The Bookies Can’t Decide Between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning


Being such different teams at very different stages of their development and not even being conflicting in their style of play, it may come as a surprise that the experts calling the odds on outright markets in the NHL simply cannot split the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

In the running for the Atlantic Division, both the Leafs and the Lightning are at +130. For the Eastern Conference, the Bolts come in at +225, as do the Buds. Then, for the Stanley Cup, the two teams lead the list, again tied in the odds at +400. The two teams being so strong and coming from the same division has allowed hockey fans to take advantage of the longer outright odds created by what many see as a neck-and-neck race to the Finals this season.

Regardless of the odds, when looking at the teams, one stands above the other as the marginal favorite to go all the way in 2019.

Tampa Bay Lightning is the complete team

Source: Lightning Report, via Twitter

In the NHL this season, there isn’t a single team that boasts the strength in depth that Tampa Bay does, with at least one top-class player seemingly on every line in every situation. The Bolts have carved an almighty team which, when they’re all fit, is one of the best NHL rosters of the modern era.

The likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Callahan, Victor Hedman, and Ryan McDonagh are the big names, but the team also gets a lot of production from Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde, J.T. Miller, Alex Killorn, Mathieu Joseph, and Mikhail Sergachev among others. In any given game, the Lightning must be favored to score three or more in the odds. The depth is already paying dividends with the team staying on course despite number one goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s lengthy injury, which you can click to see here.

This immense depth has many hockey fans arguing the case of the Bolts over the Buds when it comes to betting, with experience also playing a key role. Tampa Bay has been to the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four years, making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014/15, while the Maple Leafs made it to their first consecutive postseasons since 2003/04, losing in the first round in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

If Vasilevskiy’s absence starts to show, the Bolts may be slip behind the Maple Leafs for the Atlantic Division, which both teams are at +130 to win. But, when the postseason rolls around, the Lightning gain favor with their experience and depth, seeing many claim here for free bets from companies like MoPlay and Betfred to use on Tampa Bay to win the Eastern Conference and the Stanley Cup.

Toronto Maple Leafs won’t go down without a fight


Source: NHL Public Relations, via Twitter

Even though the Toronto Maple Leafs only made two major moves over the summer – signing John Tavares and losing James van Riemsdyk – they are a much-improved team this season. Their young stars have had a few seasons to gel and adjust to the league, with the likes of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews standing among the most talented players in the league.

The Leafs fared well without the main-man Matthews for much of the early part of the season, and following a very drawn-out negotiation process, you can see here that the Leafs finally re-signed restricted free agent William Nylander – which will only improve the talented team further.

However, people still see the overall lack of experience in the team and the frailties of the defense ultimately being the team’s shortcomings in the postseason. As of right now, they seem to be the most likely issues given the grueling nature of the playoffs, but, the Maple Leafs may yet reinforce their team, using their hefty $5.8 million in cap space, as shown by clicking here, at the trade deadline – giving them an advantage over the Lightning who have about $1.5 million in space right now.

It’s set to be an exciting and bloody run to the end of the season and through the playoffs, with an epic Atlantic Division rivalry forming. They may be close in the odds but, for now, the Bolts should be favored over the Buds to go all the way.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images