With about 20 games remaining in their season, the Florida Panthers are hovering among a handful of Eastern Conference rivals for a wild card spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
So, are the Panthers a good bet to qualify for the postseason?
There is no Florida sports betting but, in states that do offer legal, regulated sportsbooks, it’s an interesting question.
What Florida Panthers Are Facing in Playoff Race
For the two conference wild card spots that are up for grabs, there are seven legitimate contenders. Florida, which won the President’s Trophy as the team with the NHL’s best regular-season record last season, was still a few points shy of making the cut going into Tuesday night’s game against the rival Tampa Bay Lightning.
In front of Florida and holding a bit of a cushion at the moment are the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In a crowded scramble with the Panthers are Buffalo, Detroit, Washington, and Ottawa.
Florida’s betting odds reflect the uphill battle the Panthers face.
At DraftKings Sportsbook, a “Yes” on the Panthers making the playoffs was +155 as of Tuesday afternoon, meaning a bettor who is optimistic about Florida’s chances of making the postseason would wager $100 to win $155.
Meanwhile, a “No” wager on the Panthers’ chances is -190, meaning a bettor who is pessimistic about Florida’s chances would have to risk $190 to win $100 in the event the Panthers fail to make the playoffs.
The complicated path to having legal wagering on sports in Florida is a topic that Brandt Iden, Sportradar’s head of Government Affairs in the U.S., discussed with FloridaBet last year.
Eastern Conference Odds Also Long
For more ambitious Panthers backers around the country, BetMGM Sportsbook has Florida at +2200 to win the Eastern Conference championship and +4000 to win the Stanley Cup.
BetMGM also offers an interesting regional combination futures wager featuring Florida’s two NHL teams. The odds are +1000 for either the Panthers or Lightning to win the Stanley Cup.
If the Panthers are to make a playoff run, it would appear they better get in gear in March. In March, Florida has a stretch of 11 games (March 2-25) in which nine contests are at home. Florida has played strong at home (16-9-3) this season.
After that favorable schedule, the Panthers are on visiting ice for four straight games. At the tail end of the schedule, they have four games out of five at home but finish with two strong teams, Toronto (on April 10) and Carolina (April 13).