The 2012 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are finally here. As the 16 teams get ready for their opening postseason series, the oddsmakers are hard at work attempting to predict a winner.
According to our friends over at OddsShark, the current favorites to win this year's Stanley Cup are the Pittsburgh Penguins, at 4-1, followed by the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, both at 11-2.
But before we can get to the Stanley Cup, we need to start at the beginning. In the Eastern Conference, the only higher-seeded team that enters the first round as an underdog is the Florida Panthers. The first round of the Eastern Conference bracket looks like this:
No. 1 New York Rangers (-230) vs. No. 8 Ottawa Senators (+190)
The Rangers went 1-3 against the Senators this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 1-2-1 in those four contests.
No. 3 Florida Panthers (+165) vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils (-190)
The Panthers went 2-2 against the Devils this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 2-1-1 in those four contests.
No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins (-210) vs. No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers (+175)
The Penguins went 2-4 against the Flyers this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 3-2-1 in those six contests.
Over in the Western Conference, the No. 3 seed Phoenix Coyotes have the longest odds to advance to the Stanley Cup. Here is how the odds look in the opening round out west:
No. 1 Vancouver Canucks (-230) vs. No. 8 Los Angeles Kings (+190)
The Canucks went 2-2 against the Kings this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 0-1-3 in those four contests.
No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes (+110) vs. No. 6 Chicago Blackhawks (-130)
The Coyotes went 3-1 against the Blackhawks this season.
The OVER/UNDER went 2-2 in those four contests.
The Panthers and Coyotes are going to try to make fans believe they're for real, but it looks like the oddsmakers will take more convincing.
For complete coverage of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.