A unique NHL regular season has come to a close and the playoffs are set to begin on Saturday.
The league realigned with four divisions for this season only as a way to combat travel due to COVID-19 issues. Teams only faced opponents from within their division during the 56-game regular season.
Now, the top seed in each division faces the fourth seed, while the second and third seeds will play each other in the First Round. The winners of both matchups will play each other in the Second Round.
Seeding will be re-done once the Stanley Cup Semifinals are set based on their regular season point totals. Washington hosts Boston on Saturday night in the first game of the best-of-seven series to open the postseason.
Colorado enters the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the +400 ‘chalk’ at DraftKings. Toronto and Vegas are both +550, while Carolina is +750 and reigning champion Tampa Bay is +800.
One Washington D.C. bettor is hoping for a chalky playoff bracket. He or she risked $13,000 to win $71,500 on the Avalance at +550 odds, according to Todd Dewey of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The bet was placed through William Hill.
Another William Hill customer is hoping that the Lightning are able to repeat as champions. The bettor wagered $18,000 at 8/8.5-1 odds to win a total of $148,500.
There was also a large longshot wager placed at William Hill in Nevada. The customer risked $1,900 on Florida at 100/1 odds, hoping to score a $190,000 payday. Dewey did not confirm when the wager was placed, but the Panthers opened at 60/1 in September.
The Panthers are +116 underdogs to Tampa Bay in their First Round series. Colorado is -335 to take down St. Louis in their opening round matchup.
Nashville has the longest odds of any playoff team at DraftKings. The Predators are 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup Finals and are +190 against Carolina in the First Round.
Vegas will be hoping to get past Minnesota as a -240 favorite in the First Round. The Wild are 11-2-3 all-time against the Golden Knights, who has disappointed in the postseason on several occasions.
Four of last year’s eight qualifying-round series ended in upsets. There were an additional two upsets among the eight first-round series. This year is different, as there is no qualifying round.