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

When it comes to the odds where NHL team will win the Central Division in the 2018-19 effort, it is only a two-team race in sportsbooks.
The Nashville Predators are the slight +150 favorites to claim the bragging rights in BetOnline, with the Winnipeg Jets right 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 in the shop.
Who has the edge: Preds or Jets?
While the Predators have been a perennial contender at the Central for quite a while, the Jets burst onto the scene in a huge way in 2017-18 by posting a 52-20-10 album — a significant jump from their 40-35-7 revealing two years ago. The development of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck provided Winnipeg with all the franchise netminder it’s been missing since the group arrived in Manitoba in 2011. As a result, the Jets signed the Vezina Trophy runner-up into some six-year, $37-million deal in the offseason.
It’s difficult 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 largest non-believers that Winnipeg will be the actual thing. While the Predators remain an elite group, longtime goaltender Pekka Rinne is beginning to show his era at 35, and I think Winnipeg is the better choice here in order to win the Central.
Blues spent the summer making motions The Blues, who missed the playoffs with a single stage in 2017-18, have been in need of a shakeup, also general manager Doug Armstrong did exactly that in a stunning roster overhaul which has his team poised to greatly improve on its own 44-32-6 record.
Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak were introduced into jump-start an offense that boasted Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko. The goaltending remains a small question mark, but if Jake Allen can return to form for the full season, expect St. Louis to get back to the postseason next spring.
What happened to the Blackhawks?
Contemplating that the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups since 2010, their fall from grace is hard to think, however the +2000 price on them to win 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 their team being competitive. What followed was a 33-39-10 record along with a last-place revealing from the Central.
It is no secret Chicago has had its fair share of salary cap problems, yet general director Stan Bowman has started to make some moves to free up some badly needed space. Barring a miracle, the Blackhawks won’t be in the dialogue of Central contenders for the foreseeable future.
For a breakdown of Stanley Cup odds, click here. OddsShark’s NHL page has all the betting information you will need to place a little excess money in your pocket on the ice this season.

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