The NHL drops the puck on its 2018-19 season Wednesday night.
And already, there are Vegas odds on who the 16 playoff teams and the Stanley Cup champion will be. Hint — it’s not the reigning champ Washington Capitals nor the runner-up Las Vegas Golden Knights that odds have to be the last team standing in June. You can bet on NHL Futures now if you are in New Jersey at DraftKings Sportsbook!
Westgate futures odds have none other than the Tampa Bay Lighting as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup championship, entering this season with 7/1 odds. Rounding out the top five are the Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs with 8/1 odds apiece, followed by the defending champ Capitals and Nashville Predators, each with 10/1 odds.
The Lightning are coming off a 54-23-5 record, which was third best in the NHL last season. Right wing Nikita Kucherov recorded a 100-point season, while center Steven Stamkos added 86 points, making for quite the one-two punch. And they’re equally electrifying on defense with Andrei Vasilevskiy tying for the most wins at goalkeeper last season with 44 and Victor Hedman winning the Norris Trophy.
Here are the top odds for the Eastern Conference:
Maple Leafs (+450)
Boston Bruins (+650)
Pittsburgh Penguins (+650)
Washington Capitals (+700)
Columbus Blue Jackets (+1200)
Philadelphia Flyers (+1200)
New Jersey Devils (+2000)
Here are the top odds for the Western Conference:
Nashville Predators (+550)
Winnipeg Jets (+550)
Golden Knights (+600)
San Jose Sharks (+600)
Edmonton Oilers (+1200)
St. Louis Blues (+1200)
Anaheim Ducks (+1400)
Los Angeles Kings (+1400)
We’ve seen futures odds be right on the money — pun intended — and not even close before, so it remains to be seen if these come to fruition. Will the Lightning, who were eliminated in a seven-game series against the eventual-champion Capitals, take that extra step and be crowned lords of the ice?
Or will a team outside the Top 5 futures odds sneak up and shock the league?