2020-2021 NFL Season Update

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NHL Season Update

The Tampa Bay Lightning are four wins away from the Promised Land. They needed overtime to put away the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Lightning got the job done Thursday night, winning 2-1 and cashing in at –180 on Bovada Sportsbook’s NHL odds board. With that victory, Tampa Bay are finally where they were supposed to be last year: in the Stanley Cup Final.

Not too many people expected the Dallas Stars to make it this far – it’s been 12 years since they reached the Western final. Even heading into the second round, the Stars were third to win the West at +450, behind the Vegas Golden Knights (–135) and the Colorado Avalanche (+360) on Bovada’s NHL lines. Dallas beat them both to advance to their first Cup final since they won it all in 2000. Can they pull of yet another upset against the mighty Bolts?

 

NHL Odds to Win the Stanley Cup

The Stars only have to look at last year’s playoffs to see how it can be done. Here’s a preview of the last two teams on the Stanley Cup odds board at Bovada Sportsbook, and how they stack up heading into Game 1 of the final this Saturday (7:30 PM ET, NBC):

 

Tampa Bay Lightning: –200 NHL Odds

It does seem like Tampa’s destined to win it all this year. After crashing out of last year’s playoffs without winning a single game, the Lightning entered this year’s postseason with +650 odds to win Stanley Cup glory, tied with the Boston Bruins. Then they met Boston in the second round, and it wasn’t much of a contest, with the Bolts winning in five games – although two of those wins were in overtime.

Tampa Bay’s NHL Vegas odds would be even chalkier if Steven Stamkos was healthy. The team captain has been out since late February, and is still recovering from core muscle surgery; Stamkos (29 goals in 57 games) has been skating with his teammates in practice, but that’s all we know about his status heading into this series.

 

Dallas Stars: +170 NHL Odds

The NHL Stanley Cup odds aren’t very bullish on Dallas – but the same was true for last year’s champions, the St. Louis Blues. The parallels are uncanny, right down to the midseason coaching change that saw Rick Bowness take over behind the bench for Jim Montgomery. Bowness will have some insider knowledge on the Bolts after serving as assistant coach under Jon Cooper from 2013-18.

The Stars have some injury concerns of their own with goaltender Ben Bishop and center Radek Faksa both considered “unfit to play” at press time. However, back-up Anton Khudobin (.920 playoff save percentage) is arguably the better goalie, and has carried this team through the last three rounds. Khudobin and Bishop each earned overtime victories over the Lightning this year, sweeping their regular-season series, so there’s a real chance that the Stars could beat Tampa and the NHL betting lines again in the Cup final.

 

*Odds as of October 13, 2020

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