NHL Playoffs 2018: Washington Capitals are the new favorites to win the Stanley Cup

There was a time when the Washington Capitals couldn't be trusted to advance past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's a drought that spanned two full decades. 

Now, however, with only four teams left in this year's NHL playoff picture, oddsmakers are saying that the Capitals can be trusted to win it all.

That's right. According to Bovada's latest odds for the 2017-18 Stanley Cup Final, the Capitals are the best bet of those left. If their first two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals are any indication of what's to come, that shouldn't be much of a surprise -- even considering Washington's two-decade drought of conference finals appearances. But still, it isn't every day -- or year -- that you see the Capitals favored to win anything other than the Presidents' Trophy.

The expansion Vegas Golden Knights, meanwhile, are slight favorites over their Western Conference opponents, the Winnipeg Jets, even though the latter has more first-line firepower and the series is even at 1-1. That's probably because, to put it simply, the Golden Knights have looked the most like this year's team of destiny, rallying behind Marc-Andre Fleury and incredible offensive balance to defy the forecasts that maybe had them as a competent, not contending, team in their first year of existence.

Vegas might still be the smartest bet if you're a believer in their storybook season, especially now that the Golden Knights have dropped to No. 2 behind the Caps and Fleury has plenty of experience against Washington from his days with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But if you're looking for the long-shot payoff, it's also not necessarily a bad time to throw one in on the Lightning, as Tampa Bay still thoroughly outmatches the Caps in talent and has, you know, awful D.C. hockey history on its side.

Here are Bovada's latest odds, in full:

Washington Capitals: 8/5
Vegas Golden Knights: 12/5
Winnipeg Jets: 13/5
Tampa Bay Lightning: 13/2

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