NHL Futures: Odds to Win the Stanley Cup
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 10/14/2010
It's amazing what a couple of hockey games can do to a bettor's outlook. The NHL season kicked off last week and at Bodog already we're seeing a flood of futures action on some teams and literally nothing on others.
Believe it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the same team that finished second to last in the league last season, have garnered a number of bets on their odds to win the Stanley Cup (60/1) after starting off with two straight victories over Montreal and Ottawa.
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They payoff is certainly tempting on Toronto, but I wonder if unrealistic optimism may have gotten the best of some fans in the biggest hockey city in the world. On the other hand, perhaps a few bettors noticed what Philadelphia and Montreal did last year in the postseason after barely qualifying for the playoffs and decided it was worth a shot. Parity, after all, is alive and well in the salary-cap era of the NHL.
If you want another long shot to consider, how about the Carolina Hurricanes at 65/1? The 'Canes are only a few years removed from their 2006 Stanley Cup championship and still have the two key players from that roster, Eric Staal and Cam Ward. Carolina got off to a horrendous start to last season, but actually played pretty well after they got to December, finishing the schedule with a 30-20-5 record. This season, the Hurricanes started with two straight victories over Minnesota in Europe and were led by the stellar play of Ward in goal, which is a good sign for them.
Another team that's generated some early futures action is Los Angeles, at 18/1. I think the Kings remind a lot of people of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that was stocked with young talent but had to learn a few lessons about how to win in the playoffs before it could get to the next level. Los Angeles has a nice mix of young stars - Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar - as well as reliable veterans - Ryan Smyth and newly acquired defenseman Willie Mitchell. The big question mark is in goal, where Jonathan Quick and rookie Jonathan Bernier will fight for the starter's role.
One team that isn't drawing much action on their odds to win the Stanley Cup is Anaheim, at 35/1. The Ducks are off to a dreadful start to the year and some pundits are wondering if they might be the worst team in the Western Conference. That's hard to believe when they still boast the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, but note that all those players are forwards. With the retirement of Scott Niedermayer on defense, the Ducks' blue line is looking pretty darn thin at the moment.
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