2014 NHL Division Winners Odds and Predictions

Division Winner OddsIt’s the first year of the new NHL realignment so picking division winners this year will be a lot different than in years past.  Last year I went 3 out of 6 in my division predictions post, which ended up netting me 2.6 units of profit.  This year with only 4 divisions and 7 or 8 teams vying for the top spot in each it will be much more difficult to pick the winners, but the odds are also much more lucrative.

It’s still quite a bit before the season begins, so many bookies have yet to add the division winner odds.  5Dimes usually gives the best lines, but right now I’m looking at Bet365.com and will be using them for this post.

Let’s get to it:

Atlantic Division

This division is basically the Northeast from last year with Detroit, Tampa Bay and Florida added in.

  • Boston Bruins +190
  • Toronto Maple Leafs +400
  • Detroit Red Wings +400
  • Montreal Canadiens +425
  • Ottawa Senators +650
  • Tampa Bay Lightning +750
  • Buffalo Sabres +3500
  • Florida Panthers +6600

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at +400 is laughable in my opinion.  I don’t see either of these teams having a shot at winning this division.  The Atlantic is actually now one of the weaker divisions in the NHL, which is great for the three Canadian teams in it.  That said Boston is still far and away the best team in this division and they should be able to crown themselves the Atlantic Division champions by a significant margin this year.  I think the Senators are really the only team that could battle with them, but the Sens will no doubt have some stretches of mediocrity with their still young team over an 82 game season so the Bruins consistency should win out.

Play: Bruins +190

Metropolitan Division

First of all who decided to name this the Metropolitan division.  It’s just too hard to say.  I get the meaning behind it, but still don’t like the name.  This is basically the Atlantic from last year with Carolina, Washington and Columbus added in.

  • Pittsburgh Penguins -140
  • New York Islanders +700
  • New York Rangers +700
  • Washington Capitals +700
  • Philadelphia Flyers +1200
  • Columbus Blue Jackets +1300
  • Carolina Hurricanes +1400
  • New Jersey Devils +1700

The Penguins are the obvious favourites to win this division and rightfully so.  If they can stay healthy they should have no trouble leading the division.  But that’ s a big IF and they have shown in the past they can play poorly for stretches of the regular season.  I’m going off the board a little bit in this division and taking the Washington Capitals.  They have always been a good regular season team and now they will have a much more favourable travel schedule.  Yes, they won’t be in the worst division in the NHL anymore, but if they can get off to a good start I see the Caps having a good chance at winning the division.  Of course they will lose in the first or second round when they do.

Play: Washington Capitals +700

Pacific Division

This will be a tough division with a lot of quality teams.  The Flames have no chance at all now.

  • LA Kings +140
  • Vancouver Canucks +475
  • San Jose Sharks +475
  • Anaheim Ducks +475
  • Edmonton Oilers +650
  • Phoenix Coyotes +1600
  • Calgary Flames +4000

Right off the top I’m not taking the Kings.  They are not a regular season team and have not yet excelled over a regular season.  The Canucks have a lot of holes in their lineup and I think playing the Northwest the past few seasons inflated their regular season stats.  The Ducks played well last year in the regular season and surprised me winning the Pacific.  Losing Bobby Ryan will hurt them this year and I expect them to regress to a borderline playoff team.  Who I like is the San Jose Sharks.  They used to finish atop the Pacific Division every year and this is the last kick at the can for their core group.  I expect them to be ready to go out of the gate and keep their foot on the pedal right to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Play: San Jose Sharks +475

Central Division

This is a very tough division.  As good as it will be for Winnipeg to not have to travel to Florida anymore, their competition definitely improves.

  • Chicago Blackhawks -150
  • St. Louis Blues +290
  • Minnesota Wild +650
  • Dallas Stars +1250
  • Nashville Predators +1800
  • Colorado Avalanche +2200
  • Winnipeg Jets +2500

This division will come down to the Blackhawks and Blues.  I don’t expect the Blackhawks to have nearly as good of a season as last year.  After they won the Cup in 2010, they just squeaked into the playoffs in the 8th position.  I think they will be better this time around, but at -150 odds I’m definitely staying away.  The Blues are a good team with a chip on their shoulder.  I expect them to come ready to play every night and to lead this division into the playoffs.  It’s then that they will truly be judged, but they are a tough team to play against and will give it everything they have every night.

Play: Blues +290

So there are my division winner picks a few weeks before the start of the season.  These could change, especially with other bookies offering different odds, but at the moment these are my picks.  Keep in mind that your cash is locked up for the entire season when placing these futures types of bets so only make the bet if you are extremely confident.  Head over to Bet365.com to bet or see the up to date odds.

Written by: Niko



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