NHL Playoffs 2024: Favorites, Underdogs, and MVP Contenders
NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
Apr 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski (22) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL playoffs loom, and the league’s landscape is buzzing with anticipation. Fans, analysts, and bettors are closely examining the teams and players poised to make an impact in the quest for the Stanley Cup.

The Front-Runners for the Stanley Cup

The New York Rangers (+600) sit on top of the standings with 104 points through 75 games played, followed by the Boston Bruins (+900) and Dallas Stars (+650) with 103.  The Florida Panthers, who finished runner-up to the Vegas Golden Knights a year ago in the Stanley Cup, are currently +1000 to win in 2024, which puts them behind the Vancouver Canucks (+850), the Colorado Avalanche (+800), the Edmonton Oilers (+750), and the Carolina Hurricanes (+700) when rounding out the elite eight when it comes to NHL betting picks.

Underdogs with Potential

The NHL playoffs are known for their unpredictability, and this year is no different. Several underdogs are showing promise, and the defending champion Vegas Golden Knights are +1100, but they are always a threat. The Toronto Maple Leafs, with MVP candidate and 60-goal scorer Auston Mathews, are at +1500, and the always-dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning are at +1600.

The Winnipeg Jets (+1700), the Los Angeles Kings (+2000), and the Nashville Predators (+2200) round out the Top 14, with long adds attached to the New York Islanders (+6600), Philadelphia Flyers (+7000), and Detroit Red Wings (+7000).

Hockey Championship Bets and Picks

The Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning represent intriguing NHL betting picks for those interested in hockey championship bets. While not leading the odds, these teams have shown they can contend strongly in the playoffs. The Dallas Stars, coming off a near Stanley Cup Final appearance, and the Panthers, with their recent odds-defying run to the Final, alongside the Bruins, who are bouncing back from a record-breaking yet disappointing post-season, exemplify the unpredictability of NHL betting​.

MVP Contenders in the Spotlight

The race for the league’s MVP, represented by the Hart Trophy, is as exciting as ever. Nathan MacKinnon has surged to the top of the odds board, outpacing rivals with a commanding lead in points. Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov remain formidable contenders, and they can shake up the race further as the season winds down. The battle for the Hart Trophy is a testament to the exceptional talent in the NHL, with several players capable of claiming the coveted award​.

The Final Stretch to the Stanley Cup

As the NHL season approaches its climax, the journey to the Stanley Cup is lined with anticipation and high stakes. With teams like the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche leading the charge, the playoffs are poised to be a battleground where legends are made and dreams are realized. The underdogs, too, are not to be underestimated, as history has shown that anything can happen on the ice. The race for the Hart Trophy adds a personal narrative to the team competitions, with players like Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid pushing the limits of the sport.

In this final stretch, teams must harness strategy, skill, and a touch of fortune to overcome their rivals. Fans sit on the edge of their seats, waiting to see which team will rise to the occasion and which players will etch their names into the annals of hockey history.