%After weeks of waiting and dormancy through what’s usually the most exciting time of the calendar year, the NHL agreed Tuesday to an expanded playoff format when hockey resumes this summer.
Yes, it’s complicated and a bit convoluted. However, a 24-team playoff means we get even more of the most thrilling postseason. Yeah, that’s a good thing, especially for NJ online sports betting.
NHL 2020 Playoff Plan
The top four teams in each conference will “finish regular-season play” with a group stage round-robin, based on regular-season rules and format. That will determine the top four seeds after the play-in round.
Those teams will face the four survivors of teams ranked fifth through 12th, who will play a best-of-five series to make the round of 16. No word if the league will do the traditional reseeding after the first round.
There are a lot of questions to yet be answered in terms of format, who plays where, etc. Of course, fans know that the season creeping into warmer months means ice quality becomes a factor. Add in the “hub cities” concept, and there’s no guarantee the fourth game in Las Vegas, Chicago, or even Edmonton will have the same sheet as the first game hours prior.
With the confirmation of the playoff format and the end of the regular season, the books brought back the Stanley Cup futures that have gone missing.
- Of course, the oddsmakers wanted to confirm the season would return before posting prices.
- If you’re holding a regular season prop bet, like team or player point totals, check with your book as some might void these plays.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds
- Most major books have re-established conference and Stanley Cup champion odds.
- Most of the prices, of course, are based on current seedings and regular-season finish.
For much of the year, the best team in hockey was the Boston Bruins. While the B’s couldn’t get it done last season at home against St. Louis, this is perhaps a stronger team and has earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference round-robin.
Most books have them as the top choice, ranging from +500 to +700.
With a 23.2 chance to win the cup, according to SportsClubStats.com projections, that favorite moniker seems fitting.
The only other team who’s top on some boards is Tampa Bay, Boston’s division rival. In the format, they could be the top seed and control the bracket with their deep lineup and excellent goaltending from Andrei Vasilevsky.
They’re favored at DraftKings and PlaySugarHouse at +650, which is a comparable price to elsewhere.
The Blues returned most of their Stanley Cup team and finished with the most points out West. However, most oddsmakers don’t have them as favorites to make the finals.
They’re available from +750 to +1100 at the major books.
Most books have put the shortest price on the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who will likely get a lot of action from their local supporters.
- Vegas is the favorite out of the West at three of the four major books, ranging from +700 to +850.
- They are also the Western Conference franchise with the best odds to raise the Cup, according to MoneyPuck.com, at 12%.
Sportsclubstats’s favorite out of the West is Colorado.
- The Avalanche have 15.5 odds to raise a third Cup in franchise history and edged out Vegas on Fanduel, earning the best price at +800.
- Expect the Avs to draw some handle, now that sports betting is legal in Colorado.
If any team benefited the most from the format change, it was the Philadelphia Flyers. A late surge, coupled with a poor road trip by cross-state rival Pittsburgh, pushed the Flyers into the top 4, and they could easily improve their seeding in the round-robin.
The books like them at +850 to +1100
Of the four major sports, this could be the toughest to forecast. Whoever advances out of the play-in series could dictate more about favorites’ odds than how the top four seeds fare in the round-robin.
This is a long, grueling playoff run where anything can happen. Ten years ago, the top four seeds lost in the first round in the East, and the conference was won by the seventh-seeding Flyers who staved off being down 3-0 in the semis. Watch the markets as things progress.
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