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Updated NHL Stanley Cup odds: No big surprise as bookies betting big on Bolts

The Tampa Bay Lightning, led by a loaded lineup and sitting atop the league standings, are the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2019.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season.

Well, duh.

The Bolts are riding high atop the NHL standings, they’re coming off a remarkable 16-game streak in which they went 15-0-1, and they’re stacked with superstars and enviable depth at every position. They’re on pace for a 131-point season, which would be one point less than the all-time record set by the dynastic 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. They’re averaging over four goals per game, more than half a goal per game more than any other team. They’re first in the league in power-play efficiency and solidly in the top 10 on the penalty kill. They have a three-headed MVP line featuring NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos. They have scoring depth in Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, J.T. Miller, Ondrej Palat…the list goes on. They have a deep and talented defense corps headlined by Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh. They have one of the very best starting goalies in the league in Andrei Vasilevskiy and a more-than-capable backup in Louis Domingue. Not to mention, they’re pressure-tested in the post-season – they’ve made it to the Eastern Conference final three times in the past four seasons, and advanced to the Cup final in 2015.

You get the idea. The Lightning are a great team, the class of the league so far this season, and they have the best shot at winning the Stanley Cup in June.

Here are the latest Cup odds from the online wagering website BetOnline.ag:

TOP 10
Of course, the Lightning aren’t the only NHL team with a legitimate chance at winning it all this season. Far from it. Tampa Bay is joined by a pair of divisional rivals, Toronto and Boston, in the top 10, while the likes of Winnipeg, Nashville and San Jose in the West also rate as bona fide contenders. Not to mention last season’s Cup finalists, defending champion Washington and anything-can-happen-in Vegas, along with Sidney Crosby’s Penguins and Johnny Gaudreau’s Flames.

Tampa Bay Lightning 9/2
Winnipeg Jets7/1
Toronto Maple Leafs  15/2
Nashville Predators 10/1
San Jose Sharks 12/1
Vegas Golden Knights  12/1
Washington Capitals 12/1
Calgary Flames  14/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 14/1
Boston Bruins  16/1

PLAYOFF HOPEFULS
Six of these nine teams will make the post-season, and there’s a few who have the potential to do some damage. Would it come as any big shock if Columbus finally breaks out with an overdue playoff run? The Avs, Stars and Wild face tough top-end competition in the West, but they’re certainly capable of pulling off an upset or two. The Ducks and Oilers are currently outside the playoff picture, but could be tricky-tough first-round opponents if they make it in.

Buffalo Sabres 25/1
Columbus Blue Jackets  25/1
Colorado Avalanche 33/1
Dallas Stars 33/1
Minnesota Wild 33/1
New York Islanders 33/1
Anaheim Ducks 40/1
Edmonton Oilers 40/1
Montreal Canadiens 50/1

NOT THIS YEAR
Maybe the Blues or Hurricanes heat up and sneak into the playoffs. Or maybe the Canucks keep it going. But even if one or two of these teams are somehow still playing in mid-April, don’t expect them to skate into May ­-- and certainly not June.

St. Louis Blues  66/1
Vancouver Canucks 66/1
Arizona Coyotes 100/1
Carolina Hurricanes  100/1
Chicago Blackhawks 100/1
Florida Panthers 100/1
Los Angeles Kings  100/1
New Jersey Devils  100/1
New York Rangers 100/1
Philadelphia Flyers 100/1
Detroit Red Wings  250/1
Ottawa Senators 250/1

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