I really like gambling. If I wasn’t such a broke student, I’d probably be a broke problem gambler. But I’ve never gambled on the NHL and the NHL playoffs and I’m thinking about changing that. Taking a look at Bodog.com’s sportsbook, there’s some interesting odds out there.
Future bets: Stanley Cup/Conference championship odds
|Team||Odds to win Stanley Cup||Odds to win conference|
Buffalo at 20/1 to win the Stanley Cup? Those odds seem pretty high for a team that was tied for the best record against the West in the Eastern conference (with Washington) and for a team that won the Northeast division, which qualified four playoff teams. The Sabres were also fourth in team defence and had the sixth best five-on-five goals for/against ratio in the league. They were third in team defence in the East and second in five-on-five ratio. Both times Ryan Miller has been in the playoffs with the Sabres, they’ve advanced to the Eastern conference finals. He is a career 20-15 with a .915 SV% in the playoffs. He’s also having a career year with a .929 SV%.
Also in the East, New Jersey at 12/1 to win the cup seems a little high. I have my doubts about Martin Brodeur at this stage in his career, but the team had the best goals against average in hockey during the regular season and were second behind Chicago in shots allowed per game. They were just behind Buffalo in seventh for five-on-five goals for/against ratio. The Devils were also 6-0 against the Penguins and 3-1 against the Capitals, holding the Caps to just two goals in three of those victories (the games were in the first half of the season, however). I’m not so sure this Devils team makes it past Philly, but if they do, they could definitely make some noise in the East.
Out West, there doesn’t seem to be as much value, unless you want to take a flyer on one of the bottom four teams (LA, Phoenix, Nashville, Colorado) making it to the Stanley Cup finals. But given how good the top teams in the West are, it seems unlikely that any of those four teams would be able to string together three upsets.
Two teams I’d stay away from for futures bets are the Red Wings and Penguins. Both teams have played almost 50 playoff games in the last two years and have top players that also played in the Olympics. Fatigue has to set in at some point. I’d be surprised if either team makes it back to the Stanley Cup finals.
The two series futures bets I’m looking at are the Kings versus the Canucks and the Flyers and Devils. The Devils are a good team, but the Flyers dominated the season series and they currently pay out at nearly 2/1 to win the series. Garth and I both thought this was going to be a fairly close series, and that seems to be the consensus looking at the field of experts’ picks. Balance that against all the positive things I said about New Jersey, but I’m thinking that if this series was played 10 times, Philly would win it at least four or five out of ten, giving you fairly good value at a 2/1 payout.
As for the Kings and Canucks, it gets back to all those negative things I said about the Canucks in my head-to-head predictions with Garth. Right now, the Kings pay out over 2/1 if they win the series. The two teams were separated by just two points during the regular season. The Canucks did win three out of four during the season series, but lost the most recent meeting 8-3 with Luongo in net for all eight goals. As much as the Kings are a young team, they have some veteran role players. This could be a good bet.
Ryan Miller is a 26/1 odds of winning the Conn Smythe trophy, Brodeur 20/1. If either of those teams make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, do you see any way of them doing it with their goalies having less than Conn Smythe-worthy playoffs? If you like their Stanley Cup odds, this might be a good side bet to make as well.
My favourite prop bet is Joe Thornton’s points over/under versus the Avalanche. The line is at 6.5 right now and the under has odds of 4/5, the over 20/21. Thornton has been under a point per game his entire playoff career, and a lot of people are thinking that, given the way the Avs have played down the stretch, the Sharks/Avs series will be a short one. If the Sharks struggle and the series does go longer, it’ll likely trace back to Thornton not scoring (as it usually does at this time of the year). The under seems like a good bet.
I’ll try and post the odds after each round of the playoffs, to see how things change. Good luck with your betting.
Take all this information with the disclaimer that none of these picks are locks by any stretch and I’m definitely not a professional gambler. This post was also not endorsed by Bodog, you’re free to choose whatever online sportsbook you want.