NHL Predictions: Western Conference Championship Odds
by George Monroy - 9/11/2013
The Chicago Blackhawks are set to raise another banner—their second in four years, to be exact—when the 2013-14 NHL season begins in October. The end of the year may belong to the NFL and NCAA football, but there is still room for bettors to make a profit wagering on hockey. The new NHL season will feature realignment as the number of divisions will be reduced from six to four, while three teams will switch conferences as well. The changes may mix up the league in an exciting way and be an excellent opportunity for gamblers to have a profitable year betting the sport.
The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will be making the switch from the Western Conference to the East, while the Winnipeg Jets will move from the East to the West. The move may just shake up both conferences since the Red Wings are perennial contenders that have made three Stanley Cup Finals appearances in the last 11 seasons while winning the championship twice. Let’s begin to prepare for the upcoming NHL season by having a closer look at the Western Conference Championship odds.
Chicago Blackhawks: +250
St Louis Blues: +450
Los Angeles Kings: +500
Vancouver Canucks: +600
San Jose Sharks: +800
Thoughts: the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup title twice in the last four years, and they are again the favorite to make it through the Western Conference. Chicago will be returning essentially the same roster as last year, but the unfortunate news for the team is that there has not been a repeat champion in the NHL in more than 14 years. The last time a team repeated as champions was in 1997 and 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back titles.
The St Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks are the others teams that are expected to be the major contenders in the Western Conference. It’s difficult to pick the Blackhawks to make the finals again this year, especially after they had so much trouble against Detroit in the playoffs. The most value here is probably on the other four teams with the Top-5 odds.
Anaheim Ducks: +1000
Edmonton Oilers: +1500
Minnesota Wild: +2000
Winnipeg Jets: +2000
Thoughts: Hockey is one of those sports where half the battle is simply making the playoffs, and from there, anything can happen. Once a team enters the postseason, a Cinderella-type run is always within reason. The middle-of-the-pack teams in the Western Conference are all receiving attractive odds at +1000 to +2000. The Ducks and Oilers may be sleeper teams that could cause some damage once the playoffs start.
Nashville Predators: +2500
Dallas Stars: +2500
Colorado Avalanche: +2500
Phoenix Coyotes: +3000
Calgary Flames: +5000
Thoughts: There is some value in wagering on the longshots in hockey. All the team really needs to do is make the playoffs, where there is a precedent for longshot teams make deep runs. However, the trouble for the bottom-of-the-barrel teams in the West is that making the playoffs might be a problem. Wagering on these teams probably only has value for the hardcore fans who might want to sweat throughout the season.
Read more articles by George Monroy