NHL Odds: Canucks Still Stanley Cup Favorites
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 4/29/2011
They didn’t make it easy on themselves, but the Vancouver Canucks escaped the first round of the NHL playoffs on Tuesday. And when I say escape, I mean escape. By the skin of their teeth. After watching a 3-0 series lead over the defending champion Blackhawks melt away in front of their eyes, Alex Burrows scored in overtime of Game 7 at Rogers Arena to prevent what would’ve been one of the most famous chokes in sports history.
I’m not sure who breathed a heavier sigh of relief when Burrows’ shot got past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford – the good people of Vancouver, or all those Bodog bettors who had money on the Canucks’ odds to win the Stanley Cup.
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Despite their struggles against the Blackhawks, we’ve still got the Canucks as favorites (11/4) to win it all, followed by the Washington Capitals (4/1), San Jose Sharks (5/1), Detroit Red Wings (11/2), Boston Bruins (8/1), Philadelphia Flyers (8/1), Tampa Bay Lightning (12/1) and Nashville Predators (14/1).
The Canucks kick off the second round on Thursday at home to Nashville. On paper, this one’s a mismatch. While Vancouver boasts the likes of Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo – four household names in the hockey world – the Predators have just one legitimate superstar, defenseman Shea Weber. Of course, the Preds also have Mike Fisher, aka the husband of Carrie Underwood. This has nothing to do with hockey. Just thought I’d mention it.
While Vancouver has the undeniable talent advantage, the Preds are a team in the truest sense. They share the scoring load and work their butts off. From a book-making perspective, I expect most of the betting support to be for the Canucks, and I don’t have a problem with that. I think this series could go six or seven games, with an outright upset not out of the question.
The other second-round matchup that I’m sure will be popular with our bettors pits the Bruins against the Flyers in a rematch of last year’s series that saw Boston blow a three-games-to-none lead as Philly rattled off four straight victories to reach the conference finals.
The B’s and Flyers get things started on Saturday afternoon in Philly in a Game 1 that will be televised nationally on NBC. The TV ratings for hockey on NBC have been very impressive so far in these playoffs, and that’s been great for us from an NHL betting standpoint.
The two other second-round series have the Capitals taking on the Lightning and the Sharks meeting the Red Wings.
The most likely Stanley Cup final matchup, according to Bodog odds makers, has the Caps battling the Canucks (9/2), while the least likely has the Lightning tackling the Preds (42/1).
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