2021-22 NHL Conference Futures Betting
The 2021-22 NHL season is upon us, and after the COVID adjustments we saw last year, things are back to normal with regard to scheduling and a full 82 game season. The regular campaign is the appetizer, and the entrées get served when the playoffs begin.
NHL betting gets hot and heavy during the second season, but you can already be knee-deep in action if you bet the futures. You can wager on the team that will win each respective NHL Conference, and the early odds that you see here will be adjusted as the standings start to take shape.
What are NHL Conference Futures?
There are 16 teams in each conference, and the top eight teams from each side of the bracket make the playoffs. They play two separate mini-tournaments that will decide the two Conference Champions, and the winners square off in the Stanley Cup Finals.
If you make a futures bet on a team that goes on to win the Conference Championship, you take home the money. When you make a single futures bet, you have some action for the entire regular season if your team is in the hunt, and it gets real if they reach the elimination tourney.
2021-22 Eastern Conference Championship Odds
The NHL realigned temporarily last year because of travel restrictions between the United States and Canada, and there were no conferences. Now that the relationship has normalized, the conference structure has returned.
The Tampa Bay Lightning took home the Eastern Conference crown each of the last two years, and they went on to win the Stanley Cup both times.
Will they make it a three-peat? This is one of the questions you have to answer when you are betting the NHL Eastern Conference Futures.
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Boston Bruins +300
The odds reflect the fact that the Boston Bruins have the best team in the Atlantic Division on paper. Led by a bevy of stars, they are one year removed from a Conference Championship. However, NHL betting is all about value.
Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic has developed a modeling system using advanced player metrics, and the model has proven to be quite accurate. We have used it to gain insight, and it gives the Bruins a 21 percent chance to make the final four.
These odds are lower than the true odds, so there is no value here.
Buffalo Sabres +10000
It’s been a decade since the Buffalo contingent has elbowed its way into the playoffs. To put this into perspective, the second-longest active drought is a five-season absence for the Detroit Red Wings.
When you consider the fact that half of the teams in each conference will make the postseason, this indicates a long-term culture of futility. No offence to Sabre faithful, but it would be a huge upset if they make the playoffs, so a Conference Championship looks like a pipe dream.
Carolina Hurricanes +1300
Carolina had the best record in the revamped Central Division during the abbreviated 2020-2021 campaign, and they moved back to the Metropolitan Division this year. They lost Dougie Hamilton to free agency, and they have a retooled defence and a new goaltending corps.
It’s hard to tell if they will be as good as they were because of the roster moves, but +1300 looks like a generous number for a team that is likely to make playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets +10000
The Columbus Blue Jackets do not stack up with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. They have a whopping four percent chance to make the playoffs if you value the modeling system, and that is not much of an endorsement when it comes to a futures wager.
Detroit Red Wings +10000
Detroit was underwater last season with a 19-27-10 record, and they are rated in the bottom 10 this year. If you are a hardcore Red Wings fan and you want to support your homeboys, more power to you, but the model gives them no chance at all to make the final four.
Florida Panthers +900
The Panthers look like a team on the rise after posting a franchise-best record in 2020-2021. Aleksander Barkov is an elite difference-maker, and Jonathan Huberdeau gives them a powerful one-two punch.
They wind up with 99.2 points at the end of this season under The Athletics’ computer simulations. That gives them a 78 percent chance to make a postseason appearance, so this is a futures bet that makes some sense at +900.
Montreal Canadiens +2200
After last year’s shocking appearance in the NHL Finals, + 2200 may look like an overlay, but there were extenuating circumstances. They barely made the playoffs in the first place, and they have to navigate through a very strong division this year.
They will be without shut-down defencemen Philip Danault and Shea Weber, and those losses will be felt. There are plenty of reasons to doubt the Canadiens, but these odds are enticing.
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New Jersey Devils +2200
Owner Josh Harris opened his wallet over the off-season to sign Dougie Hamilton along with Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Bernier. The team should take a step forward, but it’s hard to predict the extent of the improvement.
New York Islanders +700
The Islanders have a big shot to win the Metropolitan Division and move on to take the Eastern Conference Championship. This team has a very stingy defence, and Anders Lee with Mathew Barzal lead a dangerous offence, so they will be hard to beat.
Statistically speaking, they have a 31 percent chance to emerge as a top-five team, and a 26 percent probability to be one of the last four teams left standing.
New York Rangers +1200
The New York Rangers are another team that should be better this season than they were a year ago because they have a nucleus of good young players that are making strides.
They have been given a 63 percent chance to make the postseason dance and a 28 percent shot at the Atlantic Division final. If the modeling accuracy is on point, this is a pretty good futures bet at +1200.
Ottawa Senators +10000
Simply put, the Ottawa Senators are one of the worst teams in the Atlanta Division. They have an 85 percent chance to be among the 10 worst teams in the NHL, and this is not the type of team that you want to back in the Conference futures.
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Philadelphia Flyers +2000
Philly sports fans have the Sixers to give them some hope this year, but the Flyers are not in the same category. They were on the outside looking in when the playoffs began last year, and there is a five percent chance that they will somehow make the final four this time around.
Pittsburgh Penguins +1300
There are three certainties of life: death, taxes, and the Pittsburgh Penguins making the NHL playoffs. They have been there for each of the last 15 years, and there is a 65 percent chance that they will return again this year.
Tampa Bay Lightning +350
You are not the king until you dethrone the incumbent. This is the position that the Tampa Bay Lightning has put the rest of the NHL in after their consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.
In the entire history of the league, a team has captured three or more Cups in a row on five occasions. The last time it happened was during the New York Islanders four-year run during the beginning of the 1980s.
A lot of variables have to fall into place to win a single Championship, and against the odds, Lightning has already struck twice. You have to take pause before you accept +350 on an outcome that hasn’t happened in over 35 years.
Toronto Maple Leafs +450
Big things are expected from the emerging Toronto Maple Leafs this time around. Their young stars are hitting their peak, and they signed Michael Bunting, David Kampf, and Ondrej Kase during the off-season.
This team has a 62 percent chance to reach the Atlantic Division Finals, and a one in four chance to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, so this looks like a fair number in the Conference Championship futures.
Washington Capitals +1500
The Washington Capitals have had three stellar campaigns since they won the Stanley Cup at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Many people have been expecting a decline that simply has not arrived, but is this the year?
Time will tell, but you can’t fault anyone that thinks that +1500 on the Caps to win the Eastern Conference is a good value bet.
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2021-22 Western Conference Championship Odds
The Western Conference of the NHL is comprised of the Pacific Division and the Central Division. The expansion has injected some new blood into the Pacific Division, and the Seattle Kraken are expected to make a big splash.
There has been parity between the NHL Conferences over the past few decades, and they have split the last 10 Stanley Cup Championships. This year, there is a very good chance that one of the two Western Conference powerhouses will hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.
Anaheim Ducks +10000
Judging from their cast of characters, the Anaheim Ducks are not ready for prime time, and they look like a team in tank mode. There is a one in five chance that they will be the worst team in the league, and there is a 93 percent likelihood that they will be in the bottom 10.
Arizona Coyotes +10000
Online sportsbooks in Arizona became a reality in September, so Coyotes fans can get in on the futures action legally. If you are among them, you may want to bet with your head instead of your heart.
This year’s squad is expected to finish near the bottom of the Western Conference, so you would do well to lean toward the Cardinals in the Super Bowl futures if you want to back the home team.
Calgary Flames +1800
The Flames are not bad, but they are not especially good according to the simulations. They have about a 50-50 chance to make the playoffs, and a deep run is not very likely if they sneak in. This is reflected in the generous +1800 number, but marginal teams can sometimes get on a roll during the playoffs.
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Chicago Blackhawks +1800
This off-season was a productive one for Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. He made a splash when he signed living legend Marc Andre Fleury to mind the net, and he traded for defensive stalwart Seth Jones, who was given a $76 million contract extension.
Is that going to be enough to transform a 24-25-7 team into a Western Conference Champion? If you think it is, +1800 is an enticing price, and you can wager risk-free if you hit up one of the highly-rated IL sports betting sites.
Colorado Avalanche +200
Colorado is the best team in the league according to computer simulations, and the numbers are eye-popping. They have a 97 percent chance to emerge as one of the 10 best teams in the NHL, and they are given a one in four chance to win the Stanley Cup.
It doesn’t get any better than that from a likelihood perspective when there are so many variables, but +200 isn’t much. Do you want to tie up your money for nine months for such a paltry return?
Dallas Stars +1400
Dallas went from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2020 to the sidelines during playoff time a year ago. The decline is partially attributable to injuries, and there is no reason to expect the same type of attrition this season.
They have a 63 percent chance to return to the playoffs with a projected record of 42-30-10, and they could be dangerous once again if they get in.
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Edmonton Oilers +900
The Oilers were 35-19-2 last season behind stars Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Some pieces were added during the off-season to shore up a few holes, so there are high hopes in Edmonton, and rightfully so.
They have a 48 percent chance to make the Pacific Division Finals, so +900 looks like an overlay.
Los Angeles Kings +4000
The Kings are an interesting longshot futures possibility if you believe in miracles. Their rebuild is right on schedule, and they added Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson during the off-season.
There is cause for optimism, but a meaningful step forward is the goal at this stage in the process.
Minnesota Wild +1000
The Wild have a legitimate chance to contend in the Central Division, but getting past the Colorado contingent is a tall order. They have been given a 47 percent chance to be a top 10 team, and that is the type of club that can make noise in the playoffs.
You are looking at +1000 odds, so there is some value given the fact that it is very likely that they will get a chance in the postseason.
Nashville Predators +4000
The Nashville Predators got hot during the second half of the season last year, and they were rewarded with a playoff berth. They were knocked out by the Hurricanes four games to two in the first round, and changes that they made during the summer probably won’t pay immediate dividends.
Simulations give them a .468 winning percentage, which is not very encouraging. This is a mediocre team, and there is a good chance that they will not make the playoffs at all.
San Jose Sharks +4000
San Jose’s netminders were a big part of the problem last year, so they have changed it up with two new goalies. The additions of James Reimer and Adin Hill can’t hurt, but it is not nearly enough to make this team a contender for the Western Conference Championship.
Seattle Kraken +1500
The Vegas Golden Knights showed us that an expansion team can make a serious Stanley Cup run, so Seattle has that inspiration to draw from during their inaugural season. They have assembled an impressive array of talent, so they should be competitive from the start.
They have a 77% chance to make the postseason and a 36 percent chance to make the Division Finals, so a Kraken futures bet has some appeal.
St. Louis Blues +1800
The thrill is gone in St. Louis after the memorable championship run in 2019. Their core has been getting older, and there have been key defections. They still have enough to claw their way into the playoffs, but they have a measly eight percent chance to make the final four.
Vancouver Canucks +2500
The Canucks were the cellar dwellers in the makeshift Scotia North Division during the COVID tarnished season. They have made a number of roster moves, but these changes are not enough to fuel a quantum leap.
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Vegas Golden Knights +300
The Vegas Golden Knights are going to fight it out with the Colorado Avalanche for Western Conference supremacy according to the simulation model. They have the horses to take it all, so no one would be surprised if they capture the Western Conference crown.
Winnipeg Jets +1600
The Winnipeg Jets made a strong showing last year even though they had an imperfect team. They ousted the Oilers 4-0 in the first round, but the buzz was killed then they were promptly swept by the Montreal Canadiens.
This team addressed the major voids when they acquired Nate Schmidt and Brenden Dillon during the offseason. They have been given a 22 percent chance to make the Divisions Finals, so a stab at +1600 is not a bad bet.
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