By: Ryan Gilbert
NHL Play-in Stanley Cup Odds: Columbus Blue Jackets Face Uphill Battle
The 2020 NHL playoffs may be resuming soon, and there are 24 teams vying to bring home the Stanley Cup. Eight of those teams will receive a “bye” in a qualifying play-in round, but 16 teams will have to win a best-of-five series to advance to the official first round of the playoffs.
One of those 16 teams is the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets are the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference, which means that they will match up against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the play-in round. Columbus’ odds in the play-in round – as well as their odds to win the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup – show the uphill battle that they will have.
Blue Jackets’ Play-in Round Odds vs. Toronto: +140
For the Blue Jackets to even get into the first round of the official playoffs, they’ll have to overcome a tough Toronto Maple Leafs team.
The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs each had 81 points in 70 games this season, but Toronto had three more wins (36) than Columbus (33). The Blue Jackets relied on getting a single point in an overtime loss 15 times this season in order to inflate their point total.
The Blue Jackets peaked early on and were on a huge slide prior to the season being suspended. From February 8th until their final game on March 8th, the Blue Jackets went just 3-6-6. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs went 8-6-2 from February 7th until the end of the season. Sure, Toronto “only” won half of their games, but Columbus struggled winning just one fifth of their games.
Columbus did an impressive job of staying competitive despite their offseason losses this season. Even with superstar forward Artemi Panarin and two-time Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky leaving in the summer, the Blue Jackets still found success with very little offensive firepower.
On the other hand, the Maple Leafs have tons of scoring up front with four players – Auston Matthews (80), Mitch Marner (67), John Tavares (60), and William Nylander (59) – recording more points than Columbus’ leader – Pierre-Luc Dubois (49).
If both teams are fully healthy, Toronto has the clear upper hand. However, if the Blue Jackets do get past the Maple Leafs, do they have a chance of winning the Cup, or at least reaching the Stanley Cup Final?
Blue Jackets’ Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +3200
The Blue Jackets have the 11th longest odds (out of 12 teams) to win the Eastern Conference. They face a stacked conference boasting the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers. Even if the Blue Jackets beat Toronto, they’ll likely have to beat at least one or two of those teams to win the East.
Blue Jackets Stanley Cup odds: +6500
It doesn’t get much better for Columbus here. Out of 24 teams, they have the 22nd longest odds to win the Stanley Cup. It would definitely be a Cinderella story, but I can’t advise to bet on the Blue Jackets to win anything past the play-in round.