When a team has Auston Matthews, John Tavares and Nazem Kadri as their top three centres like the Toronto Maple Leafs do, it would be tough to bet against them.
This is why a recent article by Oddsshark gave the Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning the best odds to hoist the Stanley Cup. As of this time last year, the Lightning were third on the list behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers, the Leafs were tied for fourth.
On this year’s list alongside the Leafs and Lightning are the Winnipeg Jets (3rd), Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals (4th). What’s surprising is not who was chosen as the favourites but that the defending Stanley Cup Champions were not second on the list.
The simple reason is looking at what teams did in the offseason to increase their chances. Signing Tavares put the rest of the league on notice that the Leafs weren’t going to sit back and now they’re being rewarded for it.
A big question that continues to be an ongoing debate is whether the team’s defence is good enough to get the job done? Can Frederik Andersen provide them with enough stable goaltending?
Another point to consider is that the Leafs are not the sole favourites to hoist the Cup as well. Despite getting bounced by the Capitals, the Lightning still poses the toughest challenge to the Leafs path to the Finals.
What could help is the team deciding to be buyers for a defenceman if the right player is available or they get internal improvement.
Another point to consider when it comes to betting odds is how they can drastically change on the fly. One team that didn’t make the cut was the Nashville Predators who deserve to be among the contenders.
This is where some caution has to be taken with betting odds like this especially because the Leafs weren’t the odds-on favourites to land Tavares. Then again, the Toronto Raptors were the favourites to land Kawhi Leonard and proved the oddsmakers right in the end.
This is why they call it gambling and there’s no doubt that some Leafs fans are willing to put a wager on the team’s chances to end the Stanley Cup drought.