Will we see a Colorado Avalanche-Tampa Bay Lightning 2021 Stanley Cup final?
That's the consensus opinion of bettors according to futures odds currently listed at SPREADS.CA, Canada's top sports wagering website.
Colorado is now a +500 (or 5-1) favourite to win the championship. Tampa Bay, the defending Stanley Cup champs, are listed at +550, and the second favourite.
The Avalanche payoff is a bit surprising given they aren't even in first place at the moment. The Las Vegas Golden Knights have a slim lead in the West Division, with two more wins than Colorado. Even Minnesota is alive in the race, just two wins behind the division leader.
The Tampa Bay Lightning certainly merit a place among the odds-on favourites. They lead the Central Division and can boast at having the NHL's best W-L record at 24-8. However, keep a close eye on the second-place Carolina Hurricanes at 23-7. Despite being neck-a-neck in the Central, the 'Canes don't get nearly as much respect from bettors, listed at +1100.
In the East, it's a three-team race between the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins, all log-jammed atop the division lead. The Capitals are favoured to win the East and are listed at +1400 to win the Cup.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to pull away in the North, comprised of the seven Canadian teams. After a bit of a slump, the Leafs have won three straight games. At 22-10, they lead Winnipeg by 2 points. This week's two-game series between the Maple Leafs and Jets could determine who prevails in the North and gets the top seed.
As for values and darkhorses, Carolina is worth a look, though they would have a tougher road to the finals by having to face Tampa Bay in the second round of the playoffs.
Here's a look at the futures odds to win the 2021 Stanley Cup: