Of all the major sports leagues in North America, it has been argued the NHL is the least predictable when it comes to outright or futures betting. Recent seasons have diminished that reputation somewhat, with Colorado’s victory at +600 following Tampa’s back-to-back wins at +675 and +900. Those prices are among the four shortest-odds Stanley Cup winners since 2009, with the remaining winners routinely coming in at +1000 or higher, meaning you can often find value at NHL betting sites, like in 2019 when the St. Louis Blues, +10000 at the All-Star break, went on to lift the trophy.
Could that mean there is value to be found by looking a bit further down the betting odds? Teams like the Seattle Kraken were almost completely unfancied at the start of the season. A strong run of form recently has seen them move up our NHL Weekly Power rankings and also betting markets. The aforementioned Blues have similar odds now than they did during their successful 2018/19 campaign. Either team to win the Stanley Cup would be a big surprise, but as mentioned, the NHL has a history of such surprises.
Some betting sites will offer each-way betting on this market, usually paying out at half the odds on the Stanley Cup runners-up. This gives you another good chance to win, and can be a nice consolation if your team falls at the final hurdle, particularly when the odds are long.
Colorado Avalanche were the pre-season favorites and they maintain a prominent position near the top of Stanley Cup betting odds lists at NHL betting sites, but they are no longer favorites. As we move into February, the Avalanche are available at +650 at top sports betting sites, which is not what bettors who took +450 pre-season were expecting.
The Boston Bruins are current favorites to win the Stanley Cup heading into the All-Star break. Generally available at +500, they are by no means a certainty for glory, but it’s hard to argue against them being favorites. Powered by David Pastrnak’s 38 goals, the Bruins have a nice looking lead atop the Eastern Conference and appear to have one foot in the NHL playoffs.
Completing the top four in the Stanley Cup betting, are the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, who are each available at around +800 on NHL betting apps. They currently sit second and third behind the Bruins in the Eastern Conference and will be hoping to keep their push going after the All-Star break.
“You have to be in it to win it” is how the old saying goes, and it certainly applies here. As the 82-game regular season progresses, the playoff picture begins to get clearer. Although the odds tend to update daily, there can be opportunities to study a team’s possible path towards the playoffs and compare this against their cup odds. Teams who may appear to be struggling may also be sitting in a division with other weak teams, giving them a clearer path to the playoff race.
Once the playoffs start, it can become somewhat of a lottery, so having a high-odds bet on a previously struggling team from earlier in the season is certainly a favorable position to be in. It gives you the opportunity to sit back and hope for the best or be smart about how to hedge your position as the playoffs progress.
When it comes to the relationship between the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup, it is certainly rare that winning the former leads to success in the latter. More often than not, in the past 20 years, the best regular season team (i.e. the Presidents’ Trophy winner) not only struggle to win the cup, but they barely even manage to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. In those two decades, only two teams have managed to win both trophies in the same season (Detroit 2007-08 and Chicago 2012-13), and just one other team has made the Finals (the 2010-11 Canucks). The remaining 17 Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams have all failed to win their Conference.