coming season after losing to L.A. 4-3 in their thrilling seven-game Western Conference semifinals. The New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators both also reached the Eastern Conference semifinals a year ago and both will be legit contenders this coming season.
The Best of the Rest
- Anaheim Ducks +2000
- New York Islanders +3150
- Edmonton Oilers +3150
- Minnesota Wild +3500
- Toronto Maple Leafs +2750
- Montreal Canadiens +2500
- Philadelphia Flyers +3500
- Washington Capitals +2750
- Dallas Stars +5000
- Tampa Bay Lightning +4000
- Carolina Hurricanes +3500
- Columbus Blue Jackets +4000
- New Jersey Devils +4000
- Winnipeg Jets +4000
- Colorado Avalanche +4500
- Nashville Predators +4500
- Phoenix Coyotes +5500
- Buffalo Sabres +7500
- Calgary Flames +7500
- Florida Panthers +10000
Analysis: Out of this pairing of mostly mediocre teams, the Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs all reached the playoffs a year ago and could surprise some unsuspecting opponent if they get in again.