NHL Conference Futures: Lightning and Blues at the top

We’re six months into the NHL season and we’ve got some movement for who may win their respective conferences, on top. Teams such as Tampa Bay and St. Louis have made their mark and have placed the league on notice using their play. I’ll be giving my upgrades on where my input teams’ opportunities share and stand to make the Stanley Cup final. Like I have been speaking about the Tampa Bay Lightning for six months straight it seems. The Bolts have been hands-down the best team in the league, together with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov lighting up the league at the top two point scorers. Opening at +750 at Bovada, the Lightning can be had for +333 and while a lot will go wrong from today before the Stanley Cup final, no one should hate on you for dropping some loot on Tampa.
Pittsburgh started as the East favorite at +375 and although they’ve been up-and-down to start the year (now fifth in the East), Sid the Kid and his team know when to turn it on and could easily go on a run to get their third consecutive Stanley Cup. The Penguins could be obtained for +550 and the sole reason for bettors to pause has been their defense this year. Pittsburgh is allowing 3.6 goals per game and is the only potential playoff team with a negative goal differential at a whopping -17. Yikes!
If you’re looking for an adversary (with value) to dethrone Pittsburgh, look no further than the Big Apple. The Rangers opened the season at +2300 and bettors that obtained them at these odds must be salivating at their chances of a payout. The Rangers have won six in a row (8-2 SU in the previous 10) after an abysmal October and are now valued at +1400.
The real shocker is New Jersey. Opening at +4500, the Devils have made the jump — after being ranked dead last to win the East — to +1400. Devils rookies Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Will Butcher have been outstanding to start the season and have pushed the Devils into next in the East. Martin Brodeur isn’t walking through the door but they may make some noise come playoff time.

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