While the 2019-20 NHL season is very young, Nashville has been underestimated. If the plan of attack works as consistently as it has so far, the Predators’ NHL title odds could be a win for bettors.
An improved power play and more contributions from the second line might be enough to get Nashville past its postseason struggles. People who take the available odds on the Predators now would end up making a killing of their own in that scenario.
Predators’ NHL title odds currently sit in second tier
Legal sportsbooks across the nation have Nashville in a group of teams that have a decent chance to be crowned the next Stanley Cup champion. The Predators aren’t title favorites, however. (Tennessee sportsbooks are on the way but haven’t launched yet.)
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights are in the top tier at most books, currently sitting at 6/1 to win the NHL championship this season. Vegas has Nashville 16/1 to claim a Stanley Cup this season.
Most online sportsbooks across the country don’t deviate from that much, with Caesars sportsbook in New Jersey currently posting the longest odds at +2000. Those odds put the Predators in a tier with teams like the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues.
Whether Nashville belongs in that tier or the company of Tampa Bay and Vegas is a matter of debate. So far it looks as if the Predators deserve an upgrade.
Why the Predators might defy the odds in 2019-20
Last season, Nashville suffered from a poor power play and uneven scoring. That lack of depth and failure to execute resulted in another disappointing playoff ouster.
Nashville addressed its second line by acquiring center Matt Duchene, although that came at a cost. To stay under the salary cap, the Predators shipped defenseman P.K. Subban off to the New Jersey Devils.
A big part of the reason for essentially trading Duchene for Subban was improving the power play. So far that’s looking good.
Through three games, Nashville is at 22%, about league average, in its power play. That’s a tremendous improvement on the 2018-19 season in which it ranked dead last.
Duchene has six points through his first three games as a Predator, all coming off assists. That’s helped Nashville to 13 goals and four points in its first three games.
Perhaps most encouraging is the display the Predators put on their last time out. Nashville hosted the San Jose Sharks, another Western Conference playoff contender.
In that contest, Nashville put up five goals. Duchene assisted on one and the Predators cashed in on a power play chance during the game, as well.
While there is still a lot of room for improvement on that power play, Duchene should only get more comfortable with his teammates as the season goes along. If Nashville continues playing formidable defense and is formidable at even strength, adding a strong power play will make the Predators dangerous.
Legal sports betting in Tennessee could go live in time for the NHL playoffs. When that happens, betting on Nashville to win it all may not be too bad of an idea.