It seems like a far-fetched, long shot of an NHL wager, but that’s what happened last season when the No. 8 Los Angeles Kings pulled upset after upset and won the title. The New Jersey Devils did the same in the East.
The Penguins open the Stanley Cup playoffs as 7-2 favorites to win the NHL championship.
“Pittsburgh is much deeper and, if their injury situation clears up, they will be much fresher with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby having missed considerable chunks of time,” said Jack Randall, a hockey handicapper at OddsShark.com.
“But their defense is leaky and their goaltending is not rock-solid, so it’s not like they are locks to win. Last season proved that, but they deserve to sit atop the Eastern Conference odds and the Stanley Cup odds menus,” said Randall.
Casual hockey fans who heard lots of hype around the Chicago Blackhawks may be surprised that they are not the top pick. Chicago is 15-4 at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com, but some experts are worried about their goaltending and the fact that they did not have a slump all season.
Boston is next, but well behind the top team at 17-2. Anaheim and Montreal are 12-1, with the defending champion Kings at 14-1.
The aforementioned Wild are only 22-1, and sportsbook managers may be nervous of a repeat of last season in setting their odds so low. On paper, the top-seeded Blackhawks should be able to handle Minnesota, but the Wild have underachieved in 2013.
Washington is 16-1 after looking like a non-playoff team for much of the season, but are they a good bet? Some experts like the goaltending and scoring depth possessed by the New York Rangers (18-1).
The latest Stanley Cup odds, courtesy of OddsShark.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins 7-2
Chicago Blackhawks 15-4
Boston Bruins 17-2
Anaheim Ducks 12-1
Montreal Canadiens 12-1
Los Angeles Kings 14-1
St. Louis Blues 14-1
Vancouver Canucks 14-1
San Jose Sharks 16-1
Washington Capitals 16-1
New York Rangers 18-1
Toronto Maple Leafs 20-1
Minnesota Wild 22-1
Detroit Red Wings 28-1
Ottawa Senators 28-1
New York Islanders 40-1