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 favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup are the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights all at +700. After that is Boston (+1200), Philadelphia (+1600), Washington (+1600), and St. Louis (+2000) If you find a deep sleeper that can get on a roll in April, the payout could be even larger than that.
NHL Futures: Vegas and Colorado vs. Everybody Else
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 2020-21 as one of the favorites to win the Western Conference. The Avs had the fourth-best offense in the NHL last season. If they can find success between the pipes, then there is no telling how far Colorado could go this coming season.
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. The Golden Knights will be looking to replicate that same success this season as they are tied with the Avs to win the West with odds set at +325. If Vegas can figure out their goalie situation in the off-season, then this could be a dangerous team come playoff time.
The NHL is an excellent league for sleeper picks because good teams get pretty favorable betting odds to win the Championship. In the East, the Boston Bruins are a great sleeper pick heading into 2021. If you are looking for a super sleeper pick in the Eastern Conference, then focus your attention towards the Islanders and the Rangers, who are both being given +2500 odds to win the East. If you want a Western-based sleeper team, then you could have a lot of luck if you bet on the Dallas Stars (+2000). An even deeper sleeper team in the West is Edmonton with odds set at +2500 to win the conference.
NHL Futures: Will Lightning Strike Twice? Previewing the Eastern Conference
Coming into the 2020-21 season, the Lighting are tied with two other teams as the odds-on favorite to win the Stanely Cup (+700). However, Tampa Bay stands alone at the top of the East prior to the beginning of this coming season with +350 odds to win the conference.
The Eastern Conference is stacked with heavyweights top to bottom. While the Lightning are currently favored to win the East, it is certainly possible another team will come along and dethrone the 2020 Stanley Cup champs this season.
Despite underperforming in the 2020 playoffs, the Boston Bruins are still being given the second-best odds to win the East (+600). While the B’s may have won the President’s Trophy last year, they fell short of their ultimate goal after losing to the Lighting in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. It would not be surprising to see Boston make a run at the cup this season.
The Flyers and Capitals also head into this season with +800 odds to win the conference. The Caps came up short the last two postseasons after winning the Stanely Cup in 2018. Meanwhile, Philly is looking to build on a promising season that saw the Flyers advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
Other sleepers in the Eastern Conference include the Toronto Maple Leafs (+2000 to win Stanley Cup), Pittsburgh Penguins (+2000), and New York Islanders (+2500).
As always, the experts here at OddsUSA will help you all along the way. Good luck and happy wagering!