Tampa Bay Bolts to Top of 2018 Stanley Cup Futures Odds

February 20, 2018 NHL Hockey

Nobody should be surprised by the Tampa Bay Lightning being the favorite with the Stanley Cup Futures Odds.  That is despite the fact that the Bolts missed the playoffs last season.  Tampa Bay actually had a winning record last year despite missing the post season.  The Eastern Conference was simply loaded with quality teams.  But missing the playoffs may be the biggest blessing possible for the Lightning.  They will be a fresh team come April when the grueling playoff grind begins.

Tampa Bay Lightning are now a 13/2 chalk with the Stanley Cup Futures Odds.  The new look Boston Bruins have surged as an 8/1 alternative.  The defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators are 8/1.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are 8/1 to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.  And the incredible expansion Vegas Golden Knights are also at 8/1.  The perennial playoff failure Washington Capitals are a 12/1 choice.  The New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Winnipeg Jets are 16/1.  At 20/1 are the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.

Tampa Bay was the 2015 Eastern Conference Champion.  That team lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final 4-2.  At that time the Bolts were a young Sportsbook online commodity.  They have since improved their defense and goaltending to become a complete 200 foot club.  Without question Tampa Bay is the most complete team in the East.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are always a threat for Lord Stanley’s Chalice.  And as back to back Stanley Cup champions they boast street cred.  But their defense and goaltending has slipped this year.  Pittsburgh has shown a lack of depth on the back end.  The remade Boston Bruins have emerged as a surprise chalk.  General Manager Don Sweeney has orchestrated a masterful rebuild.  Coach Bruce Cassidy is the new mind and voice that was needed in Boston.  But playoff hockey is a far different prospect.  Hard lessons are often painfully learned in April and May.

In the West the Nashville Predators are the top Stanley Cup choice.  Much of that is based on their making the Final last year.  But the Preds do boast a balanced team that excels on the entire ice.  They also have the incredible talents of PK Subban.  The defenseman has a howitzer shot and a physical presence.  The Vegas Golden Knights are the West’s biggest shocker.  The expansion team is challenging for the best record in the NHL.  What is most impressive is that they play an entertaining style.  It was feared they would have to survive with eyesore boar shutdown tactics.  Instead they delight with a full throttle attack style of play.  Vegas goaltender Marc Andre Fleury brings Cup Credibility from Pittsburgh.  The problem is that the secret is out. There is no more surprise value with the Golden Knights.  One perennial favorite in the West is as good as done.  The Chicago Blackhawks have not been able to overcome the injury to Corey Crawford.  Crawford is an elite goaltender that can cover for weaknesses.  Chicago is also paying the price for winning three Cups in the salary cap era.

2018 Stanley Cup Futures Odds

Date and Time: Stanley Cup Playoffs begin April 11, 2018

Location:  Check Schedules

NHL Betting Online Odds at SBG: Tampa Bay Lighting 13/2

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs TV Coverage: Check Listings

Matchup to Watch

The Tampa Bay Lighting have the matchup edge of being well rested.  They have the lineup to make a deep run.  No other team can match their scoring depth.  The Bolts have just enough defense and goaltending for the look of a champion.  They are the best team on the Stanley Cup Futures Odds board.

2018 Stanley Cup Futures Betting Odds Picks

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the team to beat for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

NHL Betting Online Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

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