NHL Odds: Canucks are Bettors' Choice to Win Cup
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 5/13/2011
They’ve never won the Stanley Cup in the 40 years the franchise has been in existence, but this could be the year for the Vancouver Canucks.
With four teams remaining in the NHL playoffs and the conference finals getting underway this weekend, we’ve got the Canucks at 17/10 odds to win the Stanley Cup, followed by the Boston Bruins (5/2), San Jose Sharks (3/1) and Tampa Bay Lightning (7/2).
We’ve seen strong betting support for the Canucks all season, but it’s really ramped up recently. Not only did the Canucks finish off the Nashville Predators on Monday, giving them plenty of time to rest, the Sharks allowed a 3-0 series lead over the Red Wings to evaporate before avoiding the massive choke Thursday at home in Game 7. That grueling, emotional seven-game series should (theoretically at least) leave San Jose physically and mentally exhausted with Game 1 of the Western Conference finals set for Sunday in Vancouver.
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There’s also something to be said for the number of Canucks fans compared to the number of Sharks fans, a factor that always affects the odds. Not that San Jose isn’t a good hockey town, but it’s nothing compared to Vancouver, where hockey is practically all that matters. The larger the fan base, the more people that bet on their team, forcing us to adjust the odds to balance our exposure.
This is also a factor in the East, with the Bruins at 5/2 to win the Cup and the Lightning at 7/2. True, Boston has home-ice advantage in the series so it should probably be a slight favorite, but both teams finished with 103 points in the regular season. When it’s an Original Six team going up against a relatively young franchise from the southern United States, it’s not hard to predict the larger fan base.
We’ve booked a ton of action on the NHL playoffs this year. The first round was particularly good, with four series going seven games and two others going six. The TV ratings have been great in both Canada and the United States, and when people are watching on TV, a lot of them are betting.
Granted, the second round was a little disappointing, with two surprising sweeps in the east; however, I’d be shocked if there were any sweeps in the conference finals.
The only thing I might complain about from a bookmaking perspective is the inclusion of two American teams, Tampa Bay and San Jose, that don’t have much cachet with casual bettors in the United States. With that in mind, a Stanley Cup final between the Bruins (to attract the most American bettors) and the Canucks (to book all the Canadian action) would probably be best for us.
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