2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds and More

The regular season is complete. The 16-team playoff table has now been set. The Stanley Cup playoffs kick off Wednesday, Apr. 11. It’s the best two months in all of sport, where every shift, every check and every play matters. It’s when real players perform their best, wins make players forget about pain and heroes are born.

The 16 Playoff Teams

In the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils are all in it.

In the Western Conference, the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, Vegas Golden Knights, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche all advanced.

The hottest teams entering the playoffs are the Jets (9-1-0), Ducks (8-1-1), Capitals (8-2-0) and Devils (7-2-1). The coldest teams entering the playoffs are the Avs (4-5-1) and the Wild (4-2-4). Both the Golden Knights and Blue Jackets finished the regular season on a two-game losing skids.

2018 Stanley Cup – Betting Odds

As of Apr. 3, these are the betting odds to win the 2018 Stanley Cup according to BetOnline Sportsbook.

The number represents how much a $100 bet would yield if the team won the Stanley Cup. For example, a $100 bet on the heavily-favored Predators would return $350; a $100 bet on the Devils would fetch a healthy $4,000 return.

Heavy Favorites

Nashville Predators  (+350)

The Preds are fresh off winning their first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. They have balance and depth throughout their lineup. They had thirteen 10-goal scorers this season. Smashville can’t wait to get the party going again.

Nashville transforms into Smashville. There’s nothing quite like it.

Tampa Bay Lightning  (+575)

This year, Nikita Kutcherov hit the 100-point mark while winger Yanni Gourde set a franchise rookie record for goals (25) and points (64). Of all the teams to qualify for the postseason, the Lightning have the worst penalty-killing percentage (76.1 percent). They had eleven 10-goal scorers this season. With battle-tested New York Rangers Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller added at the deadline, the Lightning are a heavy favorite.

Boston Bruins  (+625)

The Bruins have 11 players with ten or more goals and three that reached 30 – Brad Marchand (34), David Pastrnak (34) and Patrice Bergeron (30). They made some big moves at the trade deadline, adding Rick Nash, Brian Gionta, Nick Holden and Tommy Wingels.

Vegas Golden Knights  (+700)

This team that only existed on paper a year ago has shattered expansion-team records. Center William Karlsson leads the team’s offense with 43 goals and 35 assists. In net, Marc-Andre Fleury gives his team a chance every night.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights
Fleury brings years of winning experience to the expansion Knights. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

Pittsburgh Penguins  (+850)

The back-to-back, defending Stanley Cup Champions are hard to count out. They score. A lot. The Pens have the league’s best power play, scoring 68 goals and converting on 26.2% of their chances. They’ll try to be the first team to three-peat since the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980-83.

Middle of the Pack

Winnipeg Jets  (+1000)

The Jets, led by Blake Wheeler and sniper Patrik Laine, have yet to win a playoff game in their second reincarnation. They’re one of two Canadian teams to make the postseason and hold the nation’s best shot at ending their 25-year Stanley Cup drought.

Toronto Maple Leafs  (+1400)

The Leafs have the second-best power play (25% conversion). They score a lot of goals, boasting three players with 30-plus goals – Auston Matthews (34), Nazem Kadri (32) and James van Riemsdyk (36).

Washington Capitals  (+1600)

Will this be the year Alex Ovechkin and the Caps make it past the second round? Ovi ran away with the NHL goal-scoring title this year, finishing with 49, four more than Patrik Laine of the Jets. It’s the ninth time he’s topped 40 goals in a season. The Caps had 11 ten-goal scorers this season.

San Jose Sharks  (+2200)

Former-Sabres winger Evander Kane finally gets his chance to appear in the playoffs. He’s given some new life to the Sharks who finished 11-4-1 down the stretch. In the last three seasons, Brent Burns leads all defensemen in points (213). The Sharks are the League’s second-best penalty killers (84.8 percent). The Sharks had 11 ten-goal scorers this season.

Los Angeles Kings  (+2500)

The Kings finished the season winning five of six and 10 of 15. Their offense is led by Anze Kopitar (35 goals), Dustin Brown (28 goals) and Tyler Toffoli (24 goals). The Kings own the league’s best penalty kill at 85 percent.

Tyler Toffoli Anze Kopitar Paul LaDue
Tyler Toffoli (73), center, celebrates with teammates Anze Kopitar (11), left, and Paul LaDue (38). (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Anaheim Ducks  (+2500)

Of all 16 playoff teams, the Ducks scored the fewest number of goals. They had the fourth lowest goal differential (plus-19) and the second-worst power play conversion rate (17.8) of all teams that qualified for the playoffs.

Long Shots

Minnesota Wild  (+2800)

While the resurgence of Eric Staal (42 goals, 34 assists) has been a breath of fresh air for the Wild. Defenseman Ryan Suter’s ankle injury certainly sucked some life out of the Wild’s chances. It’ll take some stellar goaltending for them to go deep.

Columbus Blue Jackets  (+2800)

The Blue Jackets had ten 10-goal scorers this season. Artemi Panarin, aka “The Bread Man” leads the offense with 27 goals and 55 assists. They have the worst power play among all playoff teams, converting on just 17.2 percent of their chances.

Colorado Avalanche  (+2800)

The Avs snuck into the postseason, grabbing the last spot by defeating the St. Louis Blues in what felt like an elimination playoff game. At times, they look unstoppable. Other times, they make one scratch their head. Which team will show up?

Philadelphia Flyers  (+3300)

This year, Claude Giroux put up a career-high 99 points. He always comes ready to shine in the playoffs. Giroux is one of eleven 10-goal scorers on the Flyers this season. The Flyers goaltending has been questionable and will likely prove to be their Achilles heel.

New Jersey Devils  (+4000)

Taylor Hall will lead the turnaround Devils back to the dance. The team had ten 10-goal scorers this season, but is at the bottom of the goal differential stats (plus-four) among all playoff teams.

Chances of Winning the 2018 Stanley Cup

The following lists each team’s chance of winning the Stanley Cup according to SportsClubStats.com as of Sunday, Apr. 8.

  • Nashville Predators              15.5%
  • Boston Bruins                       16.4%
  • Winnipeg Jets                       12.8%
  • Tampa Bay Lightning           12.3%
  • Vegas Golden Knights           8.3%
  • Los Angeles Kings                 5.4%
  • Toronto Maple Leafs              5.3%
  • Pittsburgh Penguins               4.1%
  • Washington Capitals              4.0%
  • Anaheim Ducks                      3.4%
  • Philadelphia Flyers                 2.7%
  • San Jose Sharks                     2.7%
  • Columbus Blue Jackets          2.3%
  • Minnesota Wild                       2.2%
  • Colorado Avalanche               2.0%
  • New Jersey Devils                  1.0%

The following lists each team’s chance of winning the Stanley Cup according to moneypuck.com as of Sunday, Apr. 8.

  • Winnipeg Jets                       13.7%
  • Boston Bruins                       11.9%
  • Tampa Bay Lightning            10.7%
  • Nashville Predators                9.9%
  • Pittsburgh Penguins               7.5%
  • San Jose Sharks                    7.4%
  • Columbus Blue Jackets         6.4%
  • Toronto Maple Leafs              6.2%
  • Minnesota Wild                      4.8%
  • Anaheim Ducks                      4.4%
  • Vegas Golden Knights           3.8%
  • Los Angeles Kings                 3.4%
  • Philadelphia Flyers                 3.1%
  • Colorado Avalanche               2.5%
  • Washington Capitals               2.1%
  • New Jersey Devils                  2.1%

2017-18 Special Teams Play

A strong power play can be very helpful during the regular season. However, in the playoffs, the man advantage isn’t as indicative of success. In the 2017 playoffs, eight of the top 11 power play teams lost in the first round. Winning the 5-on-5 battle is much more important.

The suggestion that referees swallow their whistles is a myth. Through three rounds of the playoffs last season, power-play opportunities were up to 6.22 per game from 5.97 during the regular season. And power play goals were less frequent.

Power Play Conversion

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins             26.2%
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs             25.0%
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning            23.9%
  4. Boston Bruins                       23.5%
  5. Winnipeg Jets                       23.4%
  6. Washington Capitals             22.5%
  7. Colorado Avalanche              22.0%
  8. New Jersey Devils                 21.4%
  9. Vegas Golden Knights           21.4%
  10. Nashville Predators               21.2%
  11. Philadelphia Flyers                20.7%
  12. San Jose Sharks                   20.6%
  13. Los Angeles Kings                 20.4%
  14. Minnesota Wild                      20.4%
  15. Anaheim Ducks                     17.8%
  16. Columbus Blue Jackets         17.2%

Penalty Killing Conversion

  1. Los Angeles Kings               85.0%
  2. San Jose Sharks                  84.8%
  3. Boston Bruins                       83.5%
  4. Colorado Avalanche             83.3%
  5. Anaheim Ducks                    83.2%
  6. Nashville Predators              81.9%
  7. New Jersey Devils                81.8%
  8. Winnipeg Jets                       81.8%
  9. Toronto Maple Leafs             81.4%
  10. Vegas Golden Knights          81.4%
  11. Minnesota Wild                     81.3%
  12. Washington Capitals             80.3%
  13. Pittsburgh Penguins              80.0%
  14. Columbus Blue Jackets        76.2%
  15. Tampa Bay Lightning            76.1%
  16. Philadelphia Flyers               75.8%
Guy Boucher, Ottawa Senators, NHL, Hockey
Guy Boucher knows that winning 5-on-5 play is the key to success (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Guy Boucher, the Ottawa Senators’ coach last year, has a theory on why power plays are less successful in the playoffs. “It’s a lot easier to destroy something than it is to build something. Guys are so dedicated to defending. They’re in the lanes and blocking shots with a much higher percentage,” said Boucher. “The playoffs are about paying the price. They’re about desperation. And there’s a lot of that on penalty kills.”

2017-18 Goal Scoring

Regular season success is only an indicator for playoff success. That said, with goals in the playoffs at a premium, teams still need to find a way to score. Here are the team’s winning percentage in one-goal games, 5-on-5 goal scoring totals, overall goals for, goals against and goal differential for all 16 playoff-bound teams.

Best Win Percentage in One-Goal Games

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning            .676%
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs             .658%
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets        .622%
  4. Nashville Predators              .615%
  5. Winnipeg Jets                       .611%
  6. Washington Capitals             .606%
  7. New Jersey Devils                .595%
  8. Boston Bruins                       .583%
  9. Vegas Golden Knights          .579%
  10. San Jose Sharks                   .563%
  11. Anaheim Ducks                     .514%
  12. Pittsburgh Penguins             .513%
  13. Philadelphia Flyers               .452%
  14. Minnesota Wild                     .444%
  15. Los Angeles Kings                .424%
  16. Colorado Avalanche             .423%

Goals For (5-on-5)

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning            196
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs             187
  3. Winnipeg Jets                       176
  4. Vegas Golden Knights          176
  5. Washington Capitals             171
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets        169
  7. Nashville Predators              168
  8. Boston Bruins                       165
  9. Pittsburgh Penguins             161
  10. New Jersey Devils                160
  11. Minnesota Wild                     160
  12. San Jose Sharks                   159
  13. Philadelphia Flyers               158
  14. Anaheim Ducks                     157
  15. Los Angeles Kings                155
  16. Colorado Avalanche             152

Goals For (Total)

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning            296
  2. Winnipeg Jets                       277
  3. Toronto Maple Leafs             277
  4. Vegas Golden Knights          272
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins             272
  6. Boston Bruins                       270
  7. Nashville Predators              267
  8. Washington Capitals             259
  9. Colorado Avalanche             257
  10. Minnesota Wild                     253
  11. San Jose Sharks                   252
  12. Philadelphia Flyers               251
  13. New Jersey Devils                248
  14. Columbus Blue Jackets        242
  15. Los Angeles Kings                239
  16. Anaheim Ducks                     235

Goals Against (Total)

  1. Los Angeles Kings                 203
  2. Nashville Predators                211
  3. Boston Bruins                         214
  4. Anaheim Ducks                      216
  5. Winnipeg Jets                         218
  6. Vegas Golden Knights            228
  7. San Jose Sharks                    229
  8. Columbus Blue Jackets         230
  9. Toronto Maple Leafs              232
  10. Minnesota Wild                      232
  11. Tampa Bay Lightning             236
  12. Colorado Avalanche               237
  13. Washington Capitals              239
  14. Philadelphia Flyers                243
  15. New Jersey Devils                 244
  16. Pittsburgh Penguins              250

Goal Differential

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning            +60
  2. Winnipeg Jets                       +59
  3. Boston Bruins                       +56
  4. Nashville Predators              +56
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs             +45
  6. Vegas Golden Knights          +44
  7. Los Angeles Kings                +36
  8. San Jose Sharks                  +23
  9. Pittsburgh Penguins             +22
  10. Minnesota Wild                     +21
  11. Washington Capitals             +20
  12. Colorado Avalanche             +20
  13. Anaheim Ducks                    +19
  14. Columbus Blue Jackets        +12
  15. Philadelphia Flyers                +8
  16. New Jersey Devils                 +4