In 2022-23, we watched the Boston Bruins get etched in history as one of the greatest regular-season teams of all-time. The Bruins basically ran away with the Atlantic Division by November of last year. But there’s plenty of reasons to believe we may see a new champion atop this division in 2023-24. It may be a familiar team like the Toronto Maple Leafs or Florida Panthers. Or perhaps its time for some new blood like the Buffalo Sabres or Ottawa Senators. We’re going to take a look at the betting odds to win the Atlantic Division on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some predictions.
2023-24 NHL predictions: Atlantic Division
Atlantic Division odds
Toronto is favored to win the division in 2023-24 after adding a few big forwards this offseason. Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi are being tasked with solving the Leafs’ depth issues that have haunted the team the past handful of postseasons. Usually top-heavy, the Leafs now boast a group with Bertuzzi, Domi, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander. Perhaps the most important offseason move was adding defenseman John Klingberg, who should QB the power play and bring some offense on the blue line. Toronto is built to last and should be among the top-3 seeds in the division.
The Bruins should be worse. That’s what happens when Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci decide to hang ‘em up. Boston has a pretty weak forward group beyond David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Last season was a tough pill to swallow and you lost leadership while failing to address issues down the middle. The Bruins could feel that lack of depth during the season and you can only get by so long grinding out wins through defense and goaltending. Boston to repeat as champs in the ATL seems unlikely and these odds aren’t favorable.
The Panthers have some hype coming off the Cup run and bring back the same roster. The Panthers are going to be tough to play against and have a pretty deep squad. Matthew Tkachuk should be an MVP candidate again this season and Florida shouldn’t be limping into the playoffs this time around.
The Bolts feel like a fade. Andrei Vasilevskiy missing the first two months could be disastrous. To the point where it makes no sense to bet the Lightning to win the division at this number. The number will get better during the season. Don’t bother touching it now.
Let’s get to our favorite odds — the Sabres and Senators. It feels like one or both of these teams will make a jump this season. Both could, to be honest. The Sabres may have the best scoring line in hockey with Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch. Buffalo feels like the young team that can make a big jump this season, similar to the New Jersey Devils last campaign. There’s so much more young talent headlined by Dylan Cozens, J.J. Peterka, Casey Mittelstadt and Owen Power. Devon Levi is probably the X-Factor. He played well in net after leaving school and making the jump last season.
Ottawa feels very similar to Buffalo except with more experience. Vladimir Tarasenko and Joonas Korpisalo were the big free agent signings. Korpisalo should solve some issues in net. Even getting to average goaltending should do wonders for the Sens. The blue line is stacked with Thomas Chabot, Jakob Chychrun and Jake Sanderson. Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris and Drake Batherson gives Ottawa a very strong young forward. There’s a lot to like about both the Senators and Sabres this season. At that price, you could justify a sprinkle for either team.
The Red Wings aren’t quite there yet. Alex DeBrincat should help but this team likely won’t be very good defensively. Montreal feels a few years away at the very least and there should continue to be issues on the blue line and in net.
I think the Leafs, Panthers, Sabres and Senators end up being the top-4 teams in the division, not in that particular order. Though, Toronto should be favored. My lean would be going with the chalk and Maple Leafs at +175. My favorite bet might be the Sabres at +900. We know Buffalo will have one of the best offenses in the NHL. This unit was third last season. Slight improvements on the penalty kill and in net and this is a playoff team. There’s no way Levi isn’t better than the combination of Eric Comrie, Craig Anderson and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.