Last year, the Florida Panthers just barely snuck into the playoff picture, but they ripped through the competition, including a historic Boston Bruins team, to win the Eastern Conference.
This year, those same two teams are primed to make a run again, while the Metropolitan Division is as stacked as ever.
Let’s check out the latest NHL Eastern Conference odds and see who might get the job done this upcoming postseason.
NHL Eastern Conference Winner Odds 2024
NHL odds used for these Eastern Conference winner best bets are from Tuesday, Feb. 13, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Boston Bruins (+400)
- Florida Panthers (+425)
- Carolina Hurricanes (+450)
- New York Rangers (+500)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (+700)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (+1200)
- New Jersey Devils (+1200)
- Pittsburgh Penguins (+1600)
- Philadelphia Flyers (+3500)
- New York Islanders (+3500)
- Detroit Red Wings (+3500)
- Washington Capitals (+7500)
- Ottawa Senators (+15000)
- Buffalo Sabres (+15000)
- Montreal Canadiens (+20000)
- Columbus Blue Jackets (+30000)
As we can see from these odds, there are some clear tiers in terms of who DraftKings sees as contenders and pretenders.
Let’s see if we can find value on some teams where its evaluation might be off.
NHL Eastern Conference Winner Best Bet
Boston Bruins (+400)
Everyone thought the Bruins were due for a drop-off after their fantastic 2022-23 regular season and subsequent upset loss at the hands of the iconic Florida Panthers.
Well, Boston isn’t going to rack up 135 points again, but it’s still near the top of the East.
- See where the Bruins stack up in our 2024 Stanley Cup odds.
The Bruins are the favorites, but given the tight odds grouping at the top of the conference, they’re also probably the best value.
Jim Montgomery’s squad lost a lot of talent, but it did a great job replacing it.
NHL Eastern Conference Favorites
Florida Panthers (+425)
It’s only fitting that the defending Eastern Conference champions are listed among the favorites to repeat the feat, although their path looks pretty different this time around.
Last year, Florida was a major underdog. This time out, the Panthers are second in the Atlantic Division and won’t sneak up on anyone.
Star goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has continued the good form he flashed in the 2023 postseason, and he’ll need to keep it going in order for the team to make a deep run again.
Conversely, star forward Matthew Tkachuk is nowhere near his 2022-23 pace and will have to step it up in the postseason, although Sam Reinhart is more than picking up the slack.
Carolina Hurricanes (+450)
The Hurricanes don’t look particularly likely to top the Atlantic Division again this year, but they’ll be competitive once again after making it to the Eastern Conference Final a year ago.
The defense, anchored by Jaccob Slavin, has really done a great job supporting the team’s goaltending duo, allowing both to average below three goals allowed per game despite very mediocre save rates.
- Check out our NHL Western Conference betting odds.
The Canes don’t necessarily play flashy hockey, but they’re the type of balanced team that can really thrive in the playoffs.
Keep an eye on their path; it’ll be critical to determining Carolina’s chances of getting a step farther than it did a year ago.
NHL Eastern Conference Contenders
New York Rangers (+500)
After many pundits and fans thought the Rangers would take a step back due to their payroll situation, they’re essentially on the exact same pace they were on a year ago.
Igor Shesterkin has had a relatively down year in the net, but Jonathan Quick has had a shockingly resurgent year as the backup.
Artemi Panarin is on pace for more than 100 points, which would mark a career-high, leading a Rangers offense that has had enough juice to win games given the excellent support from the Adam Fox-led defense.
After a first-round exit last year at the hands of the rival Devils, look out for the Rangers to make a deeper run this year.
Toronto Maple Leafs (+700)
The Leafs may have finally broken their first-round curse last season, but they could be on track to revive the tradition this April.
There’s no guarantee, but they could be poised to run into the Bruins in the first round, a matchup that could be really tough for Toronto.
- Wager on hockey daily with our NHL parlay picks.
This is a team that lives and dies by its offense. Auston Matthews, after much speculation regarding whether he’d stick around in Toronto, is pulling away in the Rocket Richard Trophy race, as he pushes for a second 60-goal season.
NHL Eastern Conference Sleepers
New Jersey Devils (+1200)
It has been a letdown of a season so far for the Devils, who are currently sitting outside of the playoff picture. However, things can change in an instant.
New Jersey just got superstar Jack Hughes back from injury, and his presence can kickstart this offense into one of the league’s very best, especially with newly minted All-Star Jesper Bratt playing by far the best hockey of his career.
The Devils really do need to figure it out on the back end, but things are looking better and better each week.
At +1200 odds, this value for a highly talented squad is unmissable.
Tampa Bay Lightning (+1200)
It’s been a few years, so you could be forgiven if it’s slipped your mind, but the core of a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion is still relatively intact in Tampa Bay.
Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL in points, and although goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky has been a bit cold, he is known for snapping into form in the postseason.
- Check out the latest NHL MVP betting odds.
The issue with the Lightning is that their path could be drastically altered depending on how the rest of the regular season plays out. Regardless, this is an intriguing value for a proven contender.
Past NHL Western Conference Winners
2023: Florida Panthers
2022: Tampa Bay Lightning
2021: Conference-based playoffs not held due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
2020: Tampa Bay Lightning
2019: Boston Bruins
2018: Washington Capitals
2017: Pittsburgh Penguins
2016: Pittsburgh Penguins
2015: Tampa Bay Lightning
2014: New York Rangers