We’re getting into the doldrums of the NHL offseason, with little news to report and many teams having their rosters just about set for next season. However, that doesn’t mean that betting has to stop, as we’ve got an early report on the odds to win the Eastern Conference in 2014. The winner of the Eastern Conference will be determined by which East team makes it into the Stanley Cup Final. Let’s take a look at a few of the favorites, and also some dark horses worth taking a fly on.
The odds shown below were taken from Bodog sportsbook, our top rated bookie for Canadian bettors.
Pittsburgh Penguins – 5/2: There’s no real surprise here that the Penguins are the favorites to come out of the East, as they are also the favorites for the Stanley Cup. Although they were the favorites last year too, and were easily manhandled by Boston. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are generational talents to be sure, but they can’t always score four or five every night to make up for shaky goaltending. Even the favorites aren’t always a sure thing, so approach with a bit of caution for now.
Boston Bruins – 5/1: Last year’s Eastern Conference champs look like a good bet to repeat this year. Clearly the Penguins and the Bruins are head and shoulders above the rest of the East, at least it appears so thus far, but I’d take the Bruins over the Pens. Boston has great veterans that know how to win and, more importantly, excellent goaltending which could take them far again next year. The only thing to be wary of is the massive amount of games they will have played over the last two years by that point next season. Still, the Bruins are my personal pick, as of today.
Detroit RedWings – 17/2: It’s a bit of an interesting situation for Detroit, after moving over to the Eastern Conference this summer after many years as one of the top teams in the West. Early odds have the Wings flourishing in the East, but the style of play and how well they adapt may prove difficult for them. Keep an eye on how they adjust to the East in the first few months of the season before putting any money on them for a long post-season run.
New York Rangers – 11/1: The Rangers were among the favorites last year, and after finishing first in the Eastern Conference in 2011, why not? But for one reason or another, New York just hasn’t been able to get it done in the post-season. Things may be a little different though for the Rangers this season under new coach Alain Vigneault. Vigneault pushes a more up-tempo game which should solve some of their goal scoring woes, and goalie Henrik Lundqvuist is still one of the best in the world. An Eastern Conference Final appearance wouldn’t be surprising, nor would a berth in the Finals.
Ottawa Senators – 16/1: Though the Sens aren’t too far back in the race, there are many teams ahead of them listed with better odds. I think that’s due in part to the struggles the Sens had during the regular season last year with injuries. All of their best players in each position were injured for lengthy periods. However, a healthy Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson, as well as the addition of dynamic goal scorer Bobby Ryan, should make the Sens much more formidable. This is a team that is better than it has appeared to be recently, and worth taking a shot on.
New York Islanders – 16/1: The Islanders are in a very fortuitous situation right now, namely because their years of rebuilding are presently coming to fruition. Led by the brilliant John Tavares, the young stars in Long Island showed they were ready to take the next step when they gave the Penguins everything they could handle in the first round last year. The natural evolution should be a longer playoff run for the team next season, and another step towards becoming an elite team. There are still some weaknesses, especially between the pipes, but the Isles are close and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win at least a series or two next spring.
Head over to Bodog.eu to check out the complete list of NHL Stanley Cup odds! Bodog only accepts Canadian bettors, so they are dedicated to making sports betting easy and fun for Canadians, while providing great value.
And check out our NHL betting section for more on betting on the NHL this season.
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