NHL 2018-19 Season Betting Tips and Predictions

Nolan Patrick 2017 NHL Entry Draft top pick by Sports betting sites

If the Las Vegas Golden Knights were to follow the Rocky blueprint, they’d be a lock to win the 2019 Stanley Cup at legal betting sites. Many people may not remember it that way, but Rocky Balboa actually lost the Heavyweight Championship match in the first film. As did the Knights the 2018 Stanley Cup series to the Washington Capitals. Which would make the Caps Apollo Creed. The Golden Knights were an expansion team in their maiden season. As a result, the best online sportsbooks didn’t give the Golden Knights a snowball’s chance in hell. Or Jahanna, as Connie Mac would say. Isn’t it ironic that Las Vegas didn’t believe in Las Vegas? It is ironic, but only in the Alanis Morrisette interpretation of the word. Unfortunately for the Knights, this is ice hockey, not boxing.

Washington Capitals, Las Vegas Golden Knights (+1400)

These two teams contested the previous Stanley Cup Finals. That doesn’t rule them out from winning the next. However, legal betting sites see a couple of hurdles along their way. The Caps, for example, might have to deal with a Stanley Cup hangover. If there is such a thing. The Penguins won two Stanley Cups in a row in 2016 and 2017. However, back-to-back champions is an uncommon occurrence. The Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. The Pens also twopeated in 1991 and 1992. That Pittsburgh team was the last two win their first and second Stanley Cups consecutively.

As for the Golden Knights, the concern is that they might regress in their second season. The dreaded sophomore slump. As Adam Gretz writes, “One thing seems inevitable for the Golden Knights heading into year two. There is going to be some regression from the players on this roster, because there were several [players who] had career years at the exact same time. From William Karlsson‘s out-of-nowhere 43-goal season, to Reilly Smith becoming a point-per-game forward, to Erik Haula scoring 29 goals, to Marc-Andre Fleury playing the absolute best hockey of his life in his mid-30s.” The odds of another perfect storm are very long indeed.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets (+800)

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that neither Caps nor Knights will get anywhere near the Stanley Cup. That would open the door for Lightning, Leafs, and Jets to win the coveted prize. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos is entering a season fully healthy. The Lightning also have a lot of depth. Mathieu Joseph and Alex Volkov, Danick Martel and defenseman Erik Cernak are just a few of Tampa Bay’s promising young players. They may spend some time in Syracuse. But just to know they’re waiting in the wings is comforting knowledge for the Lightning.

General manager Kyle Dubas’s plan for the Leafs might just come to fruition this season. John Tavares is the latest addition to a team already chock full of promise and potential. Dubas has built the Toronto franchise around Auston Mathews, and the results have been palpable. The Leafs have made the postseason for two straight years. Of course, going from not winning a playoffs series since 2004 to winning the Stanley Cup is quite the leap.

The Jets upset legal betting sites odds by eliminating the Predators in the second round of last season’s playoffs. “With that experience under their belts, the Jets are now poised to take the next step. Their top line of centre Mark Scheifele and wingers Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor is one of the best in the league. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck played his way into the top tier of goaltenders with his work in the playoffs,” writes David Shoalts.

Pick: Why not go with the San Jose Sharks? Their odds stand now at +1200 thanks to the arrival of defenseman Erik Karlsson. This is one more move San Jose has made to try to break their postseason hex. And it may just have been the right move.