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Atlantic Division betting preview: Breaking down a wide-open race

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The start of the new NHL season is a week away, with regular-season action beginning Oct. 10.

We'll prep you for the lengthy 82-game campaign by previewing each of the four divisions from a betting perspective and evaluating what the odds say about each team's outlook.

Let's start with the Atlantic Division.

Futures odds

Team Stanley Cup Eastern Conf. Atlantic Div.
Maple Leafs +900 +550 +175
Bruins +1600 +800 +350
Panthers +1800 +900 +400
Lightning +2500 +900 +700
Sabres +3500 +1600 +1000
Senators +4000 +2000 +1000
Red Wings +6000 +3000 +2500
Canadiens +20000 +8000 +10000

The betting market believes the Maple Leafs are the best team in the Atlantic, making them favorites to win the division at +175 (36.5% implied probability).

Toronto changed its general manager but didn't make any other drastic overhauls to a roster that was bounced in disappointing fashion to the Panthers in the second round of last year's postseason. However, they did add some "snot" - as new GM Brad Treliving likes to call it - with the additions of Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Ryan Reaves.

Oddsmakers believe those changes are enough for the team to dethrone the reigning Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins. Boston has some question marks this year after losing captain Patrice Bergeron and longtime centerman David Krejci to retirement. The Bruins were also upset by the 8-seed Panthers in the playoffs last year after setting an NHL record for most regular-season points.

The Panthers appear to be the third-best team in this division based on the odds. They marched to the Stanley Cup Final last season before losing to the Golden Knights.

To make the playoffs

Team Yes No
Maple Leafs -700 +425
Bruins -300 +220
Panthers -220 +170
Lightning -145 +115
Sabres -110 -120
Senators -125 -105
Red Wings +230 -320
Canadiens +1300 -3500

The top three teams in the division are heavy favorites to make the playoffs. The Panthers at -220 (68.8% implied probability) have the worst chance of the trio, according to the betting market.

Oddsmakers seem to believe the Lightning will take a step back in 2023-24. A 59.2% implied probability of making the playoffs is very low for a team that won two of the last four Stanley Cups. The loss of Andrei Vasilevskiy for two months due to back surgery may be a large reason why. However, given the experience of the Lightning's core, they have to be included as favorites to win the division.

There's a gap in the odds of winning the division after the Lightning. The Sabres, Senators, and Red Wings are all trending in the right direction but may be a year or two away from contending with the Atlantic's top teams.

It's worth noting the Senators have better odds of making the playoffs than the Sabres but worse odds of winning the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup.

After recording only 68 points last year and receiving the fifth pick in the 2023 draft, the betting market is expecting the Canadiens to struggle once again. Their +20000 odds of winning the Stanley Cup are ahead of only the Ducks, Coyotes, and Sharks.

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