At the onset of the 2020 return to play is a stark fact. Boston and Tampa Bay are the public choices to win the Eastern Conference championship. Hockey community members would agree. NHL scouts, coaches, and general managers rate the Bruins and Lighting as best in the game. However, we all know the unpredictable nature of the postseason NHL odds.
Toronto will host the first three rounds of Eastern Conference action as a hub city. At the beginning is the best of five preliminary series of seeds 5-12. Winners will advance to meet the top four Eastern Conference teams.
2020 Odds to Win Eastern Conference Championship
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+300|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1300|
|New York Rangers||+2000|
|New York Islanders||+2000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+3200|
2020 NHL Eastern Conference Championship Odds Overview
Boston has one of the largest NHL fan bases of any team. As a result, this often drives up their offshore betting prices. Tampa Bay is highly regarded as a consistent top tier contending team. Philadelphia was the NHL’s top surprise before play stopped. While Washington and Pittsburgh are old money. Toronto is the most public team on the board. Maple Leafs backers ignore the club’s lack of defensive commitment and soft character.
Eastern Conference Seedings and Matchups
First Round Byes: 1-Boston Bruins 2-Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-Washington Capitals, 4-Philadelphia Flyers
5-Pittsburgh Penguins (-205) vs. 12-Montreal Canadiens (+175)
First glance would seem to rate the Penguins as a sure thing. Metrics and records would all indicate that. Of great concern to chalk is that Montreal goaltender Carey Price can literally carry a team on his back. And steal a series that the Canadiens would otherwise lose. Pittsburgh’s price is simply too high after a four-month layoff.
6-Carolina Hurricanes (-140) vs. 11-New York Rangers (+120)
Owing to rapid improvement did the Rangers catch some attention. Goal scoring and skill is New York’s identifiable strength. Counter to that is an unreliable back and goaltending. Carolina is a much more structured and fundamentally sound team. Also, the Hurricanes bring a reasonable price.
7-New York Islanders (-120) vs. 10-Florida Panthers (+100)
To be exact this is a tremendous matchup of opposites with the NHL lines. First is an Islander team that relies almost exclusively on defense and goaltending. New York ekes out a minimum of goal scoring. By contrast, the Panthers are loaded with skill and tally potential. By reason of terrible goaltending and a lackluster blue line is Florida a long shot. Playoff hockey success comes down to grit and defense.
8- Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) vs. 9-Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)
Comparable to the Islanders and Panthers is Toronto and Columbus. A lunch-bucket work ethic is the Blue Jacket path to success. Goal scoring is an undeniable struggle. For this reason, are the soft Maple Leafs in potential danger? Toronto may have the most skill in the NHL. Offsetting that is a back end that takes too many shifts off.
2020 Eastern Conference Championship Free Picks
On this occasion, the Hurricanes match up well with the Rangers in playoff ability. The same can be said for the Islanders series with Florida. From this point, the other two series bring big price tags with large doubts.
SBG 2020 Eastern Conference Championship Best Bet: Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders