The Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin on May 2 with Game 1 of four series, two from each conference. This betting guide will offer some insight into the Central Division and the odds of each team heading into the postseason.
Colorado Avalanche (+325)
56-19-7, 3.76 GF/GP, 2.83 GA/GP, L10: 4-5-1
The Avalanche enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the heavy favourites among all 16 teams. They pack an excessive amount of firepower, from forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen to defenseman Cale Makar. They are dangerous in all areas of the ice and are in a good position to make it past the second round for the second time in five years. They won just one game in the final two weeks of the season but were without key players due to minor injuries and illnesses or rest days.
Colorado made several acquisitions in March leading up to the trade deadline. Their blue line received a boost by acquiring Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks, and forwards Artturi Lehkonnen, Nico Sturm, and Andrew Cogliano provide depth on all four lines. They parted ways with a good amount of draft picks and defensive prospect Justin Barron, but a number of prospects they have at that position allowed for the move. It may be the year for Colorado, so look for them to make some noise this postseason.
Minnesota Wild (+1800)
53-22-7, 3.72 GF/GP, 3.04 GA/GP, L10: 8-1-1
Considering what the Wild have done this season, specifically after the trade deadline, their estimated odds are very appealing. Losing just one game in the final two weeks of the season, there’s a lot to be admired on this Minnesota team. Scoring at the front with Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, and Mats Zuccarello, a sturdy defensive core, and a goaltending tandem that rivals any team in the league, they have it all. It could be the year they surpass the first round for the first time in seven years, provided they can get past the St. Louis Blues.
Leading up to the trade deadline, the Wild were among the most active teams. Bringing in Tyson Jost was a fine addition to the team’s top nine, and Nicolas Deslauriers provides some much-needed sandpaper. Goaltender Kappo Kahkonen was a casualty in the efforts to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from Chicago, while Victor Rask was exiled to Seattle for cap relief. Looking at their lineup, this may be the deepest we’ve ever seen Minnesota from top to bottom. They struggled to beat the Blues during the regular season, but we’ll see what the playoffs have in store for both teams.
St. Louis Blues (+2200)
49-22-11, 3.77 GF/GP, 2.91 GA/GP, L10: 7-2-1
The Blues were one win shy of 50, but their efforts, from January to the end of the season, earned them the third spot in the Central Division. Thanks to contributions from four forwards on a point-per-game pace, St. Louis is back in the postseason for a fourth consecutive run. They’ll look to make it past the second round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2019, and they’ll face a hungry Minnesota team.
The feeling in the organization is that the answer is within, so they added Nick Leddy on the backend while keeping the rest of the team as is. The Blues will continue to count on the services of Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas and hope their defensive corps can supplement their goaltending. Jordan Binnington has the Cup experience, but Ville Husso has better numbers across the board, so it will be interesting to see who gets the nod.
Nashville Predators (+4000)
45-30-7, 3.20 GF/GP, 3.05 GA/GP, L10: 4-4-2
The Predators have the makings of a Stanley Cup team. Two 40-goal scorers, major bounce-back seasons from top-six players, and a Norris favourite. Unfortunately, their postseason hopes took a giant blow with the uncertainty of goaltender Juuse Saros‘ availability following an apparent ankle injury. Already heavy underdogs with him starting, without Saros could spell disaster. Up against heavy favourites in Colorado, the Predators are in a tough spot.
The one acquisition made by David Poile to enhance Nashville’s lineup came with acquiring Jeremy Lauzon from the Seattle Kraken. The price was a second-round pick, a price deemed too high for a player of his ilk, but he fit in nicely. Unfortunately, he’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury, forcing the Predators to rely on a shallow defensive depth to fill in. With David Rittich and Connor Ingram starting the opening round, Nashville will have to focus on their offensive prowess to match the Avalanche in an attempt to out-score their way out of this.
Dallas Stars (+5000)
46-30-6, 2.84 GF/GP, 2.98 GA/GP, L10: 5-3-2
After missing the postseason last year following a Stanley Cup Final berth, the Stars are back in the playoffs. Breakout seasons from Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz helped elevate the team. Joe Pavelski led the team in scoring, which came as a relief to a team that heavily relies on the services of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Dallas is in an interesting situation, as their forwards are more than capable, but their defense and goaltending are big question marks.
The Stars brought in goaltender Scott Wedgewood to help mitigate the concern between the pipes, with Brayden Holtby and Anton Khudobin sidelined. They added Vladislav Namestnikov for a cheap price to provide some depth on the bottom six, but their roster is otherwise unfazed. They’ll play a ferocious Calgary Flames team, so it makes sense for them being the team with the highest odds due to Calgary taking two of the three games during the regular season.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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