As for now July 30 is the magic date for hockey fans.  To be exact that is when the National Hockey League is scheduled to begin its playoffs.  Unlike the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball the NHL won’t have an abbreviated regular season.  Instead there will be two weeks of training.  One exhibition game per team is on the docket.  Hockey 2020 season betting will begin with a best of five preliminary playoff round.  Specifically, seeds five through 12 in the Eastern and Western conferences will play in the preliminary round.

Odds to Win 2020 Stanley Cup:  Arizona Coyotes +3000, Boston Bruins +650, Calgary Flames +4000, Carolina Hurricanes +4000, Chicago Blackhawks +7000, Colorado Avalanche +875, Columbus Blue Jackets +5000, Dallas Stars +1600, Edmonton Oilers +2400, Florida Panthers +4000, Minnesota Wild +4000, Montreal Canadiens +6000, Nashville Predators +3500, New York Islanders +3800, New York Rangers +3800, Philadelphia Flyers +1300, Pittsburgh Penguins +1500, St. Louis Blues +1150, Tampa Bay Lightning +550, Toronto Maple Leafs +2200, Vancouver Canucks +3500, Vegas Golden Knights +875, Washington Capitals +1100, Winnipeg Jets +5000

2020 Stanley Cup Odds Betting Analysis 

To begin with the top four teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences will get a bye.  Handicappers are split as to whether or not that is an advantage.  Of great concern is that preliminary round teams will get their legs and air first.  Teams that get the first-round bye may show rust when taking the ice.  Hockey is different from all other sports.  An eight-seed can win the Stanley Cup.  In the same way top seeds are often upset.  Throw in the four-month layoff and it’s a gambling Russian Roulette.  Accordingly, sharps are shopping underdogs.

Eastern Conference Seedings and Matchups

First Round Byes:  1-Boston Bruins 2-Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-Washington Capitals, 4-Philadelphia Flyers

5-Pittsurgh Penguins (-205) vs. 12-Montreal Canadiens (+175)

Compared to some other series this one is seen as potentially combustive.  Montreal goaltender Carey Price could be the equalizer.  Pittsburgh has more firepower but the price may be too high.

6-Carolina Hurricanes (-140) vs. 11-New York Rangers (+120)

New York was one of the most improved teams in NHL Betting when play stopped.  However, in this matchup the Hurricanes boast vastly superior defense and goaltending.  In a playoff of unknowns that may prove decisive.

7-New York Islanders (-120) vs. 10-Florida Panthers (+100)

Talk about a matchup of opposites!  Plodding New York relies and defense and goaltending.  Cause by a lack of offense do the Islanders play in a shell.  Counter to that is a Panthers team with plenty of skill.  But defense and goaltending are a Florida liability.  Usually that is a playoff onus.

8- Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) vs. 9-Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)

In like manner this series offers dramatically different styles.  Toronto may be the most skilled and fastest team in the NHL.  Columbus is the ultimate lunch bucket team of blue-collar boys. Specifically, the Maple Leafs are a consistently poor value as hockey’s most public team.  Toronto takes too many shifts off on the back end.  Yet Columbus may lack the firepower to take advantage.  

Western Conference Seedings and Matchups

Mar 13, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The statue of Wayne Gretzky watches over an empty Rogers Place as the NHL suspends games because of the COVID-19 outbreak at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

First Round Byes:  1-St. Louis Blues, 2-Colorado Avalanche, 3-Vegas Golden Knights, 4-Dallas Stars

5-Edmonton Oilers (-160) vs. 12-Chicago Blackhawks (+140)

Namely Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is the best player in the NHL.  Rebuilding Chicago was not a profitable CashBet sportsbook team.  Indeed, the Oilers were one of the most improved teams in the NHL.  Chicago rates with Montreal as the two teams that would have never seen post season were it not for the COVID-19 monkey wrench.  

6-Nashville Predators (-140) vs. 11-Arizona Coyotes (+120)

Definitely fans that want an unpredictable series will watch this one.  Nashville is not as strong defensively as in the past.  But low scoring Arizona may not be able to capitalize.  

7-Vancouver Canucks (-130) vs. 10-Minnesota Wild (+110)

In view of Minnesota’s improved profitability when play stopped is potential.  Following a hot start, the Canucks were fading badly down the stretch.  Could Minnesota be a “Wild” card?

8-Calgary Flames (-120) vs. 9-Winnipeg Jets (+100)

Overall, this is viewed as the best series of the first round.  Winnipeg was often inconsistent before play stopped.  Balanced against that is a Calgary team that outperformed its mediocre metrics.  

CASHBET Best Bets:  Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes