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Pacific Division Contenders: 3-Team Battle for Title

One of these seasons, superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl may have enough behind them to drag the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final. But a wager on the favorite in the Pacific Division odds may not be one of the best NHL bets to make today.

Edmonton is the second favorite to win the West (behind Colorado), but it has been to one conference final since 2006 and lost 4-0 in that one (Colorado, 2022). So can anyone depend on the Oilers after they added very little to last season’s lineup in the summer?

Pacific Division Contenders: 3-Team Battle for Title
Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers waits for a faceoff in the first period of a Game/Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The answer is probably no if you are betting online. Edmonton will have company in the race for the top in the Pacific. The defending Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights are certainly the team to beat unless they suffer a major hangover and the Seattle Kraken don’t look like a team ready to take a step back.

In addition, the Los Angeles Kings could be a factor and the Calgary Flames have the talent to contend.

We think the KIngs might have lost a little too much depth, could be weaker in net and are a decent bet to miss the playoffs at +300 in the live betting.

Whatever Happens In Vegas … Still Bet Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights are tied for fifth choice in the Las Vegas hockey odds to win the Cup after a dominating run to the title last season.

The message is that Vegas can’t do it again, The Knights certainly have the tools to get the job done, though. They also have cap space to add a piece to their bottom-six forwards.

Edmonton may outscore opponents on the way to the Pacific crown, but Vegas still has a strong roster. Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Marchessault is back up front with Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson. The Knights have not added any new forwards yet, but re-signed playoff heroes Ivan Barbashev and Brett Howden against all odds.

Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo lead a solid defense in front of goalie Adin Hill, who was re-signed to team with Logan Thompson after his brilliant playoff run. Some still think Hill is not a No. 1. We do.

  • Odds to Win Pacific: +250
  • Odds to Win Western Conference: +550
  • Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +1100

Oilers Will Pay Off Moneyline Bettors

With the high-end talent it has, Edmonton could and should win enough games to finish in the top three and perhaps win a division title for the first time since 1987.

The playoffs are a different animal, though, but having defenseman Mattias Ekholm around the whole season could help Ultimately, goaltenders Staurt Skinner and Jack Campbell must raise their level of play.

The Oilers have no problem putting the puck in the net. They led the league in scoring and in power-play percentage highlighted by McDavid (153 points), Draisaitl (127) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (104).

Edmonton hopes forward Connor Brown can contribute after missing most of last season with Washington due to a knee injury, and former 14th overall pick Dylan Hollloway (nine points, 51 games in 2022-23) reaches his potential.

Ekholm joins Evan Bouchard, Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci in a solid top four if healthy. One of these seasons the Oilers may get it together in May and June. You would want better NHL future odds, though.

  • Odds to Win Pacific: +200
  • Odds to Win Western Conference: +450
  • Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +1000

Bettors Should Stick With These Kraken

Many times when a young franchise makes a run like Seattle made ahead of schedule, it takes a step back the next season. After winning the Pacific and making the Cup Final in their first season, the Golden Knights were third and lost in the first round in 2019.

But it sure looks like one of the best sports picks today that the Kraken will only move forward and even win the Pacific at juicy odds (+1000). Seattle only lost one significant player – defenseman Carson Soucy – and replaced him with veteran Brian Dumoulin.

The Kraken are balanced and productive up front with Jaden Schwartz, Alex Wennberg, Jordan Eberle, Calder Trophy winner Matty Beniers, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Yanni Gourde and a healthy Andre Burakovsky.

Playoff standout Philipp Grubauer is No. 1 between the pipes in front of a solid defense led by Adam Larsson, Vince Dunn, Jamie Oleksiak, Dumoulin, and Justin Schultz. Rookie defenseman Ryker Evans is also coming off a great AHL season.

Bettors would be smart to wager a few bucks on the Kraken to win the division.

  • Odds to Win Pacific: +1000
  • Odds to Win Western Conference: +1400
  • Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +4000

Flames Could IgnitetTo Pay Off Bettors

Calgary was two points out of a playoff spot last season and lost 17 games in overtime or a shootout.

In the last five games, the Flames lost to one of the worst teams at home (Chicago) and suffered shootout setbacks against two non-playoff teams.

Forward Elias Lindholm (64 points), Nazem Kadri (56) and Jonathan Huberdeau (55) should all improve on their numbers from last season, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom (.892 save percentage) most certainly can. If he can’t, rookie Dustin Wolf may be ready.

The defense should be good enough, led by Rasmus Andersson, Nikita Zadorov, MacKenzie Weegar and Noah Hanifin. Forward Blake Coleman said late last season that Calgary had forgotten how to win games. If they remember, we think the Flames are a good bet to make the playoffs.

  • Odds to Win Pacific: +750
  • Odds to Win Western Conference: +1400
  • Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +3300


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