2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs- Futures Odds Update
The field of eight in both the NHL's Eastern and Western Conference for this season's Stanley Cup Playoffs have been set. Before action gets underway in the opening round this Wednesday, BetOnline has updated its NHL futures odds for all 16 teams.
The NHL regular season is in the books and the top eight teams from each conference are set to begin their quest for a Stanley Cup title later this week in the opening round of the playoffs. The trick now is to find the best value in the futures odds for both the Eastern and Western Conference titles as well as to win this season's Stanley Cup.
I am going chalk in the East with a play on the New York Rangers' +260 betting odds to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row.
The Rangers have been the complete package all season long behind an offense that is ranked third in the NHL in scoring with 3.0 goals a game complementing a third-ranked defense in goals allowed (2.3). What really adds value to these odds is the goalie tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Talbot.
We already know how well Lundqvist can play this time of the year and in 46 games this season he posted a goals-against average of 2.25 to go along with a .922 save percentage. Talbot appeared in 36 games and basically matched those numbers with a 2.21 GAA and a save percentage of .926.
Tampa Bay is a +450 second-favorite to win the East, but I see the biggest competition to New York's run to the NHL Finals coming from Montreal as a +550 third-favorite. It has been proven time and time again that defense wins championships in the NHL and when you have a goalie such as Cary Price between the pipes it can really help the cause. The Canadiens' netminder was ranked first in the league in both goals allowed (1.96) and save percentage (.933) in the regular season.
The betting odds to win the East for a few of the other contenders start with Washington at +650 followed by the New York Islanders at +800. Pittsburgh is listed at +850 and both Ottawa and Detroit have +900 odds to win the East.
The top team to win the West this season is the St. Louis Blues at +375, but it is hard to find the value in this number given the Blues' past letdowns in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. My pick to win this conference is the Chicago Blackhawks as +425 odds.
Chicago has been a perennial favorite to win it all for the past several seasons with two Stanley Cup titles in the last five years. The Blackhawks will get a huge boost on offense from the eventual return of Patrick Kane, who missed a substantial amount of time this season with broken collarbone, but once again it is defense driving this pick.
If Corey Crawford stays hot between the pipes, he can easily carry this team back to the NHL Finals. He appeared in 57 games in the regular season and posted a GAA of 2.27 and a .924 save percentage. Experience is also a huge factor, especially in the later rounds.
The third-favorite to win the West is Anaheim at +450 followed by Minnesota at +550 betting odds. Both of these teams can be solid obstacles in Chicago's path, but they have also had their issues in the postseason. Neither got past the conference semifinals last season with the Ducks falling to Los Angeles in seven games and the Wild going down in six games against the Blackhawks.
The betting odds for the rest of this conference have Nashville listed at +650 and Vancouver at +850. Winnipeg is next at +900 and Calgary has the longest odds at +1000.
The Rangers' odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup are set at +500 as the clear favorite and I would have to agree. Last year's experience in the NHL Finals should only work to help New York this time around in what should be an epic battle against Chicago.
The Blackhawks are +850 third-favorites to win it all after St. Louis at +800. Both Tampa Bay in the East and Anaheim in the West are next at +900. Minnesota is next on the list at +1000 followed by Montreal (+1200) and Washington (+1300).
Detroit in the East and Calgary in the West have the longest odds on the board at +2000.