Of all the major sports in America, the NHL offers the greatest value to bettors regarding betting team season futures. Given the second-season nature of the NHL playoffs and the fact that it is not uncommon to see two lower seeds battling it out to see who will drink from the Stanley Cup, finding value is pivotal to the success of NHL bettors.
Those who are experienced in making NHL picks today know full well that, especially in their sport of choice, it’s rarely how you start but how you finish. Seemingly intangible factors such as puck luck, momentum, and destiny are far more common in hockey than in other major pro sports.
In fact, the last team to claim the Presidents’ Trophy (awarded to the team with the most regular season wins) and the Stanley Cup was the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks. A quick look back shows that in the 33 seasons, the Presidents’ Trophy has been awarded, and only 8 teams have gone to hoist the Cup. Moreover, 7 teams that captured the trophy failed to advance out of the first round of the playoffs.
In this piece, we will discern which teams are good value when placing a Stanley Cup future and which are best to stay away from. The markets on the Cup tend not to fluctuate as much as those in other sports since the books don’t necessarily value current form as much as they aim to predict (and price) future performance.
Given the fact that playoff hockey is simply just so different from the brand of play seen in the regular season, past playoff performance almost has equal weight with a current form, which, when it comes to other sports, is nearly the exact opposite method of setting prices.
The ‘Lanche On Top
The defending Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, opened the season as 5-1 favorites to repeat the feat. Through the season’s first 21 games, Colorado is just 13-7-1, although they boast the league’s best power play and are 6th in goals allowed. Winger Mikko Rantanen has scored 13 times in the first 21 games and is one of the league’s best offensive threats.
The Boston Bruins (3 losses) and New Jersey Devils (4 losses) have tasted defeat combined as the Avalanche have. Both squads have been dominant on home ice and are high atop the league in scoring and shots on the net. Currently, Boston is 7/1, after opening the year 25/1, while the Devils are anywhere from 10/1 to 12/1 after being priced at 70/1 at the start of the season.
To us, the Bruins are a solid bet and given their dominance and ability to avoid the injury bug, now is the time to buy tickets for them. If the team continues to roll, maybe not at this level, but proves to be a bonafide triple-digit point-producing team, this is a solid bet.
In addition, in the past, Boston has been known to win road playoff games, and while the men between the pipes, Linus Ullmark and Jack Swayman, aren’t exactly veteran goaltenders and playoff-tested, there’s something in this squad’s DNA that suggests they can make a deep run.
A Quick History Lesson
While the last few seasons have been somewhat chalky with short-priced teams hoisting the Cup, you only need to go back to 2018 and 2019 when the Capitals and Blues each won after being listed at 12/1 at the start of the playoffs.
Another team that rewarded its backers handsomely was the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings, who came away with the Cup in 2012 and 2014, were listed at 22/1. Before the 2012 playoff run and at 14/1 before their defeat of the Rangers in 2014 in the final series. Conversely, when Colorado won it all last season, there were just + 325 before the playoffs, offering little value in a sport known for its parity and unpredictability.