The chase for the 2018 Stanley Cup will officially begin this Wednesday, April 11 and hockey fans can’t wait! The NHL playoff schedule, or as it is better known, the NHL’s second season, is setting up to be one of the most intriguing in a long time.

Expansion Knights lead the way

Eight months ago, if you would have said that the Las Vegas Golden Knights would be one of the favorites to win the 2018 Stanley Cup, most hockey fans would have either busted out laughing or asked you how many Labatt Blues you had consumed and if you needed a ride home!

Well, no one is laughing now.

According to a USA Today report, this year’s playoffs will be without several teams that seemingly never miss the postseason, while even new teams see the field that did not make the second season last year. The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will noticeably be missing from the postseason field, while the biggest surprise in the NHL this season, the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights, are one of the favorites to win the 2018 Stanley Cup.

It is going to be one wild ride!

Odds and schedule

When it comes to putting down your hard earned money on who will walk away as this seasons NHL champs, Las Vegas sportsbooks believe that the Nashville Predators are the team to beat.

The Sporting News indicates that the Predators may be the clear-cut favorites, but it wouldn't be a surprise if any of the top five teams listed skate away with the trophy.

The Boston Bruins are the second overall favorite at +550. In third is the Tampa Bay Lightning at +600, followed by the Las Vegas Golden Knights at +650.

Listed as the fifth overall favorite is last seasons defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens are currently 9/1, or +900.

Below is a look at the odds for each team to win the 2018 Stanley Cup along with the first round matchups.

Odds to win 2018 NHL Chapionship

  • Nashville Predators +400
  • Boston Bruins +550
  • Tampa Bay Lightning +600
  • Las Vegas Golden Knights +650
  • Pittsburgh Penguins +900
  • Winnipeg Jets +900
  • Toronto Maple Leafs +1200
  • Washington Capitals +1400
  • LA Kings +2200
  • San Jose Sharks +2200
  • Anaheim Ducks +2500
  • Minnesota Wild +2500
  • Columbus Blue Jackets +2500
  • Colorado Avalanche +4000
  • Philadelphia Flyers +4000
  • New Jersey Devils +4000

Eastern Conference:

  • Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey
  • Boston vs. Toronto
  • Washington vs Columbus
  • Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia

Western Conference

  • Nashville vs. Colorado
  • Winnipeg vs. Minnesota
  • Las Vegas vs. LA Kings
  • Anaheim vs. San Jose