Few people predicted the Boston Bruins would be a Stanley Cup favorite, let alone win the Atlantic Division, before the start of the 2022-23 NHL season. Boston had plenty of question marks entering the offseason: Patrice Bergeron wasn’t a guarantee to come back, Brad Marchand was expected to be out until December recovering from surgery, and the roster just wasn’t as deep as Atlantic Division rivals like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers.
The Boston Bruins opened as +900 odds to win the Stanley Cup are now +700 after showcasing their dominance through the first 18 games of the season. The Bruins are 16-2-0, good enough for 32 points, which is eight clear of the second-place Maple Leafs for the Atlantic Division lead. Bergeron returned on a team-friendly deal and Marchand came back a month early.
It’s no surprise now that the Bruins are the betting favorites to win the Atlantic Division. In fact, anything less than a Stanley Cup Final appearance might be a shock considering how well they’re playing.
Undefeated on Home Ice
The Boston Bruins have been the best team in the NHL this season and they’ve achieved this status by dominating on home ice. The Bruins, winners of nine of their last 10 games as of November 21, are 11-0 on home ice and 5-2 on the road this season. They’ve won their last three games at home by a combined score of 15-4 and have the best goal differential in the league this season (75 goals scored compared to just 37 goals allowed).
Boston’s +38 goal differential is far-and-away the best in the league. New Jersey ranks second with a +26 differential, while the Dallas Stars are third at +22.
Veteran Leadership and Familiarity Paying Off
While many teams around the league made major offseason changes in hopes of finding the right combination of players, Boston has relied on its veteran leadership and familiar team chemistry. The Bruins core group of Bergeron, Marchand, and defenseman Charlie McAvoy have been together since the 2016-17 season.
Moreover, Boston brought back veteran David Krejci this season. Krejci played in his native Czech Republic last year, but has been teammates with Bergeron and Marchand dating back to the 2009-10 season.
It’s no surprise that, considering its eight-point lead, the Bruins are now the betting favorites to win the Atlantic Division. Boston are the -150 favorites on FanDuel and have even shorter odds on other sports betting sites.
The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are paying out anywhere from +350 to +450 to win the division, while the Lightning have the third-best odds to win the Atlantic. It’s worth noting that Boston has largely taken advantage of non-division opponents and is just 3-2 against Atlantic Division rivals ahead of Monday’s road game against the Lightning.
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