Given that the NHL turned to a new format for this season, it was tough to know how things might play out. It would appear that players and fans alike are loving the regional division format and the back-to-back games against the same opponent, which makes things feel a bit like a playoff series. This is not a format that is likely to stay once we pull out of the pandemic, so we should all enjoy it while we have the chance. We have now played enough games to get an idea as to which teams are likely to be challenging for the Stanley Cup, although we do often see a dark horse emerge. Let’s take a look at the top 3 favorites right now, as well as one team that might just make a run come the playoffs. With that in mind, let’s jump right into action so you can keep planning your bets against their Stanley Cup odds.
Updated 2021 Stanley Cup Odds, picks, favorites & dark horses
Toronto Maple Leafs (+550)
Fans in Canada are particularly happy with the current divisional setup, as it means that they are guaranteed to have at least one team move on to the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Right now, the bookies have the Maple Leafs in as the favorite to go all the way, and they are certainly living up to the hype. The Leafs have 38 points thus far, the best in the league by a wide margin, and are dominating the North Division. This is the epitome of a sleeping giant, as they are one of the most popular teams in the NHL despite not winning a Stanley Cup since 1967. Could this be the year their cold streak comes to an end?
Vegas Golden Knights (+600)
It usually takes an expansion team some time to become competitive, but the Vegas Golden Knights have been great since day one, making it to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. At 29 points, they have the lowest point total of any division leader, but they certainly look more than good enough to win the West and make a deep run once again, especially when you consider that they have only played 19 games, which is the lowest in the NHL. The Golden Knights are a very worthy favorite.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+600)
The Central Division is proving to be highly competitive, with just 1 point separating the top 3 teams. It is the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning who are leading the way for now, thanks in large part to their current 5-game win streak. Besides being able to score goals in bunches, the Lightning also have the best defensive record in the league, surrendering just 39 goals in 20 games. You hate to use the old cliché about defense winning championships, but in hockey, you see a goalie get hot in the playoffs and a team going far on the heels of that. Why not the Lightning again?
Edmonton Oilers (+2500)
There are fewer teams in the NHL more exciting to watch right now than the Edmonton Oilers. Led by Connor McDavid, their offense is an absolute joy to watch in action, racking up 80 goals in 25 games. The downside here is that they have given up 78 during that time, which is why they tend to be streaky. If they can tighten up on the defensive end, this could well be a team that makes a run to the Stanley Cup.
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