At long last, sports fans and bettors have post-season hockey back on the schedule, and fans are already eager to view the Stanley Cup odds.

In a statement issued on May 26, the National Hockey League (NHL) revealed its highly anticipated “Return to Play Plan”.

The league paused its regular season back on March 12 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the race for Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup will eventually occur:

nhl commissioner Gary Bettman discusses returns with return to play plan for nhl

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman discusses the NHL’s Return to Play Plan for the 2019-20 season.

“At the pause, we committed to resuming play only when appropriate and prudent.

We are hopeful the Return To Play Plan will allow us to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup in a manner in which the health and safety of our players, on-ice officials, team staff and associated individuals involved are paramount.

Accordingly, an essential component of the Plan is a rigorous, regular schedule of testing.

On the hockey side, the return-to-play format reflects the League’s extraordinary competitive balance while honoring the tradition and integrity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”

At the pause, we committed to resuming play only when appropriate and prudent. We are hopeful the Return To Play Plan will allow us to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup in a manner in which the health and safety of our players, on-ice officials, team staff and associated individuals involved are paramount. Accordingly, an essential component of the Plan is a rigorous, regular schedule of testing. On the hockey side, the return-to-play format reflects the League’s extraordinary competitive balance while honoring the tradition and integrity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With the regular season now officially in the books, the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs will take place later this summer – provided the pandemic doesn’t intensify. With that uncertainty in mind, the NHL is applying a “phased” approach to returning, with Phase 2 in early June allowing teams to return to their facility, and Phase 3 in the second half of July commencing an abbreviated training camp.

Even without a concrete timeline though, sportsbooks and bettors alike – who have been forced to get creative while coping with coronavirus cancellations – are rejoicing at the first news of pro sports returning.

24 Teams to Chase the 2020 Stanley Cup Title

The NHL also got creative in solving its postseason puzzle, starting with the league’s top 24 teams and using a “play-in” round to winnow the field to an official 16-team Playoff bracket.

boston bruins, Sean Kuraly #52 and Brett Ritchie #18 of the Boston Bruins, stanley cup odds

Boston Bruins players Sean Kuraly and Brett Ritchie.

The top four teams in each conference – the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers in the East, along with the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Starts out West – will play a three-game “round robin” to determine their final seeding.

Meanwhile, the play-in round will pit the following teams against one another in a five-game series:

Eastern Conference Play-In Round

  • #5 Pittsburgh Penguins (-200) vs. #12 Montreal Canadiens (+170)
  • #6 Carolina Hurricanes (-150) vs. #11 New York Rangers (+130)
  • #7 New York Islanders (-120) vs. #10 Florida Panthers (EVEN)
  • #8 Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) vs. #9 Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)

Western Conference Play-In Round

  • #5 Edmonton Oilers (-150) vs. #12 Chicago Blackhawks (+130)
  • #6 Nashville Predators (-135) vs. #11 Arizona Coyotes (+115)
  • #7 Vancouver Canucks (-130) vs. #10 Minnesota Wild (+110)
  • #8 Calgary Flames (-135) vs. #9 Winnipeg Jets (+115)

And as you can see in the parenthesis above, online sportsbook Bovada already has series prices posted for the play-in round:

Tampa Bay & Boston Turn League-High Wins to Title Favorite Status

Before the regular season was abruptly paused, the Bruins (44-26-12 / 100 points) and Lightning (43-27-6 / 92 points) were the class of the highly competitive Eastern Conference.

Accordingly, the bookmakers at Bovada have both teams ranked as slight (+650) co-favorites to hoist the Cup when it’s all said and done.

As for the Western Conference, the upstart Avalanche (42-28-8 / 92 points) and the Golden Knights (39-32-8 / 86 points) lead the way at (+700) and (+800), respectively. That comes despite the St. Louis Blues (42-29-10 / 94 points) reigning as defending Stanley Cup Champions and the West’s top team in 2020.

In terms of teams who didn’t quite make the cut when the season paused, but still get a chance thanks to the play-in round, the New York Rangers (37-33-5 / 79 points) have the best odds at (+3500).

To see where your favorite NHL team stacks up in the expanded 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs field, check out the full list of title odds below:

Winners: 2020 Stanley Cup Odds 

TEAM ODDS (on 5/29/2020)
Boston Bruins +650
Tampa Bay Lightning +650
Colorado Avalanche +700
Vegas Golden Knights +800
Philadelphia Flyers +800
St. Louis Blues +1200
Washington Capitals +1200
Pittsburgh Penguins +1200
Dallas Stars +1600
Toronto Maple Leafs +1800
Edmonton Oilers +1800
Nashville Predators +2500
Vancouver Canucks +3300
Carolina Hurricanes +3500
New York Rangers +3500
Calgary Flames +4000
Chicago Blackhawks +4000
Arizona Coyotes +4500
New York Islanders +4500
Minnesota Wild +5000
Winnipeg Jets +5000
Florida Panthers +6600
Columbus Blue Jackets +6600
Montreal Canadiens +8000

 

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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