2019 NHL Atlantic Division Expert Predictions with Betting Odds and Picks
For two consecutive years, the Atlantic Division has played out exactly how most people thought it would -- the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the division with the Bruins and Leafs battling for second and third and meeting in the first round of the postseason. So, how will this season play out? Well, for fans of the NHL who want to see some diversity and parity, the Atlantic Division is not the division for you. The Lightning will likely run away with the division once again, while the Bruins and Leafs once again battle for second and third spot.
The Atlantic Division is one with plenty of elite talent. However, outside the top three teams, the rest of the division is essentially rebuilding, and they are a few years away from being a division contender.
As of writing this, the Tampa Bay Lightning are the favorites to win the division once again with odds of +110. Behind them, the Toronto Maple Leafs check-in as second favorites at +275, with the Boston Bruins right on their heels at +325. Then we have a bit of a drop to the Florida Panthers at +650 and then a massive drop off to the Montreal Canadians at +4000. Buffalo (+6000), Detroit (+20000) and Ottawa (+50000) round out the bottom three.
If you want to get in on Doc's NHL selections, you can join the team now and start winning with us. We expect a big season this year on the ice, and you can get all our winning picks from puck drop on October 2 right through until the Stanley Cup is awarded in June.
The Favorite: Tampa Bay Lightning
the Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the best regular seasons in NHL history last season, yet they have no hardware to show for it. The Lightning tied the NHL record with 62 wins and now they return essentially the entire squad for the upcoming season. However, while the Lightning steamrolled through the regular season, the had one of the biggest choke jobs in recent memory as they were swept by the No. 8 seed Columbus in the first round of the playoffs. That sting has to be lingering with a team chock-full of veteran players, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see them win another 60 games again this season.
From a roster perspective, they have one of the best defensive groups in the entire league, boasting guys like Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev, and a former Norris trophy winner in Victor Hedman. Offensively, the Lightning have plenty of firepower in the likes of captain Steven Stamkos and the Art Ross (most points) and Hart Trophy (MVP) winner from last season, Nikita Kucherov. They also have up-and-comers like Brayden Point, who put up 92 points last season.
If you want to get in some prop bets on the Lightning this season, +110 is a reasonable price to win the division as they are in fact the best team on paper. If you believe the Lightning can take the next step in the playoffs, +750 is rather enticing on them to win the Stanley Cup . If player props are your thing, you can grab Kucherov to win his second straight Art Ross trophy at +275 (co-favorite with Connor McDavid), or +550 to win the Hart (MVP) Trophy again - the second favorite to McDavid.
The Contenders: Boston Bruins + Toronto Maple Leafs
I have no choice but to group these two teams together as they are on a collision course for a first-round playoff meeting for the third straight season. Without going to into too much detail regarding the last two seasons, but Bruins and Leafs battled to two seven-game series, both going the Bruins way. With Tampa set to run away with their third division crown, the Bruins and Leafs figure to battle it out for seeds two and three, which would have them meet for the third straight postseason.
Starting with the Bruins, they came up just one game short of hoisting the Stanley Cup as they lost Game 7 on their home ice to the St. Louis Blues. The deep playoff run caught many outside of Boston by surprise, but the Bruins have proven they can win big games when needed. They return the majority of their lineup, including the three-headed monster in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, who combined for 260 points last season. Defensively, they have the ever-present Zdeno Chara and solid up-and-coming stars like Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug. At one point or another, the Bruins are going to hit a rough patch, but we don't believe it's going to be this year.
You can grab the Bruins at -300 to make the playoffs and +1100 to win the Cup. Individually, you can grab Marchand at +3330 to win the Art Ross and +1100 to have the most regular-season penalty minutes.
As for the Leafs, they come into this season not exactly better or worse than last year. They were able to lock up the final piece of their big three when they signed Mitch Marner to a six-year deal worth $65.358 million. A lot of people said they overpaid, but he is one of the catalysts for this team offensively. And if you plan on winning games, scoring goals is a priority. Offensively, the Leafs may have one of the best top-six forwards in the league, and we expect them to be up near the top in terms of goals for and goals per game. Defensively is where the issues lie, as they have a bunch of new guys (via trade/free agency) to fill the voids around their leader Morgan Reilly. In net, the Leafs are set with Frederik Andersen, who is the favorite (+600) to win the Vezina Trophy this year. Another ho-hum season for the Leafs is in the cards. And while we don't believe they can win the division, they'll be comfortable in a playoff spot come late in the year and on pace, once again to meet the Bruins.
The Leafs have a projected point total of 102.5, with the over shaded to -130, while Auston Matthews (+750) and John Tavares (+900) are second and third favorites to lead the league in goals behind Alex Ovechkin.
The Rest: Florida, Montreal, Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa
In the interest of your time and space on this article, let's just group these teams together as none of these five teams have the roster needed to win the Atlantic Division. Florida is on the cusp of something good as they have good talent with a great system in place, but they average about 30 fans per game and it seems like they are another year away from battling for a wild-card spot. You can grab the Panthers at -220 to make the postseason, which I would take NO in a heartbeat. Montreal has a few good pieces in place, led by the steady Carey Price, but the playoffs seem extremely unlikely. The same can be said for the Sabres, Red Wings and Senators, all of which should make up the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Get $60 worth of member's NHL picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top hockey handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free ! Also, for a limited time get three hockey handicappers for the price of one! Click here for our 3-for-1 NHL picks offer . Also, get free NHL picks every day on Doc's Sports NHL predictions page.
Get all of Tonight's Free NHL Picks.
Get all of Tonight's Expert Expert NHL Picks.