Given how infrequently we see the team with the best regular season record go on and win the Stanley Cup, we perhaps put a little too much stock in what teams do before the playoffs begin. That said, this season is a whole lot different than anything we have seen before. Due to the pandemic, the NHL took the step of realigning the division to create 4 regional divisions that cut down on travel while also building some great rivalries that will almost certainly carry over into the postseason. There are some great playoff races going on in all 4 divisions right now, but let’s take a closer look at the Central Division so you can continue planning your bets against their NHL Divisional odds.
Updated Odds to Win Central Division – NHL Betting
Tampa Bay Lightning (-170)
The defending Stanley Cup champions are in as the favorite to win the Central Division, but it is not going to be an easy road to get there. The Lightning are sitting atop the Central Division standings with 50 points and are one of only two teams to have cracked that point total at time of writing. The lead they have is tight, though, with the Hurricanes and Panthers both within a couple of points of the lead. The reality here is that the division crown is coming down to those three teams, as the rest of the group are far back and ready to duke it out for the final playoff spot.
Carolina Hurricanes (+180)
The Hurricanes are just a single point out of the top spot and actually have a game in hand to the Lightning, so by the time we post this, they may have already moved ahead, depending on how things shake out on Tuesday night. The point here is that this division is about as tight as it gets, so the margin for error coming down the homestretch is pretty slim. You would imagine that the Hurricanes and Panthers would be the teams duking it out for the top spot, but do not count out the other potential option in this division.
Florida Panthers (+750)
If you are looking to play a few bucks on a team at very decent odds, you might want to consider the Florida Panthers. As it stands right now, they are just 2 points behind the division leading Lightning, although they have played a couple more games. The Panthers are on a modest 2-game winning streak and are 6-4 in their last 10, so they may need to up the pace a little if they are to pull the upset and win the division.
There is no point in really talking about any of the teams outside of the top 3, as the chances of any of them making some kind of late run seems very slim indeed. As mentioned earlier in this piece, the battle for that group is for the 4th and final playoff spot.