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Lightning Favored to Win Atlantic Division (Again) Over Bruins, Leafs

Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov had 128 points during the 2018-19 season for Tampa Bay. Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire.
  • Tampa Bay is favored to win the Atlantic Division in 2020
  • Toronto and Boston are closing the gap
  • Ottawa has the worst odds to win the division

The Tampa Bay Lightning have seemingly won the Atlantic division for years now, and oddsmakers don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Even after getting swept in the first-round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs BookMaker.eu still lists the Lightning as the favorites to win the division once again this upcoming season. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins are right there too, and to no one’s surprise, the Ottawa Senators have the worst odds.

Odds to Win NHL Atlantic Division

Team 2020 Atlantic Division Odds at BookMaker.eu
Tampa Bay Lightning +125
Boston Bruins +260
Toronto Maple Leafs +300
Florida Panthers +1000
Montreal Canadiens +4000
Buffalo Sabres +7500
Detroit Red Wings +10000
Ottawa Senators +20000

*Odds taken 07/12/19

What Did the Big Three Do in the Offseason?

As you can tell by the odds, it truly is a three-team race to win Atlantic Division. Last year, the top three teams all had over 100 points, but the Lightning ran away with the division after tying the NHL record for most wins. It was an incredible feat, but unlikely they do it again.

In the offseason, Tampa Bay has added Curtis McElhinney to strengthen their backup goaltender position, while they added depth defenseman Luke Schenn after losing Dan Girardi and Anthon Stralman. It seems likely their defense will be worse this year, but they still have Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh. You can see how these moves have effected their 2020 Stanley Cup odds by viewing our updated tracker.

Boston, meanwhile, has just added depth forwards like Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie, but they lost Marcus Johansen and Noah Accari, who were impact players on Boston. While they still have a solid roster, their depth has taken a hit.

Toronto strengthened their defense by adding Tyson Barrie in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche. Although they lost Nazem Kadri, their D-core was a weakness last year, but they let Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey walk, meaning they have to add another defenseman or expect a rookie to take the leap up to the NHL.

Who’s the Best Bet?

I think all the three top teams got worse in respective areas. Tampa Bay’s defense has taken a hit, while Toronto and Boston’s forward group has taken a small hit. Even with the Lightning having a weaker defense, they are still my favorites to win the Atlantic Division. They had a bad postseason but they still have the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point (barring he signs), Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

While Boston and Toronto pose a threat, the Lightning still has a better roster and have proven time and again they are the team to beat in the Atlantic division. And, at plus odds, it is worth taking a bet on Tampa Bay.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lighting (+125)

SBD’s NHL Division Champion Odds Coverage

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