Odds to Win the NHL Pacific Division: Sharks, Golden Knights Top the List
After months of waiting, hockey is finally back. In regards to odds on which team will capture the NHL’s Pacific Division banner 2018-19, the race is open according to oddsmakers.
In BetOnline, the San Jose Sharks are the +240 front-runners, with all the Vegas Golden Knights (+260), Anaheim Ducks (+550), Los Angeles Kings (+550), Calgary Flames (+550), Edmonton Oilers (+650), Arizona Coyotes (+4500) and Vancouver Canucks (+5000) rounding out the listing.
Golden Knights have become the darlings of all Sin City
The Pacific was the most intriguing branch in the NHL a year ago due to the rise of the Golden Knights. During their inaugural season, the growth Golden Knights — or Gold Misfits, as they were affectionately known — had unprecedented success, winning the Pacific with a record of 51-24-7 (109 points) and making a run all the way to the Stanley Cup final before bowing out to the Washington Capitals.
So, how will the Knights followup their unforgettable first year? After losing James Neal into Calgary in free agency, GM George McPhee signed veteran centre Paul Stastny and traded for ex-Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty to bolster the top-six forward group. With the rock-solid Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes, the Knights figure to contend for the Pacific once more and could easily win the division for the second year in a row.
Watch out for the Sharks
The Golden Knights were tabbed as the branch favorites for nearly all the offseason, but San Jose’s recent acquisition of franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators has put them in the driver’s seat. San Jose will always have lots of doubters due to its inability to get over the hump in the postseason, but plenty of folks used to say the same thing concerning the Capitals also.
Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joakim Ryan comprise an unbelievable top four to the blue line, although the Sharks’ forward group figures to get a increase in light of the signing of sharpshooting left-winger Evander Kane. San Jose’s core team is still around and its odds of finally winning a Stanley Cup haven’t looked better. They deserve to be the favorites, and also their +240 cost is exceptional value in my eyes.
Best of the rest
The Ducks, Kings, Flames and Oilers will be the only other groups which have a realistic shot of eclipsing the Golden Knights and Sharks, but Calgary is my pick of this litter to raise some eyebrows at the division this year. The Flames improved much of their roster in the offseason and now have a deep team on paper along with a new head coach in Bill Peters.
Calgary’s forward group is remarkable, as Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are already stars in the league despite their young age. Elias Lindholm, James Neal, Matthew Tkachuk and Mikael Backlund should offer lots of offense, but the Flames will proceed as far as 36-year-old goaltender Mike Smith can take them. If Smith plays at a level he has in the past, a shot at the Flames at +550 chances looks like excellent long-shot worth to me personally.
For a complete breakdown of Stanley Cup odds, click here. OddsShark’s NHL page has all of the betting information you will have to place a little additional money in your pocket on the ice this year.
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