Opening night of the NHL season will feature the latest edition of hockey’s oldest rivalry as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens as -140 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Toronto returns to action with a lot to prove after making an early exit from the playoff bubble last summer, but leads the way as a +125 betting favourite to win this year’s reconfigured North Division going into Wednesday night’s matchup at Scotiabank Arena.
While temporary realignment means that the Maple Leafs will avoid regular-season clashes with powerhouse opponents like Boston and Tampa Bay, the club will face the Canadiens 10 times during the abbreviated campaign. The Leafs have dropped four straight games to Montreal, a run that includes three home defeats. Toronto must also contend with what is expected to be a vastly improved Canadiens squad this time around.
Set as +120 underdogs for Wednesday night, the Canadiens bulked up during the off-season with the additions of Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, and Joel Edmundson. Listed as an improving +2200 wager on the Stanley Cup odds, Montreal will be looking to take the next step after following up a forgettable regular season last year with a surprising run to the first round of the playoffs.
Later on Wednesday night, the action heats up out west as the Edmonton Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks as -125 chalk at online sports betting sites. The Oilers closed out last season with 83 points, the most among all seven Canadian-based NHL teams, and open the season sitting second to Toronto at +450 odds to win the North Division.
Now returning to play with last season’s core largely intact, the Oilers have produced mixed results against Vancouver, claiming victory in just six of the teams’ last 12 overall meetings.
The Canucks open their schedule as +105 underdogs for Wednesday, but face high expectations after seeing their rebuild finally start to bear fruit last season. The team tallied a winning record for the first time in five years, and came within one victory of a berth in the Western Conference Final. However, Vancouver continued to struggle on the road, compiling a 14-18-2 record away from Rogers Arena, ranking them 12th in the Western Conference.
Elsewhere on the NHL opening night odds, the Lightning will celebrate their Stanley Cup triumph as they host the Chicago Blackhawks as heavy -250 favourites in Central Division action. As well, the Battle of Pennsylvania rivalry will be rekindled as the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Pittsburgh Penguins as -120 home chalk, while the St. Louis Blues visit the Colorado Avalanche as +120 road underdogs.