NHL Eastern Conference Odds & Picks: Lightning Reclaim Perch as Favorites

As the NHL prepares to enter its Christmas break, there is a new leader atop the odds to win the Eastern Conference title this season. After stumbling out of the gate, the Tampa Bay Lightning have rediscovered their groove, posting wins in 13 of 17 contests, and now sit perched as +400 favorites to claim a third straight Eastern Conference title. The Lightning remain in a tight three-way race for the top of the odds with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. Conversely, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers have lost the most ground on the Eastern Conference futures over the past month.

MyTopSportsbooks takes a look at all the trends and best bets on the fast-changing Eastern Conference odds. Sports bettors getting in on hockey action for the first time should refer to our online resources, including our Stanley Cup betting guide, and tips on how to take advantage of the best NHL hockey betting sites.

Odds to Win NHL Eastern ConferenceBetOnlineBetUS
Tampa Bay Lightning+400+450
Toronto Maple Leafs+450+450
Florida Panthers+550+500
Carolina Hurricanes+650+700
New York Rangers+850+800
Washington Capitals+850+800
Pittsburgh Penguins+950+1100
Boston Bruins+1100+800
Philadelphia Flyers+4500+5000
Detroit Red Wings+5000+4000
New York Islanders+5000+5000
Columbus Blue Jackets+8000+8000
New Jersey Devils+10000+8000
Buffalo Sabres+20000+20000
Ottawa Senators+25000+25000
Montreal Canadiens+40000+25000

Lightning Poised for Three-Peat?

Fresh off their second straight Stanley Cup win, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed a little time to regain their championship form this season. Winners in just six of their first 12 outings, the club was forced to deal with injuries early on, most notably to Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, both of whom are sidelined indefinitely. However, team captain Steve Stamkos leading the attack, have been dominant during a 13-3-1 run that has lifted them into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the top of the Atlantic Division standings.

Limited to just 38 appearances last season by an injury that also put him on the shelf during the team’s march to a second straight Stanley Cup victory, Stamkos is enjoying a resurgence this season. The 31-year-old has avoided injury while racking up a team-leading 13 goals and 21 assists. The club is also receiving plenty of stellar goaltending from Andrei Vasilevskiy. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner rides a six-game win streak into the final week before Christmas and has limited opponents to two or fewer goals in 14 of 18 starts since October 23.

Leafs, Panthers in Close Pursuit

However, the Lightning face a serious threat from a pair of Atlantic Division rivals in their bid for a third straight Eastern Division title. Still stinging from yet another playoff disappointment last spring, the Maple Leafs have been on a mission so far this season, posting wins in 20 of their first 30 contests, and closely trail the Lightning as a +450 bet to win the East. Auston Matthews has overcome a wrist injury that contributed to his slow start by scoring 20 goals in 21 games. The club has also received sensational goaltending from Jack Campbell, who has entered the Calder Trophy conversation while racking up a 15-5-2 record with three shutouts through 23 appearances.

As expected, the Florida Panthers have remained a force to be reckoned with. Ranked third overall in the NHL last season with 37 wins, the Panthers maintained their winning ways in the early going. Indeed, the club briefly vaulted to the top of the Stanley Cup odds while opening their season on a 10-0-1 run. However, the Panthers have been subject to streaky play since cooling off from their torrid start. Winners in just eight of 18 outings since Florida has steadily lost ground on the eastern Conference odds and now trails the favorites as a +550 bet.

New York Rangers
Eastern Conference Odds
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+850
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Islanders, Flyers Fade in Wake of Slow Starts

While a trio of Atlantic Division clubs dominate the top of the odds, a pair of Metropolitan Division rivals have been making steady gains. Both the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals sported +1400 odds to win the east on opening night. But with the two clubs engaged in a tight three-way race with Carolina for the top of the division, they have made gains on the Eastern Conference odds, where they sit deadlocked at +800.

Conversely, a pair of Metropolitan Division squads have suffered the biggest drops on the Eastern Conference odds since the start of the season. Listed as a healthy +1000 bet on opening night, the New York Islanders were forced to kick off their schedule with 13 straight road games while they awaited the completion of UBS Arena. However, they have received no benefit from the move to their new home, where they have won just two of their first 10 contests. Accordingly, the Islanders have dipped to a lengthy +5000 bet.

Things have not gone much better for the Philadelphia Flyers since they opened with odds as short as +1400. Expected to contend for the top of the division standings after loading up on quality veteran talent over the offseason, the Flyers steadily lost ground during a recent 10-game losing streak, and now sit well off the pace as a +4500 wager.

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Sean Maloney

Sean Maloney is an experienced writer, first starting out in the tech industry then pursuing his passion as a sports writer. He has a great interest in North American sports and strangely is also a keen darts fan. He spends his time focused on his work and family, with much of his free time spent with his twin daughters.

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