The NHL decided to change things up a bit this season in the race to a Stanley Cup title. Switching to four divisions, the entire North Division is made up of Canadian teams. This creates a much more direct path to reach the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals.
Under the new format, the winner out of the North through the opening two rounds of the playoffs will face the top team in the West. That series winner earns the right to play for the Stanley Cup in the best-of-seven NHL Finals.
Recent history has not been on Canada’s side as far as winning the Stanley Cup. You would have to go back to the 2011 season to find the last time a Canadian team played in the championship series. The Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
Ottawa (2007), Edmonton (2006) and Calgary (2004) also made it to the NHL Finals this century but all three teams came up short. The last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup was in 1993. That honor went to the Montreal Canadiens.
Maple Leafs Have the Best Odds
Fast forward to this season and the Toronto Maple Leafs have the best odds to win the Stanley out of the six Canadian teams. At +900, they are fourth on the futures board. The Colorado Avalanche are +450 favorites followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning (+625) and the Vegas Golden Knights (+850).
Toronto is a heavy -350 favorite to win the North Division title. The Maple Leafs are six points ahead of Winnipeg and seven points ahead of Edmonton in the current standings, with all three teams playing 39 games of a 72-game schedule.
At 26-10-3, Toronto has a better record playing on the road at 14-4-1 to add even more betting value to this team. Edmonton’s odds to close the gap and win the North are +600 followed by Winnipeg at +625 and Montreal at +650. Vancouver (+17500) and Calgary (+20000) are bringing up the rear.
Another plus with the Maple Leafs is their overall balance at each end of the ice. Toronto is averaging 3.31 goals per game to complement a defensive effort that is only giving up 2.51 goals per game. This is the kind of winning formula that could carry Toronto all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. From there, anything can happen in a best-of-seven series.
Mitchell Marner (47 points) and Auston Matthews (46 points) have led the effort on offense. Matthews currently leads the NHL in goals with 27. Jack Campbell has won his first nine starts for the Maple Leafs at goalie. Frederik Anderson has been battling injuries lately. His health in the postseason as the team’s veteran netminder could determine how far this team actually goes.
As far as the rest of the NHL’s Canadian teams, Edmonton appears to have the best shot making a deep run outside of Toronto. The Oilers can also light the lamp behind Connor McDavid (64 points) and Leon Draisaitl (57 points). Overall, the team is averaging 3.18 goals per game. Defense remains a concern with a goals against average of 2.80.
Edmonton is 12th on the NHL Stanley Cup futures board at +2200 odds. It still has a shot to replace Toronto as the top Canadian team this season but the Oilers are a major reach when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup.
A big part of the services that my marketing company, Blue Pointe Advisors, LLC offers is written content for sports betting websites. I have been working as a full-time sports betting writer for the past nine years following a previous career in the field of sales and marketing.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to write about my true passion in life; the world of sports. I also enjoy concentrating the bulk of my pieces towards the betting angle in sports.
It is always a challenge to take past results and current form to try and correctly determine a future result. Sports brings out the unpredictability in what should be a fairly predictable outcome based on the stats, facts and recent trends in a particular matchup. The one thing that I have learned over the past decade or so is that when it comes to betting on sports there is no such thing as a lock.
The main objective with my writing style is to create insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player. While there are times when my predictions fall well short of the actual outcome, I still enjoy trying to come up with a logical explanation to support my views on every pick I make.
My love of sports started a long time ago when I was just a kid growing up just outside Philadelphia. While I was a big Phillies, Flyers and 76ers fan, my number one team was always the Eagles. My dad was a season ticket holder from 1961 to 2002 and I would honestly say that he missed less than a handful of games than more than a few dismal seasons.
I was fortunate enough to go to a number of Eagles’ games back in the day including the 1980 NFC Championship when Wilbert Montgomery ran roughshod over the bitter rival Dallas Cowboys to lead Philly to their first appearance in a Super Bowl. Flash forward 40 years later and am I still celebrating the thrilling victory over New England in Super Bowl LVII. I know that my dad was smiling down on that one.