Odds to Win the NHL Central Division: Jets are Primed for Takeoff

When it comes to the odds on which NHL team will win the Central Division from the 2018-19 effort, it’s only a two-team race in sportsbooks.
The Nashville Predators will be the slight +150 favorites to claim the bragging rights at BetOnline, together with the Winnipeg Jets directly behind them at +160. Even the St. Louis Blues (+850), Dallas Stars (+850), Minnesota Wild (+850), Colorado Avalanche (+1800) and Chicago Blackhawks (+2000) round things out at the shop.
Who has the edge: Jets or Preds?
While the Predators have been a perennial contender at the Central for quite some time, the Jets burst onto the scene in a big way in 2017-18 by submitting a 52-20-10 record — a significant leap from their 40-35-7 revealing two decades ago. The emergence of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck supplied Winnipeg with all the franchise netminder it has been missing since the group arrived in Manitoba in 2011. Because of this, the Jets signed the Vezina Trophy runner-up into some six-year, $37-million deal in the offseason.
It is hard to find many weak places on the Jets roster, and a run to the Western Conference finals that led to a loss to the Vegas Golden Knights has convinced the biggest non-believers that Winnipeg is the actual deal. While the Predators stay an elite group, longtime goaltender Pekka Rinne is starting to show his era at 35, and I believe Winnipeg is the better pick here to win the Central.
Blues spent making moves The Blues, who missed the playoffs by one stage in 2017-18, were in need of a shakeup, and general manager Doug Armstrong did exactly that at a stunning roster overhaul that has his club poised to vastly improve on its 44-32-6 record.
Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak were brought in to jumpstart a crime that already boasted Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. The goaltending stays a bit of a question mark, however when Jake Allen can return to form for the entire season, expect St. Louis to get back to the postseason following spring.
What happened to the Blackhawks?
Considering that the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, their fall from grace is difficult to believe, yet the +2000 cost on them to acquire the Central speaks volumes. Last year was a nightmare for the’Hawks, as an injury to starting goaltender Corey Crawford at December effectively ended any hope Chicago fans had of the group becoming competitive. What followed was a 33-39-10 document and a last-place revealing in the Central.
It is no secret Chicago has had its own fair share of salary cap issues, however general director Stan Bowman has started to make some moves to free up some space that is badly needed. Barring a miracle, the Blackhawks will not be in the conversation of Central contenders for the foreseeable future.
For a full breakdown of Stanley Cup odds, click here. OddsShark’s NHL page has all of the betting information you will need to put a little extra cash in your pocket to the ice this season.

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