It was a wild weekend in sports, but here’s probably the biggest shocker of them all: The Toronto Maple Leafs are the favorites to win the 2019 Stanley Cup.
Well, according to the sportsbooks, at least.
The Leafs made the splash of the NHL offseason Sunday when they agreed to terms with John Tavares on a seven-year contract.
The former New York Islanders captain is one of the best centers in the NHL, and he should instantly improve a Leafs team that already was on the upswing.
BetOnline.ag (via OddsShark) now has the Leafs as the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup, giving them 6-to-1 odds. That’s quite the jump for a team that opened the offseason at 12-to-1.
Here are a few other contenders:
Nashville Predators +900
Tampa Bay Lightning +1000
Winnipeg Jets +1000
Boston Bruins +1200
Pittsburgh Penguins +1200
Vegas Golden Knights +1200
Washington Capitals +1200
First of all, if those teams all stay relatively healthy, there’s a good chance we’re in for an extremely competitive season.
And speaking of competition, how about the Atlantic Division? Three of the top Stanley Cup contenders — Toronto, Tampa Bay and Boston — will battle in the same division all season. And if all three of those teams make the playoffs, you’re looking at a first-round matchup between two of those clubs.
Without Tavares, meanwhile, the Islanders drop all the way down to 75-to-1 odds. Only the Detroit Red Wings have worse odds.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images