NHL Stanley Cup Futures Update with Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 4/6/2012
There are just two days left in the NHL regular season, and while there are still a few missing pieces for the actual first-round matchups, we already know which 16 teams will have the opportunity to hoist this year’s Stanley Cup as the 2012 champions.
The following is a brief look at a few teams from each conference that offer the best value in their current futures odds to win it all this year. All odds quoted are provided courtesy of WagerWeb.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the current odds-on-favorite to win this year’s Stanley Cup at +300, but the real value in the odds for the favorites lies with the New York Rangers at +550. The Rangers have clearly been the best team in the East all season long and one of the top defensive teams in the NHL. New York is ranked third in the NHL is goals allowed with a goals-against-average of 2.20 behind goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
The Vancouver Canucks come into this tournament as +500 favorites to win the Cup, and given last year’s devastating seventh-game loss in the Finals to Boston, they will have a huge chip on their shoulder that should carry this team at least that far this season. The only concern could be the status of Daniel Sedin, who suffered a concussion in late March. However, they hope to have him back sometime during the first or second round. In his absence, center Max Lapierre has been able to fill the void with three goals and two assists in his last three games.
The Boston Bruins have been opened at +800 to successfully defend their title and they enter this year’s playoffs as the second-seed in the East. The Bruins remain one of the best balanced teams in the league with a goals-per-game average of 3.17 and a goals-against-average of 2.42. They also have one of the best one-two goalie combinations in the NHL with Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask.
The St. Louis Blues are stumbling into the postseason with just two wins in their last seven games, but they have still been one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the second half of the season. They still have a shot at clinching the top spot in the West if they win their final two games. The real value in their +750 odds to win it all lies in goalie Brian Elliot. He has the lowest goals-against-average in the NHL at 1.49 and a .943 save percentage.
The Atlantic Division was dominated this season by New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, but the New Jersey Devils have quietly made their mark with 100 points heading into their final game. Since early March, they have won 12 of 18 games and bring a five-game winning streak into their regular season finale against Ottawa. If the Devils’ ageless goalie Martin Brodeur can find the magic one more time in what has been a Hall of Fame career, there is some tremendous value in New Jersey’s +2200 odds.
Another team that has been flying under the radar for much of the season has been the Nashville Predators. You do not often think of them when listing the power teams in the conference, but the Predators enter the postseason as the fourth-highest scoring team in the conference with a goals-per-game average of 2.79. They also have a solid goaltender in Pekka Rinne, who has been known to get streaky-hot in the past. this adds even more value to Nashville’s +1200 odds.
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