Before the 2023 NHL season began, the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche, were the overwhelming favorite to repeat as the NHL Western Conference champs. The four other teams who made the list of the top five favorites to win the West were the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild and the Vegas Golden Knights. Each of those teams remains in the playoff hunt as the 2023 NHL season heads deeper into the second half, but not all of them are in the updated list of Western Conference favorites.
The Avalanche are still the odds-on favorites to represent the Western Conference in the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals, but the other four teams behind them are the Oilers, Dallas Stars, Flames and the Golden Knights. The Wild have slipped to the No. 7 spot on the list of team’s favored to win the Western Conference.
Before we look at the odds, picks and predictions for the teams who might represent the NHL Western Conference in the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals, check out our guide to betting on the 2023 Stanley Cup and our tips for betting on the NHL.
2023 NHL Western Conference picks
|To Win 2023 NHL Western Conference|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+750||+500||+550|
|Los Angeles Kings||+1600||+1200||+1600|
|St Louis Blues||+10000||+10000||+5000|
|San Jose Sharks||+40000||+50000||+50000|
Stanley Cup Champs favored to repeat in West
The Colorado Avalanche finished the 2022 NHL regular season with a record of 56-19-7. The team’s total of 119 points puts them at the top of the Western Conference and second to the Florida Panthers (122 points) in the NHL. Colorado defeated the Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals.
With 55 games behind them, the Avalanche are 31-19-5 (67 points) and in seventh place in the Western Conference. The team has been dealing with injuries this year. Gabriel Landeskog, who was a point-per-game player for the club in 2022, has yet to play this season, but seems as if he will resume skating soon following knee surgery. Defensive star Cale Makar has also missed time this season, playing in 46 of the club’s games. He is out of the lineup with a head injury. The team is also without Erik Johnson, Darren Helm and Pavel Francouz.
The good news for the Avalanche is that the team is getting healthier and that half of the team’s final 24 games are against non-playoff clubs.
If Colorado can put a healthy team on the ice for the season’s final stretch and pick up a player to replace the playoff output of Nazem Kadri, they will be a threat to win the Western Conference.
The Edmonton Oilers sport a 30-19-8 record, which puts them in sixth place in the Western Conference. The team has the one-two scoring punch of the NHL leaders in points in Connor McDavid (102) and Leon Draisaitl (82) and they are coming off a season where they made it to the Western Conference Finals.
The Oilers are the most talented offensive team in the NHL, but there is concern about the team’s defense, which can be seen in the team’s recent four-game losing skid where they gave up six goals in two games and five in the other two outings. The Oilers cannot rely on its offense to produce five to seven goals per game, especially when teams tighten up their defense come playoff time.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are tied with the Dallas Stars for the most points in the Western Conference. However, Vegas has a game in hand on the Stars and four more wins on the season. The Golden Knights are also 6-2-2 in their past 10 outings, while the Stars are 3-2-5.
Much of the Golden Knights’ success has come down to the stellar goaltending the team received from Logan Thompson who has a 20-13-0 record, a goals against average of 2.66 and a save percentage of .914. The bad news is that Thompson is out of the mix because of a lower-body injury. The team has him listed as week to week.
Best bet to win the NHL Western Conference in 2023
All the top teams in the Western Conference have question marks. The Western Conference will come down to health and who can make the best trade to fill their needs at the trade deadline. My pick might change after the trade deadline, but right now, I think the best bet is to trust the offense and Ken Holland, the GM of the Edmonton Oilers.
Pick: Edmonton Oilers to win the NHL Western Conference in 2023.
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