- BetOnline’s updated Western Conference odds list the Avalanche (+500) as favorites despite their laundry list of injuries
- The defending champion Blues (+600) and Stars (+550) are battling it out for the number-one seed
- The Canucks (+800) brought in Tyler Toffoli at the deadline to help secure a playoff spot
Oddsmakers have installed Colorado as the favorite to come out of the Western Conference, but the current situation can only be described as fluid.
The Blues, Stars and Avalanche are all within three points of each other as they battle for the first seed in the Central while only three points separate the Pacific-leading Oilers with the fifth-place Coyotes.
With plenty more position-jockeying to come over the season’s final two months, let’s look at the latest odds at BetOnline and try and determine who’s the best bet to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final.
NHL WESTERN CONFERENCE ODDS
|Team||Current Odds||Trending||Nov. 21, 2019|
|St. Louis Blues||+600||↓||+650|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+600||↓||+650|
|San Jose Sharks||+5000||↓||+1000|
|Los Angeles Kings||+25000||↓||+5000|
TOP CONTENDERS IN THE CENTRAL
Injuries continue to pile up for the Avalanche (+500). In descending order of importance, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and Matt Calvert will all miss multiple weeks. General manager Joe Sakic is also expected to add a goaltender before Monday’s NHL trade deadline after Phillip Grubauer sustained a lower-body injury last weekend.
While all those players should be back by April, the missing manpower will make it difficult to leapfrog the Blues and Stars for the division’s number one seed, which of course means they’ll be facing off with one of those two clubs in the first round.
Nathan MacKinnon joined Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg as the only Avalanche player to record 50+ assists in 3 or more consecutive seasons. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/dEKa6uZCCA
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 20, 2020
The defending Cup champs in St. Louis (+600) are barely hanging on to their Central-division lead after losing five straight games earlier this month. The good news, however, is that Russian sniper Vladimir Tarasenko should be back in their lineup for the playoffs following a five-month injury absence.
After entering last year’s postseason as a wildcard, Craig Berube isn’t likely overly concerned with home-ice advantage, but it sure would help.
STRANGE SEASON FOR THE STARS
While things in Dallas haven’t been quite as weird as they were last year when the team CEO was putting Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on blast, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing to this point. The club started the season with a 1-7-1 record and then fired coach Jim Montgomery for “inappropriate conduct” in December. Around that time, the Stars were at +900 to win the West.
Now at +550 and under the leadership of NHL-lifer Rick Bowness, Dallas is 5-0-1 in their past six contests and just two points behind the Blues, the club that ripped their heart out in double overtime of Game 7 in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
Joe Pavelski (@jpav8), tip-in machine. ?
(? @DallasStars) pic.twitter.com/RN9yxYizUX
— NHL (@NHL) February 20, 2020
Thanks to Vezina contender Ben Bishop, the Stars have permitted the fewest goals of all Western Conference teams and their ability to win those low-scoring slugfests only bodes well for their postseason prospects.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, the Canucks have cut their odds in half from +1600 at last check in to +800. After not making the playoffs in four years, Vancouver sent a big package of assets to the Kings for forward Tyler Toffoli in hopes of replacing injured winger Brock Boeser down the stretch.
But with six losses in their past eight games, you can’t feel too comfortable wagering on a Canucks squad that is no lock to make the postseason.
Best Bet: For my money right now I’d back the Stars as the best bet to emerge from the Western Conference.