NHL 2023/24 Eastern Conference: Predictions & Odds NHL 2023/24 Eastern Conference: Predictions & Odds
Scott Gummerson, unsplash

Everything is in place for the beginning of the 2023/24 NHL season, so it’s time to add the final touches to our futures betting portfolios. Looking at the current odds, neither conference has legitimate Stanley Cup favorites. We’ve seen a lot of action in the transfer market during the summer, and even the US sportsbooks seem confused about which team will hit the ice running in October.

The Eastern Conference is as stacked as ever with bountiful Cup candidates and playoff hopefuls. All but two of the 16 teams have designs on making the postseason action speak volumes.

Below, we evaluate their chances and present the most important pieces of information you should know before making your final Eastern Conference futures picks.

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Best Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs to win Eastern Conference (+600) with BetMGM

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally grabbed a playoff win last year before being eliminated in the second round by the Florida Panthers. They have added depth and strength to what was already one of the most talented rosters in the league and are our prime candidates for the Stanley Cup game this time.

New GM Brad Treliving has made an immediate impact by signing veterans Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Ryan Reaves, and John Klingberg, each of whom is an upgrade on the departing players. The Leafs came second in the Atlantic Division standings last year.

With a star-studded lineup that includes Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares, as well as the aforementioned added depth on the roster, we can hardly see any team beating Toronto’s point total in the regular season. Playoffs are a different proposition, but we’ll buy the ticket for the Maple Leafs’ long post-season journey all day long at the +600 price tag.

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Value Pick: Boston Bruins to Make the Playoffs — NO (+235) with DraftKings

The Boston Bruins enjoyed a record-breaking regular season last year but only to experience an unpleasant first-round exit at the hands of the Florida Panthers in the postseason. While many experts and the sportsbooks see them as a sure playoff candidate in the upcoming campaign, we are not quite confident in their success this time around.

The main reason lies in the exodus of important players, as salary cap restraints forced the likes of Tyler Bertuzzi, Taylor Hall, Garner Hathaway, Nick Foligno, Dmitri Orlov, and Connor Clifton to all leave the team in the offseason. To make things worse, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retired from hockey, making the Bruins a significantly weaker side than last year.

The team still has plenty of talent in their ranks, and it is rarely a smart idea to bet against the franchise’s winning culture. However, most of Boston’s Atlantic Division rivals are stronger this year, and we would not be surprised to see the Bruins missing out on the postseason action in 2024.

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Value Pick: New Jersey Devils to win Metropolitan Division (+240) with BetMGM

The New Jersey Devils have not changed their roster this summer. Given they ended the 2022/23 regular season just a single point shy of the Carolina Hurricanes at the top of the standings, the lack of offseason action in the market can only be considered a positive for their GM, Tom Fitzgerald.

The additions of Tyler Toffoli, Chris Tierney, Tomas Nosek, and Colin Miller will certainly add more competition between the lines of one of the quickest rosters in the league. In fairness, anyone can step up in a pretty much evenly matched Metropolitan Division, but we’d put our money on the New Jersey Devils to be that team based on everything we’ve seen last year and this summer.

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Honorable Mentions

The New York Rangers are also well worth considering for the Metro crown at +450 odds with BetMGM. They should be stronger than last year on paper, following the acquisitions of Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrick Kane, and Tyler Motte, and they still have one of the best goaltenders in the world in their ranks in Igor Shesterkin.

The Carolina Hurricanes have pretty much the same roster as the one that brought them the Metro title last year, but we expect regression this time around. They have the shortest odds for the division title, and we can hardly find any value there.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will be an exciting team to watch as defenseman Zach Werenski will bring a massive extra layer of stability to a backline that leaked in so many goals last time out. With clear improvements in defense, Columbus could cause problems in the Metropolitan Division, and we see enormous value in the sky-high +900 odds offered by DraftKings on the Blue Jackets to make it to the playoffs.

See our NHL Predictions & Expert Picks page for more hot ice hockey bets!

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