Though football is just getting started, another NHL season is right around the corner and we start our four divisional tour in the Atlantic, where the Tampa Bay and Toronto are expected at the head of the class. Boston is a bit behind, with the rest of the teams languishing much further back.
With this preview, besides looking at the teams, we will also cover each team Over/Under wager for season points in the standings and their odds to win their division and conference. The latter two odds are present by Intertops.
Toronto – +150 to win Atlantic and +375 to win the East Conference
Mike Babcock was brought to Toronto to turn the franchise around and win. Babcock and the front office changed the culture and many players. This was noticed by others and it is why they were able to hook top free agent John Tavares. It’s not like the Maple Leafs could not score, as they were tied for third last year in goals. However, this year they can really apply the pressure with Tavares, plus having Auston Matthews playing a sweet second fiddle. One aspect Babcock has to fix is defensive shot on goal where Fredrik Andersen was peppered. The defense will determine their point total and Cup aspirations.
Projected Points Total: O/U 106.5
Tampa Bay – +150 to win Atlantic and +400 to win the East Conference
This a big year for Tampa Bay, after three appearances in the East Finals in the past four seasons. There is no shortage of talent on the Lightning roster, especially on offense, where they were No.1 in scoring. After this season, contracts are up and some are due big paydays and it will be impossible to keep everyone. Offensive depth is not a problem with six 20+ goal scorers and six 50+ point producers. The blue-line revolves around Victor Hedman (Norris Trophy winner), but he still needs more help after they finished 19th in goals allowed, due in part to being 29th in penalty killing. A good bet all around, but the pressure is on the Lightning to do a Washington.
Projected Points Total: O/U 107.5