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NHL Playoffs 2020 Predictions: Stanley Cup Odds, Bracket, Standings, Picks – Forbes

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Professional hockey is on its way back after the league office announced a four-phase plan that wraps up the 2020 NHL season and begins moving towards a unique and exciting expanded postseason format. Teams have already been partaking in Phase 1—shutting down operations and isolating—since mid-March, but may be able to transition into Phase 2 by hosting small training sessions as early as next week. Full training camps, the objective of Phase 3, are likely to start around July 10, marking the final phase leading up to Phase 4 and with it the return of meaningful hockey games that will ultimately crown a champion. The thrilling, 24-team postseason tournament doesn’t have a targeted start date yet, but that hasn’t stopped fans from getting excited. Oddsmakers quickly adjusted betting lines based on the big announcement and subsequent approval of the Return To Play Plan, releasing updated Stanley Cup odds for every team slated to compete in the upcoming 2020 NHL playoffs.

Because of the modified postseason format—which will see the top four squads in each conference compete in a brief round robin tourney against one another to determine seeding, while the other eight teams will match up in five-game series in the Qualifying Round with a spot on the bracket up for grabs—many clubs have had their odds shift from where they were prior to the shutdown. While some of these line movements were rather drastic, the two co-favorites to win it all this year—the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning—have both seen their odds remain relatively stable. These Eastern Conference powerhouses are now +650—meaning one would return $6.50 for each $1 risked—to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup, only a slight tick off the +600 odds that were up on the board three months ago. As the top two seeds in their conference, the Bruins and Lightning will square off once during the round robin portion of the upcoming 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, a matchup that could serve as a preview for a longer series later in the postseason. The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the East respectively, will round out the round robin participants for the conference. The Caps have seen their Stanley Cup odds drop from +1000 to +1500 in the new format, while the Flyers were one of the biggest risers on the board during the layoff, seeing their odds jump from +1600 to +800, tied for the fourth-best overall.  

The Colorado Avalanche pace the list of Western Conference favorites, with bettors able to find them at +700 at this juncture. That is a slight improvement over their +900 odds prior to the shutdown, which puts the Avalanche just ahead of Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights, who previously had the best chance to capture the Stanley Cup in their conference, were one of the few contenders that saw their betting line stay the same since March, standing pat at +800 despite the major modifications to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The defending champion St. Louis Blues were another team that has not changed at all, remaining at +1200 despite owning the best points percentage in the West. The Dallas Stars are the fourth and final team that will participate in the conference’s round robin event, but the squad fell down the list of contenders based on betting odds over the last few months, shifting from +1600 to +1800 despite having a guaranteed spot in the 2020 NHL Playoff bracket.

Sportsnet Stats pointed out that the Buffalo Sabres, one of only seven teams to miss out on the expanded 2020 NHL Playoffs, are now approaching a decade without a trip to the postseason:

Because eight additional teams will have a chance to contest for the Stanley Cup this year, bookmakers made some of the largest championship odds adjustments to clubs that will be competing in the Qualifying Round. Some teams that appeared to have little to look forward to aside from the draft lottery have been given new life and that has been reflected in their odds. The Chicago Blackhawks are a shining example of this, as the program jumped all the way from 100-1 longshots up to 66-1 after it was revealed that they would be the No. 12 seed in West and play the No. 5 Edmonton Oilers—who are only -160 chalk to advance—with a first round berth on the line. Some teams were negatively impacted by the postseason changes, which is no more evident than when examining the Carolina Hurricanes, an organization that was considered a strong contender prior to the coronavirus-related lockdown, but saw their +2000 odds fall all the way to +5000 in wake of the league’s proposal. Had the season continued on normally, Carolina was likely to earn a respectable seed in the Eastern Conference, but the team now has a real chance to be eliminated before the first round of the postseason even begins. The ‘Canes start their journey with a tough matchup against the New York Rangers, a threatening No. 11 seed that was only two points behind Carolina in the standings and is only a slight underdog (+120) to pull off the upset in their best-of-five showdown.  

With that in mind here is a look at the complete list of odds for all 24 teams set to compete in the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and how they compare to previous betting lines, which are based on a March 2nd snapshot. You can also find the full schedule, series prices and the NHL playoff bracket below. Don’t forget to check out some quick playoff predictions and a Stanley Cup pick at the end of this article courtesy of Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com.

2020 NHL Playoff odds courtesy of BetOnline.ag

2020 NHL Playoff Bracket

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2020 Standings And Series Odds

Eastern Conference

Round Robin (One game against each to determine First Round seeding)

  • No. 1 Boston Bruins
  • No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning
  • No. 3 Washington Capitals
  • No. 4 Philadelphia Flyers

Qualifying Round (Best-of-Five Series)

  • No. 5 Pittsburgh Penguins (-205) vs. No. 12 Montreal Canadiens (+175)
  • No. 6 Carolina Hurricanes (-140) vs. No. 11 New York Rangers (+120)
  • No. 7 New York Islanders (-120) vs. No. 10 Florida Panthers (+100)
  • No. 8 Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) vs. No. 9 Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)

Western Conference

Round Robin

  • No. 1 St. Louis Blues
  • No. 2 Colorado Avalanche
  • No. 3 Vegas Golden Knights
  • No. 4 Dallas Stars

Qualifying Round

  • No. 5 Edmonton Oilers (-160) vs. No. 12 Chicago Blackhawks (+140)
  • No. 6 Nashville Predators (-140) vs. No. 11 Arizona Coyotes (+120)
  • No. 7 Vancouver Canucks (-130) vs. No. 10 Minnesota Wild (+110)
  • No. 8 Calgary Flames (-120) vs. No. 9 Winnipeg Jets (+100)

NHL Playoffs 2020 Pro Predictions

Round Robin Winners

  • Eastern Conference No. 1 Seed: Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Western Conference No. 1 Seed: Vegas Golden Knights

Series Predictions – Qualifying Round

East

  • Pittsburgh Penguins (-205) OVER Montreal Canadiens
  • New York Rangers (+120) OVER Carolina Hurricanes
  • New York Islanders (-120) OVER Florida Panthers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) OVER Columbus Blue Jackets

West

  • Chicago Blackhawks (+140) OVER Edmonton Oilers
  • Nashville Predators (-140) OVER Arizona Coyotes
  • Minnesota Wild (+110) OVER Vancouver Canucks
  • Calgary Flames (-120) OVER Winnipeg Jets

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