2020-2021 NFL Season Update

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NHL 2021 Update

Hockey is finally here. The 2020-21 NHL campaign starts this Wednesday – no preseason games, just straight into the regular season – and for now, the seven Canadian teams in the new North Division will be allowed to play at their home arenas. They won’t be crossing the border to play the other 24 teams, though; thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, all games will be intra-divisional until the Conference Semifinals.

Meanwhile, the league’s short-term realignment into North, Central, East and West divisions has shaken up the NHL odds board at Bovada Sportsbook. The North is the weakest of the four on paper, so the Canadian teams who were struggling to get over the hump last year will find it easier to make the playoffs this time around. That’s if they don’t run afoul of provincial health authorities, of course. 

NHL Odds to Win the 2021 Stanley Cup

Even with the divisional shuffle, you’ll find only one Canadian club near the top of the NHL betting lines at Bovada, and they check in at No. 4 on the following list of title favorites:

1. Colorado Avalanche: +650 NHL Odds

It’s go time for the Avalanche. They’ve had the shortest odds to win Stanley Cup glory throughout the offseason, hovering between +600 and +700 on the NHL lines since the league’s realignment plans were announced. Getting out of the old Central Division and into the new West should give Colorado a softer schedule to work with, and they’ve got more than enough talent to take advantage, from Hart Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon to Norris Trophy candidate Cale Makar.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning: +800 NHL Odds

The defending champions are holding steady on the Stanley Cup odds board at +800, and again, they should have an easier time making the postseason (and going on a deep run) in the new Central Division after moving out of the double-tough Atlantic. The Bolts are still loaded with top-quality players at every position, although they’ll have to do without Nikita Kucherov, last year’s leading scorer for Tampa with 33 goals and 85 points in 68 games. Kucherov, a former Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner, will miss the entire season after undergoing hip surgery in late December.

3. Vegas Golden Knights: +850 NHL Odds

They may have slipped another notch on the NHL Vegas odds from +800 to +850, but the Knights get to play in the West this year, and they’ll have stud defenseman Alex Pietrangelo on their side. It remains to be seen, however, whether they made the right choice by promoting Robin Lehner to the No. 1 job in net ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury – although they still have both on the roster, and it’s hard to win these days without two capable goalies.

4. Toronto Maple Leafs: +1000 NHL Odds

Nobody saw their NHL Stanley Cup odds improve more than the Leafs, who were +1500 before the divisional realignment. They don’t have to worry about the Lightning or the Boston Bruins (+1400) anymore, at least not until the Eastern semis, and they’ve got arguably the best corps of forwards in the league, led by their top three scorers from last year: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares.

*Odds as of January 12th, 2021

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