The NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are widely regarded as the best postseason of any professional sport. Momentum does not seem to carry over from one game to the next and home advantage is less of a factor than in other sports. The result of those two things is that betting odds can change rapidly from one playoff game to the next making for interesting betting opportunities.
This year’s playoff odds are as even as any season in recent memory. In fact, three of the four teams currently have identical odds to take home the Cup at season’s end.
Winnipeg Jets- 9:4 odds to win the Stanley Cup
The Jets are probably the most complete team in the NHL this season. They are also carrying the entire nation of Canada on their backs, as a Canadian team has not won the Cup since 1993. It is hard to tell if the support creates additional pressure or if it is uplifting.
The Jets are bigger than Vegas at many key positions and just as fast. Their goaltending is almost as good and should they win the Western Conference, they match up very well with the Capitals.
Winnipeg Summary: Of the remaining teams, the Jets are the most well-rounded and worthy of a wager at 9:4.
Vegas Golden Knights- 9:4 odds to win the Stanley Cup
Vegas (the casinos) must believe that the Knights are the best team remaining in the playoffs. If the Knights win, the sportsbooks will suffer their biggest single event loss in the history of sports gambling. Therefore, they need to inflate other teams’ prices to encourage action on them to try to reduce their liability.
The Knights are the deepest team and can score from all four of their lines. Marc–Andre Fleury is a proven playoff star and goaltending can easily dictate a series outcome. The Knights do not have the offensive star power or the name recognition of any of the remaining teams, but that has not slowed them down this season.
Vegas Summary: It seems unfathomable that an expansion team could actually win the Cup. Fading them seems like the logical play, if for no other reason than the Jets are just better.
Washington Capitals- 9:4 odds to win the Stanley Cup
When will the playoff crumble occur? Is it inevitable or is the monkey finally off of their backs? The Capitals jumped out to a 2-0 series lead despite not having the services of Nicholas Backstrom and then promptly clanked their first home game in the Conference finals.
Alexander Ovechkin finally seems to have some help from his supporting cast and Brandon Holtby has been phenomenal between the pipes. Since they knocked off Pittsburgh, this season does feel different than the other ones.
Washington Summary: Before the playoffs began, the Capitals were a long shot to win the Cup and worthy of a wager. At 9:4, their history indicates passing is the way to go. They may prove their haters wrong, but until they do, stay away.
Tampa Bay Lightning- 4:1 odds to win the Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay bounced back after giving away two games on their home ice. Since the other series is tied at 1 it makes sense that they would have the longest odds to win at this juncture.
The Lightning may have the most explosive offense in the league, and for parts of the season they scored more than anyone else. It would not be surprising if they put up 5 or 6 goals in any given game.
Tampa Summary: At 4:1 betting Tampa is the best play. Trusting the Capitals has historical proven to be a fool’s errand. Someone could take Tampa now and then hedge the finals if they make it with a guaranteed chance to profit.
Overall play: Bet Winnipeg and Tampa to win the Cup and then if either, or both, of the teams make it you can hedge the other side in the finals.