The NHL season is right around the corner and teams are already starting to get warmed up in advance of Wednesday’s season-opening games.  Some teams, like the St. Louis Blues, can’t even get warmed up since the team’s plane won’t work, but others are showing why they’re already on top.

As the regular season gets ready to see the puck hit the ice tomorrow, it’s time to look at what’s expected to happen on the way to the Stanley Cup Championship.

As far as who could actually take the Cup, The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights are the only two teams with futures odds under 1000.  The Lightning sit at +650 and the Knights at +900.  Given the latter’s performance against the Sharks on Monday, a 5-1 preseason win, keeping an eye on how the team performs would be prudent for any gambler.

After these two, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche fall in line as the most likely candidates to go all the way.  If betting on a long shot is preferred, take a chance on either the Detroit Red Wings or the Ottawa Senators to make it.  A $10-wager would net $1,000 and $2,000, respectively.  It might be worth it, since even spending $10 at Starbucks doesn’t provide any return.

There are also a number of futures bets being put together for the season, just like what has been seen for years.  The difference this time, however, is that more states are starting to introduce legalized sports gambling and more data could cause odds to move more quickly than before.

In the meantime, though, the Lightning are expected to take the Eastern Conference.  This isn’t surprising, since the team is also expected to take the Stanley Cup.  If for any reason they falter, just like they did last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs are up next, 9/2.  The Boston Bruins follow with 11/2 odds and the Capitals currently sit at 9/1.

In the Western Conference, also in line with the prediction that it might go all the way this year, the Golden Knights could be the champs and currently offer 3/1 odds.  The team won the division in the 2017-2018 season, its first as an NHL franchise, and hopes to return once again this year.  If it doesn’t the 5/1 Avalanche are gearing up to make a run for the conference, followed by the Blues with their 7/1 odds.  The least likely is the squad out of LA, the Kings, which is offering 100/1 odds.

As if listening to a broken record, the Lightning are expected to take the Atlantic Division this year and its chances are so good that the odds are only listed as 1/1 – not much of a risk and definitely not much of a reward.  The Maple Leafs are 3/1 favorites, followed by the Bruins at 7/2.  At this point, it would be way too presumptuous to say how quickly those odds will change.

On the opposite side, the Pacific Division will most likely be taken by the Golden Knights, who currently have 4/5 odds.  If not them, then perhaps the Calgary Flames with 4/1 odds.  There’s also a chance that the Sharks could take the title and the team is only slightly longer at 5/1 odds.  If the gambling budget allows, take a little out for the Kings and take a chance with their 100/1 odds.

The Capitals are 7/2 favorites to take the Metropolitan Division and, after beating the Hurricanes this week, are ready to get off to a strong start.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are ready to fight for the title, as well, though and are currently tied with the Panthers at 4/1 odds.

In the Central Division, the Avalanche is almost certain to win, even though the team is currently facing 3/1 odds.  That’s still better than the Dallas Stars, tied at 7/2 with the Nashville Predators.

It’s going to be an interesting season and a lot of changes are coming down the pipe.  Stay up to date with all the action and get ready to pull the trigger on some key matchups in order to make the most out of gambling investments.