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The NHL can be one of the toughest sports to bet on due to the high level of parity. That, however, is also what makes it exciting, as anyone can win on any given night. Along with that, the Stanley Cup is one of the most historic trophies across all sports.
The Stanley Cup playoffs combine speed, physicality and excitement. And they offer plenty of betting options. From futures bets that encompass the entire playoff run to live prop bets, you’ll likely find something of interest. This guide will cover the key aspects of betting on the NHL playoffs and the Stanley Cup Final. Read on to learn more.
2022 Stanley Cup winner odds
How Stanley Cup futures betting works
No matter what sport you’re betting on, you’re likely to find futures bets. These are bets that you can place on season-long outcomes or on the events of the playoffs. As an example, you could bet on which team will win the Stanley Cup while the regular season is still ongoing. Or before the season even starts.
Betting on Stanley Cup futures opens well before the regular season begins. Sportsbooks like BetMGM or FanDuel will open their betting odds shortly after the previous Stanley Cup Final has concluded. The odds to win the Stanley Cup at this point likely will look very different from the odds that will be available closer to the playoffs, as there is less information to go on.
You can place hockey bets on which team will win the Stanley Cup at nearly any point in the season. If you do it closer to when the market opens, you will have less information, but there will be more value to find in the lines. The closer you get to the playoffs, the more information you will have. The sportsbooks will also have access to this information, however.
Odds for Stanley Cup futures will default to the American format at Ohio sports betting sites. This format is fairly easy to read, and it’s a useful skill to learn as it will help you quickly scan odds and understand what you’re looking at.
Negative numbers indicate options that the sportsbook views as favored to happen, essentially indicating an implied probability of more than 50%. The number itself shows the amount of a bet that would win $100 if it’s correct. For example, let’s say that you bet on the Columbus Blue Jackets to win a Stanley Cup playoff game at odds of -150. You could bet $150 to win $100, returning a total of $250 if the Blue Jackets did win the game.
A positive number, on the other hand, indicates an underdog. The number shows how much you would stand to win on a $100 bet. For example, let’s say that the Blue Jackets had odds of +1500 to win the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. You could bet $100 to win $1,500, returning a total of $1,600 if they won it all.
How Stanley Cup odds change throughout the season
As mentioned above, the NHL Stanley Cup odds that you see when they first come out will likely be very different from what you see at the end of the season. This is because sports are unpredictable. The injuries, transactions and other events that occur during the season will influence each team’s chances.
Sportsbooks will take into account all the data and information available when making their lines. Then, those numbers will shift throughout the season to reflect what is happening in the league. Anything from a player getting injured to a team firing its coach will likely have an impact on the odds. You’ll also see the numbers move in response to betting action. Because the lines move so much, betting at the right moment can be vital. Unfortunately, this can be a tough decision. Generally, using all the information you have available is the best possible method.
As we mentioned, lines can also move because of the tendencies of the general public. For example, if one selection is getting a lot of action, the sportsbooks will change the odds to make that pick less attractive. Sportsbooks do this because they want to limit their total potential liability. If a lot of money is coming in on the Blue Jackets at huge odds and a sportsbook might have to potentially pay out a significant amount of money, that book will shift the odds to be less attractive and potentially to make other options more attractive.
Sportsbooks will also take into consideration any large wagers they receive from accounts that they deem to be “sharp.” These are professional gamblers or betting syndicates that sportsbooks keep an eye on. They know that a large bet from one of these accounts means there is likely an inefficiency in the market.
If you’re planning to place a Stanley Cup futures bet on a popular or well-regarded team, you might want to consider betting on it early in the season. This is because you can expect a large number of people to bet on these types of teams, potentially driving the odds away from you. This is something to keep in mind when thinking about when to place your bet.
Tips and trends for Stanley Cup futures
When deciding on a team to back for a Stanley Cup futures bet, it’s a good idea to look at what measures we can use to help us predict who is going to win. The NHL is such a tough sport to predict because hockey lends itself well to underdogs. Looking at the recent winners of the Stanley Cup, we can see a range of teams that have ended up winning.
For example, take a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning odds. After one of the most dominant regular seasons of all time in 2018-19, the Lightning failed to win even a single playoff game as they lost in the first round to the Blue Jackets. Since then, Tampa Bay has won back-to-back Stanley Cups, even though it hasn’t enjoyed the same level of regular-season success.
This is just one example of how hard it can be to predict who is going to win the Stanley Cup and how random it can seem. Despite that, we can use certain attributes and statistics to help us get a clearer picture.
The first thing to keep in mind is that playoff hockey and regular season hockey are very different. Teams that perform well during the regular season aren’t necessarily built in the most optimal way for the postseason. Few other sports have as big of a difference between how the game is played during the regular season and the playoffs. The NHL becomes much more physical, and goals become harder to come by, rewarding teams that play a structured style.
Thus, looking for teams that have a few good defenders on their roster is a good start. As the old saying goes, “offense wins games; defense wins championships.” There may be no sport where that is more true than hockey.
Another tactic is looking at more advanced stats and analytics. Perform a simple Google search and you can find various resources that attempt to quantify every part of each NHL team. For instance, some tools allow you to simulate matchups between teams as they tinker with their lineups. Some of these tools even allow you to simulate entire seasons, offering a good first step in the research process. While hockey is too complex to reduce to a single number, these tools can help give you an idea and a starting point.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and the elusive Stanley Cup
The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the NHL in the 2000-01 season and have participated every year since then. As a relatively new franchise, the Blue Jackets have struggled to put together a consistent roster so far. While there have been some memorable players and moments — Rick Nash is someone who comes to mind — there hasn’t been a whole lot of playoff success.
The Blue Jackets’ first playoff appearance came in 2008-09 when they finished the regular season with 92 points. While they have since bested that regular-season point total multiple times, the 2008-09 season was special because they managed to qualify for the postseason. Once there, things didn’t go so well, as they lost in a first-round sweep to the Detroit Red Wings.
Since then, the Blue Jackets have had five other playoff showings. Their best regular-season effort came in 2016-17. They finished with 108 points on the back of a stingy defense that allowed only 195 goals the entire season. Unfortunately, the playoffs brought disappointment once again as they lost in the first round, winning a single game this time against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Only once have the Blue Jackets won a playoff series, and that happened in 2018-19 when they beat the Lightning. The Blue Jackets also won their qualifying round against the Toronto Maple Leafs when the NHL changed its playoff format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, the Blue Jackets continue to search for their first Stanley Cup or even their first significant playoff run. As a smaller market team, building through the draft has to be an area of focus. Once they’ve built a solid core, trades and free agency can help with the complementary pieces. Check out our Columbus Blue Jackets odds for more betting opportunities in addition to the Stanley Cup futures.
Recent Stanley Cup winners
Here are the last 10 NHL champs:
|Year||Stanley Cup Champion||Runner Up|
|2021||Tampa Bay Lightning||Montreal Canadiens|
|2020||Tampa Bay Lightning||Dallas Stars|
|2019||St. Louis Blues||Boston Bruins|
|2018||Washington Capitals||Vegas Golden Knights|
|2017||Pittsburgh Penguins||Nashville Predators|
|2016||Pittsburgh Penguins||San Jose Sharks|
|2015||Chicago Blackhawks||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2014||Los Angeles Kings||New York Rangers|
|2013||Chicago Blackhawks||Boston Bruins|
|2012||Los Angeles Kings||New Jersey Devils|
Other NHL futures bets
Besides betting on the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are plenty of other futures bets available for hockey. Any bet with a sizable amount of time between when you place it and when you know if you’ve won is likely a futures bet. These bets do not have to be just on a team’s achievements. Instead, you’ll likely find an array of options at your sportsbook.
For team futures, you can also bet on which team will reach the Stanley Cup Final, win the Presidents’ Trophy, win their conference, or win their division. These bets will have different odds to reflect the changing probability that each team has of reaching each stage.
You can also bet on season win totals. Before the season, sportsbooks will release lines predicting how many games each team will win. You can then bet whether a specific team will win more or fewer games than the sportsbook’s prediction. This is a popular bet across many North American sports, not just hockey.
Besides these team futures, you can also place futures bets on the performance of individual players. A common example of this would be betting on a player to win one of the major end-of-season awards, such as the Vezina Trophy, the Hart Trophy or the Norris Trophy.
Here is a bulleted list of some of the NHL futures you can find at many Ohio sports betting sites:
- Vezina Trophy
- Norris Trophy
- Division winners
- Conference winners
- Season win totals
- Leading goal scorer
- Leading point scorer