Bolts and Rangers Top NHL Conference Odds

With the opening of NHL training camps approaching the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers are deadlocked as favourites to represent the Eastern Conference in this season’s Stanley Cup final at 9/2 odds at online sportsbook Bodog.

The Rangers followed up a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2014 with the NHL’s best record last season, winning a club record 53 games, but lost three of four at home during their Eastern final series against Tampa Bay.

The Lightning finished their 2014/15 regular season with a franchise-record 108 points, putting them two behind the Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division, but were dominant in their race to the Cup final, going 12-7 in 19 playoff contests before falling in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks, winners of three Stanley Cup titles in the past six years, are perched as the clear favourites to repeat as Western Conference champs, sporting strong 13/4 odds on the NHL futures at Bodog.

Chicago was forced to part with key personnel in the offseason, moving sniper Patrick Sharp and budding star Brandon Saad in separate deals, and have plenty of company at the top of the Western Conference betting odds.

Both the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings are close on the Blackhawks’ heels, each pegged at 11/2 by oddsmakers at Bodog.

The St. Louis Blues, who have tallied at least 109 points in three of the past four NHL regular seasons, trail at 15/2, with the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators rounding out the favourites in the West, each with 9/1 odds.

The Pittsburgh Penguins remain in the hunt in Eastern Conference betting at Bodog. With Phil Kessel joining the Penguins’ star-studded offense this summer, the Penguins have emerged as a strong 7/1 bet to win their first conference title since their Cup victory in 2009, just ahead of the Washington Capitals at 15/2.

The Canadiens trail at 8/1, followed by the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders at 10/1, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings at 12/1, and the Ottawa Senators at 18/1.

The Florida Panthers sit at an intriguing 28/1, well ahead of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers at 40/1, and the longshot Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, each at 50/1.

In the West, the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets share 12/1 odds, followed by the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers at 16/1, the San Jose Sharks at 20/1, the Vancouver Canucks at 25/1, the Colorado Avalanche at 33/1, and the Arizona Coyotes, who sport dismal 75/1 odds at Bodog.