2016/17 NHL season betting preview
The 2016/17 NHL season begins on Wednesday 12 October, with this the 100th season of operation and we’ll see 32 teams compete over 82 games in the quest to become the latest Stanley Cup winner.
As you might expect, the outright betting is wide open. The Pittsburgh Penguins were the victors last season when beating San Jose in the final, with bet365 offering odds of 9.00 (8/1) that they are champions once again.
Unibet go 3.10 (21/10) that the Penguins win the Metropolitan Division, with some operators making the Washington Capitals favourite at 3.00 (2/1) and William Hill are the ones offering that stand-out price.
The Capitals are also among the favourites to win the Stanley Cup and Ladbrokes have 11.00 (10/1) that Barry Trotz steers his team to victory, while some firms regard Tampa Bay Lightning as the side to beat this time around.
Bet365 afford Lightning particular respect with their quote of 9.00 (8/1) although the BetVictor traders are happier to take them on for the coming season and go 11.00 (10/1) about a side who came close to winning last season.
In a tense Conference Final, Pittsburgh just edged out Tampa Bay 4-3 after the latter had previously beaten NY Islanders and Florida by convincing margins. They might well have proven too strong for San Jose in the final.
The Sharks are as big as 19.00 (18/1) this time around despite last season’s formidable run, with San Jose claiming the Western Conference when beating St Louis after previous victories against Nashville and Los Angeles.
The bookies make the Sharks the team to beat in the Pacific Division, with William Hill taking a big position of going 3.60 (13/5) about them finishing top of the pile whereas bet365 are as short as 3.25 (9/4).
Los Angeles Kings are 3.75 (11/4) with BetVictor for that particular heat and perhaps the Anaheim Ducks are the other side set to duel it out for Pacific Division winner, with Paddy Power offering customers odds of 4.00 (3/1).
As far as the Central Division is concerned, it looks very close to call this year and the bookies have priced up four teams with similar odds.
Chicago Blackhawks are slight favourites with some firms although William Hill are prepared to chalk up 4.20 (16/5) that the team from the Windy City edge out Dallas, St Louis and Nashville.
The Predators are an eye-catching 5.00 (4/1) with Ladbrokes and certainly look as good as their rivals on paper, with the Stars a 4.50 (7/2) chance with William Hill and the Blues the same price with the same bookies.
Tampa Bay are regarded as the team to beat in the Atlantic Division, with the Lightning a 2.40 chance with William Hill while Florida Panthers are on offer at 5.50 with Ladbrokes . Canada didn’t make much of an impression last season although Montreal Panthers will be out to change that at odds of 8.50 (15/2) with William Hill .