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

If it comes to the odds on which NHL team will win the Central Division in the 2018-19 effort, it’s only a two-team race in sportsbooks.
The Nashville Predators are the little +150 favorites to claim the bragging rights at BetOnline, with the Winnipeg Jets directly behind them at +160. The St. Louis Blues (+850), Dallas Stars (+850), Minnesota Wild (+850), Colorado Avalanche (+1800) and Chicago Blackhawks (+2000) round things out in the store.
Who has the edge: Jets or Preds?
While the Predators are a perennial contender in the Central for quite some time, the Jets burst on the scene in a big way in 2017-18 by posting a 52-20-10 record — a significant leap from their 40-35-7 revealing two years ago. The emergence of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck supplied Winnipeg with the franchise netminder it has been missing since the team arrived in Manitoba in 2011. Because of this, the Jets signed up the Vezina Trophy runner-up to a six-year, $37-million deal in the offseason.
It is hard to find many weak spots 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 real deal. While the Predators stay an elite group, longtime goaltender Pekka Rinne is starting to show his era at 35, and I think Winnipeg is the greater pick here in order 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, also general manager Doug Armstrong did precisely that at a dramatic roster overhaul that has his team poised to greatly 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 boasted Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. The goaltending remains a bit of a question mark, but if Jake Allen can return to form for the full season, expect St. Louis to get back to the postseason following spring.
What happened to the Blackhawks?
Considering the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, their fall from grace is difficult to believe, yet the +2000 price 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 lovers had of the group being competitive. What followed was a 33-39-10 record along with a last-place revealing in the Central.
It’s no secret Chicago has had its fair share of salary cap problems, yet general manager 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 near future.
For a full breakdown of Stanley Cup chances, click here. OddsShark’s NHL page has all the betting information you will have to put a little excess money in your pocket to the ice this year.

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