After we this the halfway point of the NHL season for 2022/23, we're now well aware of who the serious contenders are to win the Stanley Cup and who the pretenders are.
There are still months to go and things can change, but we should have a good enough idea at this point of the season to take an educated pick on who will be victorious come the end of the playoffs, and that means getting early betting odds.
We'll take a look at the favorites and some sleepers in the running for the crown and give you our best free NHL picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash from this hockey season.
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|Toronto Maple Leafs
|Vegas Golden Knights
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2023 NHL Stanley Cup favorites
Below you'll find the teams that are favored to win the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup.
Boston Bruins - (+550)
At the time of writing you won't find a better team in the entire NHL with a better record than Boston, as they sit top of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference with a regular season record of 37-5-4 so far.
The Bruins are a well-deserved favorites because of this. Boston has been dominant, particularly at home where it did not lose in regulation over its first 22 games, including its 2-1 win in the 2023 Winter Classic against the Penguins at Fenway Park.
In their first season under new coach Jim Montgomery, the team have really found their identity and quality. Boston has had stability in goal in Vezina Trophy favorite Linus Ullmark and, of course, still has an embarrassment of offensive riches like David Pastrňák, Brad Marchand, and 2018 Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall.
Perhaps more important, Boston is playoff tested. The Bruins have been to the postseason six straight seasons, including a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2019.
This is without a doubt their best chance to win the big one in a very long time, and getting +550 at this stage on them to be successful for the first time since 2011 is a good price.
Colorado Avalanche - (+750)
Colorado is finally starting to look like a Cup contender after dealing with a bunch of injury problems over the course of the season.
Marquee players like Hart Trophy candidate Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin, and Bowen Byrum have each spent time on the injured list, which is why the Avalanche were actually outside the playoff field at the turn of the year.
Their regular season record currently stands at 25-17-3 and they're fourth in the Central Division of the Western Conference.
Still, when healthy, Colorado will be tough to beat. Norris Trophy favorite Cale Makar and leading scorer Mikko Rantanen have each played like MVP candidates, and the three-time Stanley Cup winners have had stability in goal in first-year starter Alexandar Georgiev.
The Avs are still a good bet to repeat after their win last year, and they're a tempting price to do so.
Carolina Hurricanes - (+900)
The Hurricanes are a really tempting pick to go all the way and they proved that by going 15-0-1 in a 16-game stretch from late November through to January 1st. They now sit at 29-9-8 for the season.
Pyotr Kochetkov has given Carolina stability in goal since starter Frederik Andersen has been out most of the season with a lower-body injury.
The Hurricanes still have struggles scoring, and they will be hopeful that when wing Max Pacioretty‘s returns from an achilles injury those problems will go away.
Carolina should have enough to finish atop the standings and be a bona fide Cup contender come playoff time, making +900 great value.
Vegas Golden Knights - (+1200)
Vegas looks like the real deal, especially with the way goalie Logan Thompson has been performing in the nets this season. Goaltending was a huge question mark for the Golden Knights since it was announced mainstay Robin Lehner would miss the season with a neck injury, but Thompson has delivered.
With stable goaltending, it’s no surprise Vegas is rolling. The Golden Knights’ roster is loaded and has dealt really well with injuries to stars like Jack Eichel, Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore by playing to first-year coach Bruce Cassidy‘s pragmatic approach.
The Golden Knights are a strong contender to unseat Colorado in the West and they're hungry to make it to the finals again.
2023 Stanley Cup sleepers
Tampa Bay Lightning - (+1600)
The Lightning, who have won the East three years in a row and dispatched Toronto in the 2022 playoffs, are still in the mix, despite their slow start.
Tampa Bay must be exhausted after three straight final trips, and the core isn’t as talented as it once was. But with Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal, Victor Hedman patrolling the blue line, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos leading the offense, and Jon Cooper calling the shots, this team is still a contender. Don't rule them out.
Winnipeg Jets - (+3500)
The Jets have all the pieces in place on paper. Winnipeg has a Vezina-caliber goalie in Connor Hellebuyck, a great coach who has been to the final in Rick Bowness, a No. 1 defenseman in Josh Morrissey, and an elite offense led by Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor.
They're 31-16-1 for the season so far and are set for a playoff place should they continue in this vein. If they get there, nobody will want to face them and that makes them the perfect sleeper bet at +3500.