2016-17 NHL: Conference Winner Futures and Odds for Bookies

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The NHL All-Star Game is fast approaching – January 29th in case you didn't know – which means the league's first half is complete.

NHL bettors will have already eyed the strong first halves that Washington, Columbus, Minnesota and Chicago have had.

In comparison, fans will have also seen the relative poor starts made by Colorado and Detroit – two traditional powerhouses NHL bettors would have expected more from.

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Eastern Conference

Columbus Blue Jacket +400

Pittsburgh Penguins +400

Washington Capitals +550

Going into the all-star break, the most surprising side on the ice has been Columbus.

In terms of history, the Blue Jackets franchise has only been around since 2000. And the team failed to make the playoffs in its first seven seasons.

Columbus has only made the playoffs twice, but this season the team has been nearly unstoppable. Columbus pulled off 16 straight wins between the end of November and the beginning of January.

The big question is: can Columbus continue its run and win the Eastern Conference?

The team is currently +400 to win the east, which is the same odds defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins see.

Pittsburgh is in third in the east currently, three points behind Columbus and five behind leaders Washington Capitals.

Pittsburgh has the league's leading scorer, Sidney Crosby, and the reigning NHL champions will see a lot of NHL bettors wager on them to win the east.

NHL bettors have great odds in the Capitals to win the Eastern Conference as the team is at +550 odds. Washington's biggest strength thus far has been its assortment of role players.

Capitals' veteran left wing Alex Ovechkin has been solid in front of goal. His 22 goals has him fifth in the league, and he is one player online bookies should note.

If he can keep it up, he will have the Capitals on top of the Eastern Conference well into the spring.

Columbus has the potential to catch the Capitals and with the run the team went on in December, NHL bettors will love the team's odds to win the conference.

The Blue Jackets deep defender pool and talented playmakers make them a great pick. But this is unchartered territory for the franchise.

Either way, use PayPerHead’s mass editing tool to set betting limits on Columbus. Price per head agents don’t want to risk losing it all before the Stanley Cup is even here.

Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks +275

Minnesota Wild +425

San Jose Sharks +700

The Western Conference is a little bit tighter as only seven points separate the top five teams.

Minnesota currently sits first and are expected to reach its fifth consecutive playoffs. At odds of +425, the Wild is a great price for NHL bettors, and online bookies will see plenty of action on the team.

What may hurt Minnesota in its quest for the Western Conference crown is the lack of an elite forward. Eric Staal does have 16 goals, but that places him 42nd in the NHL.

Sure, NHL bettors will love the Wild's defense, but when push comes to shove, Chicago is still the best in the west.

The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup in three out of the last seven seasons. The team has been on a roll, even though it was eliminated in the first round of last year's playoffs.

At +275, Chicago could be the safe bet price per head agents and online bookies see. The team has all-around depth and will be problem for any opponent post-NHL All-Star Game.

While Minnesota and Chicago are the two favorites and come from a traditional ice hockey region, online bookies shouldn't count out the San Jose Sharks.

The team won the Western Conference a season ago and at +700, the team is at a lovely price. The Sharks know how to get the job done, and a repeat Western Conference championship performance isn't out of the question.

Placing betting limits on the Sharks is probably a good idea for price per head agents. That’s a lot to shell out should they take home the Conference crown.

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