NHL Futures Betting Odds Breakdown: Hurricanes, Maple Leafs On Track in Central and North, But Who Will Win Tight East and West Races?

Eddie Griffin

As the NHL regular season hits its final few weeks, NHL futures betting is as much of a crapshoot as it was at the start of the season.

When it comes to knowing who will be taking part in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, the picture is fairly clear, with the exception of a few slots, barring some unlikely collapses down the stretch.

In the Central Division, the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers are all but certain to make the postseason.

In the East Division, the Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins are all but locked in.

The North Division is closing in on having all of its playoff participants decided. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Montreal Canadiens should be the quartet coming out of the North. The Calgary Flames can still mathematically overhaul the Canadiens, but the odds are not in their favor.

And in the West Division, the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, and Minnesota Wild are in or almost in.

So that means that there are really only two playoff positions that are truly up for grabs. However, the division title races are another story entirely. How the NHL standings look today could be vastly different to how they look after the final regular season game.

All NHL futures betting odds mentioned in this article are from FanDuel Sportsbook. You can find the latest odds from every NHL game from FanDuel Sportsbook and other top online sportsbooks on our NHL odds page.

Hurricanes Hold Edge Over Lightning and Panthers in Central

2020/21 NHL Futures Betting Odds: Odds to Win the Central Division

  • Carolina Hurricanes (67 points in 46 games) -320
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (64 in 47) +490
  • Florida Panthers (65 in 48) +650

Tuesday night, the Hurricanes took a big leap toward the Central Division title by downing the Lightning 4-1 on the road. It was a rare victory at Amalie Arena for the ‘Canes, who had won only one of the previous nine regular-season matchups there. They followed that with another important road win last night, as they dispatched the Florida Panthers 4-2.

The Lightning certainly aren’t to be counted out here, but the Hurricanes have the points advantage and two games in hand. And Tampa Bay does not have anymore head-to-head opportunities to close the gap. Carolina has five home games and five road games left, but there are no schedule disadvantages. Along with being one of the NHL’s best home teams, the Hurricanes are also one of the league’s better road teams.

Here is how the Hurricanes finish the season:

  • Florida Panthers (away x 1) – The Hurricanes are 6-0-1 vs the Panthers this season.
  • Dallas Stars (away x 2) – The Hurricanes are 5-1-0 vs the Stars this season.
  • Detroit Red Wings (home x 1) – The Hurricanes are 3-3-1 vs the Red Wings this season.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (home x 1) – The Hurricanes are 4-1-2 vs the Blue Jackets this season.
  • Chicago Blackhawks (home x 3) – The Hurricanes are 3-2-0 vs the Blackhawks this season.
  • Nashville Predators (away x 2) – The Hurricanes have won all six head-to-head matchups with the Predators this season.

Do the Bruins Have the Advantage in Four-Way Battle for East Title?

2020/21 NHL Futures Betting Odds: Odds to Win the East Division

  • Boston Bruins (60 points in 45 games) +250
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (63 in 47) +250
  • Washington Capitals (64 in 47) +250
  • New York Islanders (63 in 47) +290

No division race is tighter than the East, as four teams could take the title.

The above NHL futures betting odds place the Islanders at the rear, which is fair. The Isles are the league’s most dominant home team, posting a 19-2-3 record. But on the road, they are only 10-11-2, the worst road record of the East contenders. That is unfavorable when they have five road games left.

Games in hand are huge, but so are points in hand. But the Bruins are the East’s hottest team, having won six in a row. And they have two games in hand, with seven games to come against non-contenders: three vs the Buffalo Sabres (two home, one away), two vs the New Jersey Devils on the road, and two vs the New York Rangers at home.

The Penguins are on a 6-1-1 run, and five of their last nine are at home. The Pens have a stellar 18-3-2 mark at home, where they have not in regulation in over a month. But they face four tricky road games against the Capitals and Flyers, and they have two at home next week against the streaking Bruins. But Evgeni Malkin, sidelined since mid-March, is practicing and could be available for the final stretch

That said, the Capitals have the edge here for now. They have the points advantage, however slight it may be, and six of their remaining games are at home. Last night, Washington picked up two massive points at Nassau Coliseum, edging the Islanders 1-0 in a shootout. If they nab at least another point there tomorrow night, things will line up rather well.

Toronto On Track in the North Despite Untimely Tumble

2020/21 NHL Futures Betting Odds: Odds to Win the North Division

  • Toronto Maple Leafs (63 points in 47 games) -370
  • Winnipeg Jets (57 in 46) +490
  • Edmonton Oilers (56 in 45) +700

After dominating the North Division for much of the season, it looked like the Maple Leafs were trying to throw away the division title down the stretch. Heading into last night’s visit to Winnipeg, the Leafs were on a five-game winless run.

But the Leafs stepped up when they needed to, downing the Jets 5-3 to take their division lead out to six points. There’s still a lot of work to do from here, but that win was desperately needed.

Don’t write off the Jets yet, however. Along with having a game in hand, they host the Leafs tomorrow and in their regular-season finale on May 14. It’s not quite over.

How about the Oilers, who have two games in hand? Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are first and second in the NHL in points, but can this team go on the kind of hot streak needed to close the gap? They don’t play Toronto down the stretch, so there is no chance to tighten the gap with head-to-head wins. But seven of their 11 remaining games are against the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, which is favorable.

Still, it is difficult to see the Leafs failing to cross the finish line from here. That may be a dangerous thing to say, but last night’s win in Winnipeg should go a long way.

Avalanche Hold Slight Edge Over Golden Knights in West Division Race

2020/21 NHL Futures Betting Odds: Odds to Win the West Division

  • Colorado Avalanche (66 points in 44 games) -145
  • Vegas Golden Knights (68 in 46) +110
  • Minnesota Wild (61 in 45) +5000

Last but not least, we have the West Division. The Avalanche and Golden Knights are two of the top three leading Stanley Cup contenders, and one of those two teams will likely win the Presidents’ Trophy. The latest NHL futures betting odds have the Avalanche as the Stanley Cup betting favorite at +400, while the Golden Knights slot in behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (+600) at +750, just ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs (+800).

The Avalanche are also favored to win the West Division, but should they be? The Golden Knights have won eight in a row and host the Avalanche twice, on April 28 and May 10. The Golden Knights are 18-4-2 at home, and few teams are as successful away from home as well, as they have a 15-7-0 road record.

The Wild have won five in a row, have a seven-game homestand coming up, and have only two games against the Avalanche or Golden Knights. So a flutter on those +5000 odds isn’t truly outlandish. But realistically, the only way they win the West is through the Avalanche and Golden Knights imploding, which is not happening.

There is value in backing the Golden Knights here. But the Avalanche are 18-1-2 in their last 21 games, which is a historically good stretch for the franchise. And that historically good stretch is part of a historically good season for the Avalanche:

That is tough to overlook, especially when eight of their last 12 come against two of the NHL’s worst teams, the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. If they can win once in Vegas–where they won on February 16–the division should be theirs.

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