2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Stanley Cup Odds: NHL Playoffs Betting List Topped by Penguins, Blackhawks

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 27:  James Neal #18 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his second goal of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 27, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Hurricanes 8-3.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2013

If the 2013 NHL playoffs follow the upset-filled 2012 Stanley Cup script, the eighth-seeded Minnesota Wild will face the No. 6-ranked New York Rangers in the Cup final.

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.

And the same team is favored to win it all in 2013, although the Pittsburgh Penguins are a much different team than a year ago when they were upset in the first round by the Flyers.

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.

The New York Islanders are the biggest long shot at 40-1. They face the Penguins in the opening round and have lost four straight to the Pens this season.

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

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