2018 Stanley Cup Odds Update: Vegas, Tampa Bay Headline NHL Betting Futures

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2018

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith skates with the puck against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
David Becker/Associated Press

The house may not always win, but the Vegas Golden Knights will gladly embrace their 24-6-2 home record to date.

After opening the season as a +20,000 long shot to win the Stanley Cup, the NHL's newest team leads the Pacific Division by 10 points. At +575 (wager $100 to win $575), the Knights share the designation of favorite to win the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.

While Vegas does boast the third-leading goal scorer in the league, William Karlsson, the play of 33-year-old goalie Marc-Andre Fleury can't be understated. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft ranks second in the league in goals-against average and save percentage and is a big reason why the Golden Knights have outscored their opponents by 45 goals this season.

The Lightning may not have climbed the same mountain as Vegas, but the NHL's first team to 90 points this season has sliced its +1,200 Stanley Cup opening odds in half. Not resting on its laurels, Tampa Bay was aggressive at the trade deadline and upgraded its already-stacked defense by acquiring Ryan McDonagh from the New York Rangers.

Winners of five straight and 7-2-1 over their past 10 games, the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators possess the third-best Cup odds at +700 after opening at +1,400. Potentially lost in the mix is the fact Nashville has six players with 40-plus points and six with 15 or more goals in addition to top-five goaltender Pekka Rinne between the pipes.

Pekka Rinne.
Pekka Rinne.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press/Associated Press

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins opened the season as +800 favorites to three-peat at sports betting sites. Despite a recent two-game losing streak, they are also 7-2-1 over their past 10 and only three points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins' 13-16-3 road record leaves a little to be desired, but Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel all rank top 12 in points scored, which allows them to remain a playoff threat.

The Boston Bruins, who have watched their Stanley Cup futures rise from +1,800 to +800 this term, made a splash at the trade deadline by acquiring veteran forward Rick Nash. For as well as they have played, their 38-15-8 record is muted somewhat by sharing a division with the Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs. At 39-20-7, the Leafs share the sixth-best Stanley Cup odds with the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets opened the season at +4,000 but have improved to +1,000 in the NHL futures. Led by Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine on offense and with Connor Hellebuyck among the top 10 best goalies in the league, the Jets are only three wins shy of matching last season's mark of 40 with five weeks to go.

                  

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week's top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

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