Last Updated on June 3, 2020

With the NHL’s brand new 24-team playoff format, there are bound to be some surprises in these Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey is poised to return before any other major US sport and as a result, bettors have an opportunity to dip their toes back into the water. The new format provides hope for a few longshot teams, but the splits indicate that bettors are heavily favoring Eastern Conference squads.

NHL Stanley Cup Championship Betting Splits
Team 3/10/20 Odds Current Odds % Handle % Bets
WSH Capitals +1100 +900 14% 5%
PHI Flyers +1400 +1000 14% 12%
COL Avalanche +1000 +750 12% 15%
PIT Penguins +1200 +1600 10% 7%
BOS Bruins +550 +650 9% 14%
NY Rangers +4000 +4000 7% 5%
NY Islanders +3500 +4000 5% 3%
TB Lightning +750 +650 4% 10%
VGS Golden Knights +1000 +650 4% 4%
TOR Maple Leafs +2000 +2700 2% 2%
Provided by DraftKings Sportsbook

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, seven of the eight teams with the highest handle percentage are Eastern Conference teams. Although the Colorado Avalanche leads the pack with 15% of all tickets placed, they trail the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals in terms of actual dollars wagered. The Capitals only make up 5% of all tickets placed, but they account for a whopping 14% of all money down.

It’s no surprise that bettors are confident in those three teams considering they will all advance past the Qualifying Round with a bye. It’s clear from the lines change that this bye significantly affected current odds to lift the Stanley Cup. Still, until teams are back out onto the ice for their opening matchups, it’s going to be difficult to suss out who will ultimately lift the Cup.

Despite the 24-team format, longshots like the New York Rangers (+4000) and New York Islanders (+4000) are seeing some action. Unlike its usual May/June counterpart—the NBA Playoffs—the Stanley Cup Playoffs are wide open for these types of teams to make a run. All it takes is one hot streak from a goaltender or a surge from one goal-scorer to change a series. With 12% of the overall handle split between the Rangers and Isles, it’s clear that some bettors are taking a chance on the longshot.

Of course, the fact that both teams are from New York City probably attributes to the high percentage. With sports betting legal in New York and online sports betting legal in New Jersey, New Yorkers are making their presence known.

With all this said, there is still time for these lines and splits to shift before hockey is back. Keep an eye out for the right action.