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Canadiens (+620) Now Have Better Odds to Win Atlantic Division Than the Leafs (+880)

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has his team sitting first in the Atlantic two months into the season. Photo By Picasa (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have won the last two Atlantic Division titles
  • The Boston Bruins have surged out of the gate this year, posting a 14-3-5 record so far
  • After entering season with high hopes, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost six in a row and have just changed head coaches

After winning an NHL-record-tying 62 games last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning entered the current campaign as clear favorites to win the Atlantic Division. But the Lightning have gotten off to a slow start by their standards, opening the door for other contenders to enter the race division title.

Having gone all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, the Boston Bruins have been only too happy to pick up where they left off this campaign, and are currently leading the way in the Atlantic. As a result, they have the best 2020 NHL division odds of all the teams in the Atlantic, although the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers have seen sizeable improvements.

Odds to win 2019-20 Atlantic Division

Team Odds at Bovada
Boston Bruins +150
Tampa Bay Lightning +200
Montreal Canadiens +600
Florida Panthers +750
Toronto Maple Leafs +1000
Buffalo Sabres +1400
Ottawa Senators +40000
Detroit Red Wings +75000

Odds taken Nov. 22.

Boston’s Best

The Bruins look hungry this year. With forwards such as David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand seemingly scoring at will, the team has become something of an offensive juggernaut and is the third highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference so far.

Obviously, there is a desire to go one better than the team did last year, when it came up short in Game 7 against the Blues. Winning the division would be the first step to getting back there.

As a result, the team has seen its division odds improve to an average of +140 across a number of sports books. Barring injury to one of its key forwards, Boston looks like a good bet to take the Atlantic crown.

Lightning Strikes

Despite a regular season for the ages a year ago, Tampa was swept in the first round of the playoffs and saw its Stanley Cup dreams come to a shattering end. The team retooled to a certain extent over the summer, and its slow start to this campaign, going 10-7-2 so far, makes one wonder how much importance the players are putting on the regular season.

It may well be that Tampa is actively conserving its energy for the playoffs. They certainly aren’t playing with the same hunger as Boston. It’s tough to justify their odds improving from +240 to +210.

Canadiens Content?

The Montreal Canadiens missed the playoffs by just three points last year, and so far this season, are showing a desire to ensure it doesn’t happen again. A young roster, led by players such as Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, has the Habs showing good energy on the offensive side of the puck, while the defense, led by standouts such as goaltender Carey Price and blueliner Shea Weber, has been more resolute than in years past in keeping the puck out of the net.

As a result, the Canadiens have seen their division odds slashed from an average of +1400 a week ago to just +620 now. Having gone 5-2-3 over their last 10 games, that drop in odds is certainly in lock-step with their recent form.

Best of the Rest

While the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs have both seen their division odds plummet as a result of recent losing skids – the Leafs’ six-game blip ended up getting coach Mike Babcock fired on Wednesday – the Florida Panthers have quietly been putting together a strong run.

Currently second in the division with a 12-5-5 record, the Panthers have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, and after winning just two of his first six starts, high-priced free-agent goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is starting to find the kind of form that won him two Vezina Trophies (2013, 2017).

As a result, Florida has seen its odds slashed from +900 to around +670 currently.

Pick: Bruins +150

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