Just as the St. Louis Blues were crowned as the NHL’s 2019 Stanley Cup champions, Vegas released the odds on which team will raise Lord Stanley’s cup next season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, who ran away with the President’s Cup with 128 points, is the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2020 despite a shocking first-round elimination during the 2019 NHL playoffs. The Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs round up the Top 5. The defending champion St. Louis Blues are just 7th despite a historic run to the title last season.

Here are the current odds to win the 2020 Stanley Cup title. These odds were taken from Titanbet as of 6/25/19:

Team Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning +600
Vegas Golden Knights +700
Boston Bruins +1000
Colorado Avalanche +1000
Toronto Maple Leafs +1000
San Jose Sharks +1200
St. Louis Blues +1400
Winnipeg Jets +1600
Calgary Flames +2000
Pittsburgh Penguins +2000
Washington Capitals +2000
Florida Panthers +2500
Nashville Predators +2500
Philadelphia Flyers +2500

“Hockey" Who Are The Favorites?

Despite being humiliated by a first round exit during the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the top hockey favorites to win Lord Stanley’s Cup next season. Last summer, the Lightning had the shortest odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup title at +700. During the regular season, they finished with a record 62-16-4 and were 21 points ahead of runner-up Boston with 128 points to win the Presidents’ Trophy. But their record tying 62-win season went for naught as they were swept in the first round of the 2019 playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets in a stunning upset. But with Tampa Bay returning almost every player from their 2019 roster, including Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov and Vezina award winner goalie Andrei Vasilevsky,  the oddsmakers see them as NHL betting favorites again for next season.

The Vegas Golden Knights made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in their maiden season but could not advance past round one of the playoffs in 2019. Vegas blew a 3-0 series lead then got the raw deal of a controversial call in Game 7 of their series against the San Jose Sharks that ultimately did them. Despite their early ouster, the Knights are still high on the oddsmakers list right now and it will be interesting to see how their mid-season trade acquisitions, including leading scorer Mark Stone, will do in a full season with them.

The Boston Bruins are third on the oddsmakers list and this isn’t surprising. Boston has made the Stanley Cup finals in three out of the last nine years, including last season. It was just unfortunate that they lost to the St. Louis Blues but remember the series went the full seven games. The Bruins have been a very consistent team in the last decade or so and they’ve done it with high-level goaltending from Tuukka Rask, a big-bodied defense and an explosive offensive line. They are a team that has the chemistry to make a deep postseason run. I won’t be surprised if they make the finals again next season.

The Colorado Avalanche will still be led by Nathan McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog next season. The third weapon in their offensive trio, Mikko Rantanen, is a restricted free agent but with a league-high $37M in salary cap space, there is no reason why the Avalanche is going to keen Rantanen. Colorado also picked 4th in the 2019 NHL Draft, via Ottawa. They selected Bowen Byram who was the third-highest scoring defenseman in the 2019 Western Hockey League and the top scorer of the 2019 WHL playoffs.

“Hockey" Who Wins?

The recently concluded NHL playoffs were proof that the NHL is the hardest league to predict. It can be recalled that the top-seeded teams from both conferences and all the conference winners were eliminated in the first round. That included the defending champions Washington Capitals and their exit meant that we would see new champions for the 19th time in the last 20 seasons.

These champions were the St. Louis Blues who were, if you looked at the team standings on January 3, 2019, the worst team in the league. But after they went 30-10-5 since that date, the Blues made a historic run we’ve never seen before. And in the finals, they took care of business against a favored Boston team that had both talent and experience. Who would have thought that the Blues would win it all?

The Blues are currently outsiders at +1400 in the latest odds board but take out Pittsburgh’s back to back title wins in 2016-17 and the last time we saw a team win two in a row was Detroit in 1997-98. That’s how competitive the league has been in the last twenty years. That said, you can’t count out the Blues because they’ve been there before.

Look, there is still plenty of free agent moves that can be made when the free agency period begins next month and you can expect the odds board to change and teams to move. But when you look at how things look right now, it’s Tampa Bay who still has the best chance of ruling the regular season. The question is if they can win in the postseason? That said, Boston may be the better pick because of their experience. But remember they lost to a Blues team that had never won a Stanley Cup in its history.  Right now, the pick is Tampa Bay if you want to make a very early bet. This is probably as high as they can go when it comes to plus money. But personally, I’d wait for all the free agent dominos to fall before I pick my winner.

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