Betting the Early Season NHL Futures

The NHL got a later start to its planned 56-game regular season. However, the early results offer some solid insight into which teams will be competing for the 2021 Stanley Cup title from each of the four divisions.
Betting odds to win each division title are up on the board at BetOnline sportsbook. Here is a look at the top four teams from each of the four division races:

East Division

  • Boston Bruins +150
  • Philadelphia Flyers +325
  • Washington Capitals +400
  • Pittsburgh Penguins +600

The Bruins (8-1-2) and the Flyers (8-3-2) are tied at the top of the standings as the two best teams in the East. While you can never count out the Capitals or Penguins given the star power still on each roster, this is still going to be a two-team race to the division title, given the overall gap that remains with Boston and Philadelphia.
Boston overs some solid value as the favorite, but the Flyers could be the best value pick on the entire board at +325. The gap between the two teams is not as wide as the betting odds might suggest.

Free Pick: Take Philadelphia at +325

Central Division

  • Tampa Bay Lightning +110
  • Carolina Hurricanes +225
  • Dallas Stars +500
  • Florida Panthers +600

The Lightning's biggest rivals (Boston and Toronto) are playing in different divisions. Carolina has the ability to keep things interesting as the second-best team, but this division race is Tampa Bay's to lose as the defending Stanley Cup Champions. A 7-1-1 start in nine games has the Lightning pointed in the right direction.
As part of the fast start, Tampa Bay has almost scored twice as many goals (32) as it has allowed (18). This is the kind of balance on each end of the ice that carried this team to last season’s championship.

Free Pick: Take Tampa Bay at +110

North Division

  • Toronto Maple Leafs +115
  • Montreal Canadians +120
  • Winnipeg Jets +750
  • Edmonton Oilers +1000

The great thing about the realignment of the four divisions is a guaranteed Canadian team in the Final Four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As far as the division race, the early lean would be towards Montreal (8-2-2) with an impressive 5-0-2 record on the road. These Canadiens also have the best goal differential in the NHL at +17.
What really stands out with Montreal through early play is the team's depth in scoring. Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson have led the way with a combined 17 goals in 12 games. Austin Matthews (10 goals) has been a force for Toronto, but Jake Allen in goal for Montreal adds some solid balance to this team as well.

Free Pick: Take Montreal at +120

West Division

  • Vegas Golden Knights +150
  • Colorado Avalanche +160
  • St. Louis Blues +375
  • Minnesota Wild +1200

This division race should come down to the top three teams on the list based on the betting odds. The Blues are always a threat to make a run as a value pick, but Vegas and Colorado have created a certain degree of separation as the top two teams from a betting perspective. The Golden Knights have gone 7-1-1 in their first nine games as the slight point of difference.
Philipp Grubauer in goal for Colorado is a big plus for leaning that way, but the ageless Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for Vegas is also a strong selling point. At this point of the season, going with either team is still a value play. That being said, going chalk with the favorite would be the safest play.

Free Pick: Take Vegas at +150

NHL Futures Best Bets Summary

East: Philadelphia at +325
Central: Tampa Bay at +110
North: Montreal at +120
West: Vegas at +150