How to Bet on NHL Futures
It is widely believed that of the four major professional sports in North America, winning the Stanley Cup is by far the most difficult achievement. Unlike the other three leagues, the NHL futures market rarely features a heavy favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
The parity around the NHL is much more prominent than in any other league. In recent years we have seen an expansion team (Vegas Golden Knights, 2018) go 6 games in the Stanley Cup Final and another team go from worst to first in a manner of months en route to winning their first ever Stanley Cup (St. Louis Blues, 2019).
Needless to say, placing a futures bet in this market comes with some risk.
However, the beautiful thing about the NHL futures market is that the “favorite” to win the Stanley Cup will still have very good odds if they pull it off. The early favorite to win the 2020 Stanley Cup is the Tampa Bay Lightning at +800, with the Bruins (+900), Golden Knights (+900), Maple Leafs (+1000) and Avs/Blues (+1200) rounding out the top five. If you find a deep sleeper that can get on a roll in April, the payout could be even larger than that.
NHL Futures: An Avalanche of Expectations: Previewing the Western Conference
The Colorado Avalanche haven’t participated in the Stanley Cup Finals since 2001, but they may finally have pieced together the roster to remind the Denver faithful of the days when Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy were tormenting their Western Conference foes.
Led by young stars Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, the Avs enter 2019-20 as the odds-on favorite to win the Western Conference. Philipp Grubauer became the Avs goalie late in the 2018-19 season and if he is able to continue his strong play from last season, the Avs figure to be very much in the conversation to hoist their third Stanley Cup (+1200 to win Stanley Cup) in team history.
The Avs are joined by the co-favorite Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights shocked the hockey world with a division championship and run to the Stanley Cup Final in their expansion season and look to bounce back following a disappointing sophomore campaign. The Knights once again figure to go as far as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury can take them, but if he finds his form from a couple seasons ago Vegas (+900 to win Stanley Cup) figures to be in contention for another Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
The defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues (+1200 to win Stanley Cup) return a loaded roster led by Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, that was able to catch fire in the second half of the season last year en route to their first ever Stanley Cup Finals victory.
Sleepers in the Western Conference include the Nashville Predators (+2500), Arizona Coyotes (+4500) and Edmonton Oilers (+5000), but at the outset it appears the Avs, Blues and Knights are the top teams out West.
NHL Futures: Will Lightning Strike Twice? Previewing the Eastern Conference
Entering the 2019-20 season, last years President’s Trophy winners the Tampa Bay Lightning are your odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +800. However, the Bruins (+900) and Capitals (+1600) are not very far off the chase.
The Lightning have been chronic underachievers for the last four seasons, capped off with last season’s face plant in the playoffs when they became the first top seed to be swept in their opening playoff series in NHL history. This recent history is what could make bettors in the NHL futures market wary of backing them, though on paper the Lightning have as talented a roster as anyone.
If the Lightning do trip up yet again, the aforementioned Bruins and Capitals figure to step right in. The Bruins lost in a hard-fought 7-game Stanley Cup Final against the Blues, while the Caps could not repeat as champion. Both teams figure to bounce back this season and contend heavily for the Stanley Cup.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (+1800 to win Stanley Cup) also figure to have a say in who eventually comes out of the Eastern Conference, as the veteran tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin still gives opponents fits even if they are both past the prime of their career now.
Other sleepers in the Eastern Conference include the Toronto Maple Leafs (+1000 to win Stanley Cup), Philadelphia Flyers (+3000), and New York Islanders (+3500).
As always, the experts here at OddsUSA will help you all along the way. Good luck and happy wagering!