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Betting on the 2019 Stanley Cup – Latest Odds and Top Contenders

By Cornelius Sutton in Sports
| August 27, 2018 12:00 am PDT
NHL Stanley Cup Trophy

Being raised in Las Vegas, I felt I was spoiled enjoying the inaugural season for the Vegas Golden Knights. Now with a year behind them, I am looking forward to this upcoming NHL season more than I have in the past.

In this post, I will take a look at the teams I feel have separated themselves from the pretenders and are the true contenders at raising the Stanley Cup in 2019.

From the betting favorites in Vegas to the dark horse I feel has a shot at making a deep playoff run, I’ll be covering 5 teams with a realistic chance of glory. I’ll give you an idea of what happened for these teams during the offseason that has set them up nicely for their shot at the Stanley Cup.

Odds Disclaimer 2

Tampa Bay Lightning (+750 to Win Stanley Cup)

The leading sportsbook Bovada has Tampa Bay as the betting favorite to lift the Stanley Cup this season. And I can easily understand why.

Tampa Bay has been a top team the last couple of seasons. They look primed to continue their success in the competitive Atlantic Division and will battle the Toronto Maple Leafs to be the division’s top seed.

They have been busy this offseason keeping their core intact for another run at the playoffs. First, they signed forward J.T. Miller to a five-year contract. Then, they quickly followed that up with a seven-year deal for defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Miller and McDonagh were late trade additions in 2018, and signing both shows Tampa Bay is still in win-now mode.

Taking a peek at the 2019 NHL schedule, it seems the NHL is doing their part in making sure Tampa Bay starts and finishes strong.

The Lightning will open 2018-2019 with five straight home games and end the season with their last four at home. On top of that home-ice advantage to open and close the regular season, the Lightning is already scheduled for 12 nationally broadcasted games.

This shows the spotlight the NHL will be trying to put on the betting favorite Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now let’s take a look at a couple of teams in the toughest division in the NHL. The Central Division boasts a number of strong teams, headlined by powerhouses in Nashville and Winnipeg.

Nashville Predators (+1100)

It’s a shame that only 5 teams from the Central can make the playoffs because all 8 teams have a legitimate shot to enter the postseason in 2018-2019.

The Nashville Predators were the club that had the best regular-season record in 2017-18. They were also a Stanley Cup finalist in 2017, so they are certainly in the running for glory this season.

With a strong defense led by P.K. Subban, and with the Vezina Trophy winner for best goaltender Pekka Rinne back, the Predators have the right formula to chase another Stanley Cup. Add top line forwards Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Viktor Arvidsson, and Nashville is primed to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

A possible warning sign for Nashville is the form of their goaltender during the playoff games last season.

Despite his strong regular season, Rinne really slipped during the postseason with a bloated goals against average of 3.07

With Nashville’s backup goalie having limited experience, Rinne’s postseason performances could be pivotal to the Predators’ championship hopes this time around. If they make the playoffs again, they’ll need their goaltender to step up his game.

If he can maintain his form beyond the regular season, Nashville will be the team all opponents want to avoid.

Let’s move on to the next contender out of the Central division.

Winnipeg Jets (+950)

The Winnipeg Jets were true contenders last season, and I predict that they’ll be able to follow up with another good season in 2019.

Even with Paul Stastny leaving for Vegas and losing Joel Armia to free agency, the Jets still have plenty of firepower to battle in the Central Division.

The reason the Jets parted ways with these experienced players is because of the young core they have. The young, deep, and dangerous offense they currently have has the tools to fill the holes left by the departing veterans.

That’s not the only thing helping their case of making a run at the Stanley Cup, though. They also have a promising young gun on the defensive side in 24-year-old goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

The quick development of goaltender Hellebuyck has provided the Jets everything they’ve lacked in previous years.

Goalies are vital come playoff time. The fact that Winnipeg has a young goaltender that has the potential to become elite automatically puts them into contender status.

Phew! We got through the toughest division in the NHL. Time to turn our attention to a team that came up 3 wins short of winning it all last season – the Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas Golden Knights (+1100)

What a year. The Vegas Golden Knights started out as the biggest underdog to win the Stanley Cup last season, but they defied all expectations and only just fell short of landing the trophy.

How can the Knights repeat what they were able to accomplish last season? I’ll tell you how. George McPhee.

The Knights’ general manager was aggressive at the trade deadline last season and continued that trend over the offseason.

Going into the offseason, it was always going to be hard for McPhee to keep everyone. Somehow, though, he was able to keep key players for another run at the Stanley Cup.

Center William “Wild Bill” Karlsson, defenseman Colin Miller, left wing Jonathan Marchessault, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are all back to take another shot at the Stanley Cup.

On top of re-signing their stars from 2018, the Golden Knights made an impressive move in bringing in forward Paul Stastny on a 3-year deal. He was brought in to fill the void left by James Neal.

The most important difference between Stastny and Neal is that Stastny performs in the postseason, which can only strengthen the Vegas roster.

With a weak Pacific division, I see Vegas winning the division again. This will give them home ice for the first two rounds in the post season.  With T-Mobile Arena one of the biggest home-ice advantages in the NHL, look for the Vegas Knights to make another run at Las Vegas’ first professional sports championship.

As promised, it’s now time to give you the team I feel represents the best value out there for a team to win the Stanley Cup: the team from the current “City of Champions.”

Philadelphia Flyers (+2500)

Here’s the team I am willing to throw some money on. My dark horse for the 2019 Stanley Cup champion. The Philadelphia Flyers.

When the Flyers enter next season, there will be a variety of benchmarks the entire team must meet in order to better the 98-point result from the 2017-18 campaign. Much of the benchmarks will have to come from the continued maturation of the young players on the roster.

Even though the Flyers made the 2018 playoffs, their young roster has plenty of room for improvement.

I’m expecting head coach Dave Hakstol to start leaning on his young guys to increase their responsibility. For example, defenseman Travis Sanheim will likely be trusted with more ice time as his sophomore season progresses.

Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny will be relied upon as regular offensive contributors, and left winger Oskar Lindblom and defenseman Robert Hagg must build upon their rookie year successes as well.

The main point is that the Flyers are very young. Having a roster full of young players can work for or against you. I personally believe they possess the value we are all looking for.

Regardless of youth, the Flyers are talented, and I see them continuing the maturation process. Even though the Flyers are stuck in a division with the past two Stanley Cup champs in the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, they are just as dangerous.

Young players don’t know what’s good for them. Some young guys don’t recognize the magnitude of the situation, allowing them to play at their best.

That being said, at a 25 to 1 shot, the Philadelphia Flyers represent the type of value we all look for with futures.

PICKPhiladelphia Flyers+2500

Conclusion

With only 43 days left before the first games of the regular season, it is time to start thinking about which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. Don’t worry, though. I have done the work for you, separating out 5 contenders I believe are worth keeping an eye on.

Hopefully, with the five teams I have outlined, it will help you narrow down which teams have the value to try to book a futures win.

I will be taking my chance with my dark horse pick, the Philadelphia Flyers. For a dangerous young team, 25 to 1 is just too much value for me to pass up.

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