We’re kicking off this two-part series by looking at the odds, picks, and best bets for the NHL Eastern Conference after the All-Star Break. Check out the Western Conference best bets here!
The All-Star Break has come and gone and the NHL is ready to start the unofficial second half of the season! Now is the time to get in some midseason NHL futures bets. Whether it be a team to make or miss the playoffs, win the division, conference, or Stanley Cup, there are angles to be taken advantage of coming out of the All-Star Break!
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NHL Eastern Conference Odds & Best Bets: Atlantic Division
Atlantic Division Standings & Odds
The Boston Bruins have absolutely run away with the Atlantic Divison and the odds reflect that. They are as high as -5000 to win the Atlantic on some books.
The Maple Leafs and Lightning are the only two teams that could realistically catch Boston, but even those chances are very slim. The Leafs are +2500 while the Lightning are +3000 to win the division.
Atlantic Division Best Bets
There are no bets worth making to win the division. However, there are a few teams on the playoff bubble with some value.
Buffalo Sabres to make playoffs (+300)
The Sabres are just one point out of a playoff spot (two wild card teams make the playoffs) and they may be ready to take that next step this season. Tage Thompson is becoming a star with Alex Tuch and Jeff Skinner providing some assistance as well.
Buffalo also has some cap space to work with, so the Sabres could be buyers at the trade deadline.
Odds of +300 imply just a 25% chance of making the playoffs. MoneyPuck currently gives the Sabres a 38.1% chance to make the playoffs.
The Sabres are a fun team to watch and root for as well. Why not sprinkle a little on +300?
Florida Panthers to miss playoffs (-160)
The Panthers are three points out of a playoff spot and have played three more games than the Penguins. They’d also have to leapfrog over two other teams to get into a wild card spot.
Florida won the Presidents’ Trophy last season but is in significant danger of missing the postseason this time around. Shipping out Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar for Matthew Tkachuk hasn’t worked out in their favor, among other things.
MoneyPuck gives the Panthers a 68.8 chance of missing the playoffs; -160 implies a 61.54% chance.
NHL Eastern Conference Odds & Best Bets: Metropolitan Division
Metropolitan Division Standings & Odds
There is a bit more drama in the Metropolitan Division, but not by too much.
The Hurricanes are the odds-on favorites once again despite a strong start by the Devils this season. Carolina is between -440 and -500 to win the Metropolitan while the Devils are as high as +400. Perhaps the Rangers have an outside chance at +2400, but that’s not very likely at all.
As a preseason backer of the Hurricanes, I’m pretty happy with how the season is turning out. However, there may be an argument to be made for the Devils at +400. They have two games in hand and are just eight points back of Carolina. If New Jersey wins those two contests they’re just four points back.
I’m not going to make Devils +400 a best bet, but I wouldn’t argue too hard against it if you wanted to lay a small wager on it.
Metropolitan Division Best Bets
As with the Atlantic Division, the best bets lie in the to make/miss the playoffs markets.
New York Islanders to make the playoffs (+300)
This is a great line for the Islanders, especially after their trade for Bo Horvat. Horvat gives them another legit weapon to go with Mathew Barzal up front.
The Islanders are two points back of the Penguins, but they have played three more games. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh is dealing with some injury issues — especially in net — and the Horvat trade could be what the Isles need to push them over the edge and back into the playoffs.
Mind you, however, that MoneyPuck only gives the Islanders a 13.1% chance to make the postseason. It’s also worth noting that the Isles are a playoff-type team. That is, if they get into the playoffs, they’re going to be a hard out.
For that reason, Islanders to win the Eastern Conference (+4000) or to win the Stanley Cup (+7500) could be good longshot bets to cash out, hedge, or just let ride if they make the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins to miss the playoffs (+300)
This line just seems too high for an aging team with injuries between the pipes. Tristan Jarry is apparently only day-to-day now, but who knows how long that lasts or if it’s a nagging injury.
Pittsburgh has been up and down this season and I wouldn’t trust Ron Hextall to go all-in — or in at all — at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Islanders have already made their big splash and could have more to come. The Penguins also have to worry about the Sabres and Panthers in their rearview mirror.
MoneyPuck has the Penguins at 59.4% to make the playoffs — 40.6% chance to miss — and +300 implies a 25% chance.
NHL Eastern Conference Best Bets
- Sabres to make the playoffs (+300)
- Panthers to miss the playoffs (-160)
- Islanders to make the playoffs (+300)
- Penguins to miss the playoffs (+300)
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