Oddsmakers Line Hurricanes as Eastern Team To Beat

Eastern Conference Playoffs: Top-Seeded Rangers +400 to Reach Finals

The stage is set in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoffs. The New York Islanders and Washington Capitals grabbed the conference’s final two spots, solidifying a race that went down to the final few days of the regular season. All four first-round matchups are now set.

Neither New York nor Washington is expected to do much from here, but history tells us not to count anyone out when it comes to the playoffs. Just last season the Panthers made the Stanley Cup Finals as the eighth seed in the East.

With the Eastern Conference playoffs just around the corner, let’s look at where things stand.

Uncover Exclusive Picks & Predictions From Our Experts.

Hurricanes logo Carolina the East Favorites

Carolina did not win the Presidents’ Trophy or even the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Yet it makes no difference to the oddsmakers, who have crowned the Hurricanes as the conference’s team to beat. The Hurricanes, who finished second with 111 points (52-23-7), are +300 favorites to win the East, up from +650 in the preseason and slightly ahead of the Panthers (+350) and the top-seeded Rangers (+400).

The Hurricanes are also +700 Stanley Cup favorites, ahead of Florida (+800) and Colorado (+800).

The Hurricanes are 7-2 over their last nine games, including three shutout victories. The obvious question is whether they can carry that success into their first-round series against the Islanders when the pressure will be tenfold.

Despite their success, the Carolina Hurricanes have not been overly favorable to bettors with a 37-45 record against the puckline (ATS).

Panthers logo Can Florida Run it Back?

Florida was a surprising Cup finalist last season. But it won’t “sneak up” on anybody this time. The Panthers went 52-24-6 to win the Atlantic Division with 110 points. Next up is a first-round series against Tampa Bay.

At +350, the Panthers are the second-shortest favorite in the East. They certainly have the offensive firepower to make a deep run, as Sam Reinhart was among the NHL goal leaders with 57. Reinhart (94 points) was also one of three Panthers to hit the 80-point threshold, joining Matthew Tkachuk (88) and Aleksander Barkov (80).

Florida has consistently been among the NHL’s best road teams, going 26-11-4 away from home. That includes 27-14 ATS compared to 14-27 at home.

Rangers logo Rangers Grab Presidents’ Trophy

The New York Rangers finished the regular season with franchise records for wins (55) and points (114). They won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time since 2014-15. Their Stanley Cup betting odds are currently +800.

Artemi Panarin enjoyed the biggest year of his career, notching 49 goals and 71 assists. His 120 points ranked fourth in the NHL behind Nikita Kucherov (142), Nathan MacKinnon (138) and Connor McDavid (132).

As the East’s top seed, the Rangers will have a home-ice advantage through at least the conference finals. That bodes well considering their success at Madison Square Garden (30-11).

The Rangers seem set up to make a deep run despite some concerning metrics. Their goal differential at 5-on-5, for instance, is just plus-1.

Islanders logo Islanders’ Turnaround Continues Under Roy

The New York Islanders went 7-0-1 over their last eight games to finish seventh in the East. Although they still have one regular-season game remaining, Wednesday against Pittsburgh, they are locked into a first-round matchup against Carolina.

Patrick Roy has done a masterful job getting the Islanders back on track. They are now 19-12-5 since he took over behind the bench, including a six-game winning streak that ended with Saturday’s shootout loss to the Rangers.

Oddsmakers aren’t expecting much, as the Islanders (38-27-16) have the second-longest Eastern Conference playoff odds (+2500). However, just making the playoffs is a reason to celebrate.

Capitals logo Capitals Find the Back Door

With 91 points, the Capitals (40-31-11) locked up the final playoff spot in the East. Despite a six-game losing streak from March 28 to April 7, the Capitals outlasted both Detroit (91 points) and Pittsburgh (88).

The Washington Capitals deserve credit for making the postseason, but they certainly don’t have the makings of a legitimate contender. Their unsightly minus-37 goal differential, the third worst in the East ahead of only Montreal (-53) and Columbus (-63), is concerning. So, too, is their lack of high-end goaltending with Charlie Lindgren and Darcy Kuemper.

It’s no wonder they are easily the biggest Eastern Conference playoff longshots at +6000.

For NHL lines, betting analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


Can’t get enough? Here’s more!

Back to top button

pointspreads

WHO WILL WIN?

NBA Finals
dallas mavericks
Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
Sunday, June 23, 2024
50%
50%
Stanley Cup
edmonton oilers
Edmonton Oilers
Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers
Sunday, June 23, 2024
50%
50%
Submit your vote and view the results
Hey Again

vote all you can

pointspreads

PS-email

PS-email

pointspreads

pointspreads-email

Bet like a PRO!

pointspreads-email

Subscribe now and get Weekly Expert Free Picks