Back in October, when online sportsbook Bovada released its opening odds for 2018 Stanley Cup futures betting, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t be further apart.
The Lightning, led by sniper Steven Stamkos, were listed among the NHL’s top contenders at (+1200). Meanwhile, entering their first season as an expansion franchise, the Golden Knights came in dead last at (+20000).
Today, the latest odds update puts the league-leading Lightning (46-17-4; 96 points) at the head of the pack with a (+550) price. But with the playoffs fast approaching, a Golden Knights (42-19-5; 87 points) team that has stunned the sporting world all season sits at (+600) to hoist the Cup.
Assembled largely from castoffs discarded by other teams in the expansion draft – as well as deft maneuvering in free agency by general manager George McPhee – a Vegas team expected to compete for draft position is primed for a playoff run.
Leading goal scorer William Karlsson has potted 35 thus far, while David Perron paces the team in assists with 44 helpers. And with three-time Cup winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury looking like his old self in the crease, the Golden Knights have built a comfortable nine-point lead in the Pacific.
As for the Lightning, the return of Stamkos after last year’s season-ending injury has certainly been a spark – but the offensive load has been shouldered by NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov (33-53-86). Add in the goaltending exploits of Andrei Vasilevskiy, the league-leader with 39 wins, and Tampa Bay appears poised to capture the Presidents’ Trophy, if not the Cup.
Their closest competitor on the Bovada betting board is the Nashville Predators (43-14-9; 95 points), who actually have identical odds at (+550) after opening the year at (+1400). After last year’s “Smashville” squad fell to Pittsburgh in a six-game Stanley Cup final, pundits may have expected a hangover effect, but the Preds have already eclipsed last year’s point total with over a dozen games to go.
The Boston Bruins (41-15-8; 90 points) are next up at (+800), and while they trail the Lightning by six points in the Atlantic, three games in hand essentially puts them in a dead heat. Searching for their seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history, the Bruins have steadily climbed the betting board since opening the season at (+1800).
At (+850), the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins (38-25-4; 80 points) close out the list of contenders offering better than 10 to 1. They haven’t moved much from an opening line of (+850), and while it hasn’t been a perfect season for the Pens, elite scorers like Sidney Crosby (22-48-70) and Evgeni Malkin (37-45-82) are more than enough to mask this dynasty’s deficiencies.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Chicago Blackhawks (29-30-8; 66 points) and New York Rangers (30-31-6; 66 points) are by far the league’s biggest disappointments.
The Blueshirts and Hawks opened the year at (+1400) and (+1600), respectively, but their last place performances have seen them plummet to “off the board” status.
See below for all the info on the 23 teams still vying for the most coveted trophy in all of sports, as currently listed on Bovada:
2018 NHL Stanley Cup Odds on Bovada
|Team||Stanley Cup Odds on 3/7|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+550|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+600|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1500|
|Los Angeles Kings||+2200|
|San Jose Sharks||+2500|
|St. Louis Blues||+3500|
|New Jersey Devils||+5000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+5000|
|New York Islanders||+10000|
|Detroit Red Wings||+30000|