The playoffs for the Stanley Cup are just about a month away, and teams all over the map are jockeying for position. In the latest NHL playoff odds, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals are the two NHL favorites to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup in 2016, but it’s tough to say that the two teams truly are on level terms with each other.
Stanley Cup Favorites Are Perennial Losers
In theory, Washington is the only team in the NHL that is a lock to get into the playoffs at this point. The Caps already have 103 points, and their magic number to clinch the Metropolitan Division title is just 10, and we’ve got a month of the season left. Someone is going to have to win in D.C. to knock Washington out, and with a 26-6-2-0 mark on its home ice this season, it’s tough to see that happening.
That said, the Capitals are perennial losers in the playoffs. They’ve had the best record in the NHL before, and home rink advantage has run through the Verizon Center several times before, yet they’ve never reached a Stanley Cup Finals in the Alexander Ovechkin era.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks are tied atop the Central Division with 14 games to play, and both Dallas and St. Louis are right there with them. It’s anyone’s guess whether Chicago will or will not have home ice advantage at any stage in the playoffs, but it’s not like it has mattered in the past. The ‘Hawks have won three Stanley Cups in the last six years, including last year.
NHL Betting: Underdogs Could Be Great Value
However, to discount the rest of the teams in the league right now would be foolish. In fact, we feel like there’s probably some really good value for clubs with massive odds hanging next to them.
As of the publication of this article, the spread between teams No. 2 and 13 in the Eastern Conference is just 15 points in the NHL lines. The top seven teams in the West are separated by a total of seven points.
A team like Colorado at a hefty price of 80 to 1 might end up being worthwhile. Sure, the Avs have a tremendous uphill battle just to fend off Minnesota for the last playoff spot in the West, but if they get there, they could put up a solid fight.
We’re only a couple years removed from the Avalanche losing in a seven-game series against the Wild in the opening round of the playoffs, and they could be poised for greatness here in the West. Young Nathan MacKinnon has really come on strong this year with 21 goals and 29 assists, while Matt Duchene has been a consistent leader of this club. No one will want to schedule a trip to Denver on its playoff schedule.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more conventional choice, your team might be the Tampa Bay Lightning at a price of just better than 11 to 1. The Bolts won the East last year thanks to strong goaltending from Ben Bishop, and the netminder is having a fantastic season once again with a 2.04 GAA.
Throw in Nikita Kucherov’s tremendous improvement, Steven Stamkos’ ability to score massive goals and the veterans who really picked up some great experience last year, and you’ve got the makings of a team that is poised for another deep run.
Make Your Stanley Cup Picks Carefully
Just remember that the NHL playoffs are always tough to gauge. Games are virtually always tight and down to the wire, and even if a team does get blown out, it’s still just one out of a possible seven games.
It’s difficult to see any series between any two teams ending in less than six games with as tight as this NHL season has been, and whichever team has more of those massive moments in clutch spots will end up as the last survivor. There’s nothing like playoff hockey.
Stanley Cup Odds to Win at BookMaker.eu:
Anaheim Ducks +655
Arizona Coyotes +80000
Boston Bruins +2152
Buffalo Sabres +150000
Calgary Flames +75000
Carolina Hurricanes +15000
Chicago Blackhawks +396
Colorado Avalanche +8000
Columbus Blue Jackets +60000
Dallas Stars +1103
Detroit Red Wings +3304
Edmonton Oilers +100000
Florida Panthers +2109
Los Angeles Kings +725
Minnesota Wild +4000
Montreal Canadiens +12638
Nashville Predators +2152
New Jersey Devils +20000
New York Islanders +1401
New York Rangers +1300
Ottawa Senators +22500
Philadelphia Flyers +7990
Pittsburgh Penguins +2285
San Jose Sharks +2002
St. Louis Blues +1151
Tampa Bay Lightning +1151
Toronto Maple Leafs +400000
Vancouver Canucks +37500
Washington Capitals +385
Winnipeg Jets +100000
Hoping that the government will make some changes to sports betting before next year’s Stanley Cup? Check out Support Growing for Regulated Sports Betting