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Opening odds for NHL playoff qualifying round series

The NHL will return in late July. We break down the opening odds for the eight qualifying round series.

A general view of the arena prior to Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on June 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL is restarting its season and skipping straight to the playoffs. Technically, the first round of games are not part of the playoffs, according to the NHL, but for our purposes they are effectively playoff rounds.

The league will have a traditional 16-team Stanley Cup playoff tournament, but it will be preceded by an 16-team qualifying round. The top four teams in each conference have a bye through this qualifying round. The next eight teams in each conference will square off in best-of-five series to advance.

The NHL will have two hub cities hosting the conferences, and will reportedly announce those cities on Monday, June 22nd. Once that happens, each conference will be split up.

In the meantime, we know how the qualifying series are set up, and now we have initial series odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The higher seeds are favored across the board, but it’s noteworthy that the 8/9 matchup in the East between the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets has the second biggest favorite in Toronto at -175. The closest line is the 8/9 matchup in the West between the Flames (-118) and Jets (-106).

Hub city 1 (Eastern Conference)

#5 Pittsburgh Penguins: -185
#12 Montreal Canadiens: +155

#6 Carolina Hurricanes: -136
#11 New York Rangers: +110

#7 New York Islanders: -122
#10 Florida Panthers: +100

#8 Toronto Maple Leafs: -175
#9 Columbus Blue Jackets: +140

East Top 4

1. Boston Bruins
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Washington Capitals
4. Philadelphia Flyers

Hub city 2 (Western Conference)

#5 Edmonton Oilers: -167
#12 Chicago Blackhawks: +135

#6 Nashville Predators: -143
#11 Arizona Coyotes: +116

#7 Vancouver Canucks: -134
#10 Minnesota Wild: +110

#8 Calgary Flames: -118
#9 Winnipeg Jets: -106

West Top 4

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Vegas Golden Knights
4. Dallas Stars

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