Betting Value in The Futures Odds to Win The Stanley Cup
by Dave Schwab Scores & Statson
The NHL regular season came to a close this weekend ahead of next week’s opening round of the playoffs. In anticipation of the four best-of-seven rounds to determine this year’s Stanley Cup Champion, Intertops online sportsbook has recently updated its betting odds to win this year’s title. Here is a look at the betting value for the top two contending teams in each conference.
The Lightning have been the frontrunners the entire season as clearly the best team in the NHL. While they were just shy of setting a new record for most points in the regular season, they left the other 30 NHL teams in the dust when it came to winning games.
Bolstered by an offensive attack that averaged 3.88 goals a game, Tampa Bay was the highest scoring team in the NHL this year. Defensively, it was tied for seventh in goals allowed (2.71). What makes the Lightning a tough team to bet against in these playoffs is their ability to score goals on the power play as well as kill them off on defense. If Andrei Vasilevskiy can play to form in goal over the next two months, Tampa Bay will earn its designation as the best value bet on the board.
Much of Boston’s betting value is lost due to the road it has to take to win the Stanley Cup. Getting past the Toronto Maples Leafs in the opening round is enough of a challenge let alone a probable showdown against Tampa Bay. Give the Bruins credit for a strong second half to earn the second seed in the Atlantic Division, but the gap between them and the top team on that list is still rather wide.
The big plus in Boston’s favor is its ability to play defense. With a goals against average of 2.58 that was ranked third in the league, the Bruins can grind out wins against any team it faces. The duo of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak in goal could make things interesting over the course of these upcoming best-of-seven matchups.
Calgary has been one of the biggest surprises in the regular season as the top team in the Pacific Division. The Flames stayed hot down the stretch to earn the most points in the Western Conference after missing the playoffs last season by finishing fifth in the division standings.
Betting on Calgary to win it all still comes with some level of risk. This will be one of the more inexperienced teams in the postseason after making just two trips to the playoffs in its previous nine campaigns. Playoff hockey takes on a much different tone than the regular season and that could work against the Flames’ chances to advance deep into the competition. This is still the second-highest scoring team in the NHL which is a major plus.
The Sharks could have the best value on the board as a veteran playoff team. Going all the way back to the 1997-1998 regular season, they have earned a spot in the postseason 18 times in 20 years. The issue with this team has been more than a few early exits after failing to live up to some lofty expectations. San Jose has never won a Stanley Cup title and its only trip to the NHL Finals was in 2016. None the less, this team is more than capable of making that deep run this time around.
One of the things that does add value to these longer odds is San Jose’s ability to light the lamp. With a goals per game average of 3.51, it is deeper in scoring depth than most of the teams in the playoffs. The key to winning it all will be better play from Martin Jones as the Sharks’ primary goaltender.