Martin Green •
NHL November Preview and Futures Betting Update
The Stanley Cup futures betting odds have shifted dramatically after several teams exceeded expectations in the opening weeks of the new NHL season. The Panthers have overtaken Tampa Bay Lightning in the betting after winning eight of their opening nine games, while the Oilers and the Hurricanes have also impressed.
Hockey fans can enjoy an abundance of big games throughout November as teams jostle for position in the various divisions. We have picked out the most exciting clashes to look out for and provided a futures betting update.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Thursday, November 4, at PPG Paints Arena
The latest instalment in the Battle of Pennsylvania will take place in Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Penguins are rock bottom of the Metropolitan Division after slumping to three consecutive defeats, so they will be keen to return to winning ways against their old rivals.
Sidney Crosby is back, which should provide Pittsburgh with a tremendous boost, while Kris Letang, Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust have also recovered from injuries.
The Flyers recently became the only team to beat the Oilers this season, and they followed it up with a narrow victory against the Canucks. However, they then suffered a shutout defeat to the Flames, so there are a lot of question marks hanging over this team as it heads to Pittsburgh, and a resurgent Penguins team could capitalize.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday, November 4, at Scotiabank Arena
The Lightning have turned their season around over the past week. A 5-1 defeat to the Buffalo Sabres had everyone writing off their chances of a famous three-peat, but the Bolts have since beaten the Penguins 5-1, the Coyotes 5-1 and the Caps 3-2.
They will carry a great deal of momentum into this eagerly anticipated home game against a Maple Leafs team that is on a two-game winning streak. Toronto looks like a dark horse in the Eastern Conference, so this will be an interesting early season test of the Bolts’ Stanley Cup credentials, but they should pass with flying colors.
New York Rangers vs. Edmonton Oilers
Friday, November 5, at Rogers Place
Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman have been devastating on the power play in the opening weeks of the season. Edmonton has converted on 47.8% of its opportunities thus far, driving the Oilers to the top of the Pacific Division.
They may well lack the depth to stay there, but they should continue to burn bright for several more weeks. McDavid has cemented his status as the best player in the league, but Draisaitl is not far behind.
The Oilers will come up against a talented Rangers team that has won six of its nine games so far this season, led by the game-changing talents of Igor Shesterkin. He will be desperate to shine against McDavid and Draisaitl, and we could be in for an entertaining, high-scoring game on Friday.
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, November 13, at Arena
This is shaping up to be the biggest game of November. The Panthers are top of the Atlantic Division, having secured more points than any other team in the NHL so far this season, and they beat the Bolts 4-1 last month.
Their undefeated start came to an end with a shootout loss to the Bruins, but they should quickly bounce back. Sergei Bobrovsky is looking virtually unbeatable right now, and the Panthers are playing like an elite team.
The Lightning are unquestionably an elite team, having won back-to-back Stanley Cups, but they are not currently playing like one. This game represents a golden opportunity for them to send out a statement to the rest of the league, but they will need to work very hard to get the better of Bobrovsky. It has the potential to develop into a tight, tense clash, so an under bet on the total goals line could be appealing.
St. Louis Blues vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Saturday, November 13, at PNC Arena
The St. Louis Blues are perched at the top of the Central Division after winning six of their opening seven games. Vladimir Tarasenko is back in business, with four goals and five assists in the first seven games, and the team is surging with confidence.
However, they could come unstuck when they head on the road to face Metropolitan Division leaders Carolina Hurricanes, who have won all eight games so far.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Seattle Kraken
Friday, November 19, at KeyArena
The Avs will bid to justify their status as Stanley Cup favorites when they take on expansion team Seattle Kraken at the KeyArena on November 19. The Kraken have been an entertaining team to watch in the opening weeks of the season, as they have been involved in lots of high-scoring games. They often lose, but they lose in style.
Yet Colorado could represent a nightmare opponent for the Kraken. The Avalanche are starting to build up a head of steam, and Nathan MacKinnon now looks back to his best. They boast a wealth of offensive weapons, and they could blow the Kraken away in this game.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Saturday, November 20, at Wells Fargo
Things are looking up for the Golden Knights after they battled to three straight wins over the past week. Some key players should have recovered from their injuries by the time the Blue Jackets roll up in Sin City on November 20, and we could see a strong performance from the Knights.
The Blue Jackets are strong at home, but they have looked unconvincing on the road. The individual brilliance of goalie Elvis Merzlikins and Finnish winger have kept them competitive so far, but they may struggle against a Vegas team that is firing on all cylinders.
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders
Wednesday, November 24, at UBS Arena
The Battle of New York will take place in front of thousands of screaming fans at UBS Arena on November 24. The Rangers have made a strong start to the new season, and they sit second in the Metropolitan Division, with 13 points. They are now 6-1-0 in their last seven, while Adam Fox has been phenomenal, so they should be confident in their chances of beating the Islanders.
However, the Isles always raise their game against the Rangers, and they have won the last four meetings between the teams. They went 6-2 against the Rangers last season, and anything could happen in their next clash.
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Friday, November 26, at United Center
These fierce rivals will renew hostilities in the Windy City on November 26. The Blues are 3-0 on the road so far this season, and they have more than enough quality to pile more misery upon the Hawks.
Chicago finally arrested a nine-game losing streak when it beat the Senators in its last outing, but it has been a desperately poor season so far for this team. Even the radiant Marc-Andre Fleury admitted he has found it hard to keep smiling, and the Blackhawks are a mess right now. The Blues beat them 1-0 towards the end of October, and St. Louis could grind out another low-scoring win in this game.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild
Friday, November 26, at Xcel Energy Center
The Jets have flown under the radar so far this year. They remain +5000 outsiders to win the Stanley Cup with FanDuel, despite moving up to second place in the Central Division on the back of a strong run of results.
They are now 4-0-1 in their last five games, Kyle Connor continues to shine, and Pierre-Luc Dubois appears to have settled in nicely. It is all looking very positive for the Jets, but they need to improve their away record.
The Wild have fallen behind the Jets in the Central Division after losing three of their last four games. Everyone is waiting for Kirill Kaprizov to find the back of the net, and his goal drought should have ended by the time they host the Jets in Minnesota.
The last meeting between these teams was a thriller, which saw the Wild win 6-5 on October 20, so this could develop into another high-scoring clash.
NHL Futures Betting Update
The Avs remain the favorites to lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. FanDuel has a market leading +600 on them seizing glory. The odds on the Panthers have dropped to just +700 with some sportsbooks, but Caesars is still offering +900.
The Lightning have drifted out to +1100 with Unibet and SugarHouse Sportsbook. The Golden Knights are still priced at +1100, while the Oilers are now just +1500 after a terrific start to the season.
The Avalanche are just +220 with FanDuel to win the Western Conference, and the Vegas Golden Knights remain the +500 second favorites. The Panthers are the new favorites in the east at +450, but the +500 now available on the Bolts at Unibet looks very enticing, as does the +900 on the Hurricanes.