Stanley Cup outright odds (As of April 12)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 2.95
Calgary Flames: 9.00
Boston Bruins: 10.00
San Jose Sharks: 11.00
Washington Capitals: 13.00
Winnipeg Jets: 13.00
Throughout much of the National Hockey League’s regular season, the Winnipeg Jets remained in the conversation among the Stanley Cup favourites when it came to the betting odds.
The Tampa Bay Lightning took over as the clear favourites with an absolutely ridiculous season in which they lost only 16 times in regulation over 82 games.
But looking to build off a Western Conference Final appearance a year ago, the Jets were typically in the range of 8.50 to 10.00 outright odds for a good stretch of this season, which was right among a number of other potential contenders.
A lackluster ending to the regular season, however, combined with an astonishing run from the St. Louis Blues to get into the playoffs has placed the Jets in the underdog position as these two aforementioned clubs meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Further to that, the Jets’ outright odds to win the Stanley Cup have shifted down to 13.00 at PlayNow.com as of Friday.
As of Friday, following the Jets’ Game 1 loss to St. Louis, Winnipeg’s odds to win the series stood at 2.85 at PlayNow.com. They began the series as the underdog even after salvaging home ice advantage in the opening round.
The bettors, however, were still bullish on the Jets to advance, despite their struggles in the second half of the season, going 22-18-3 since the beginning of January. On the flipside, the Blues were tied for dead last in the NHL’s overall standings (with the lowly Ottawa Senators) at the end of December. From the start of January to the end of the regular season on April 7, the Blues had the best record in the NHL – one point better than the Lightning.
Prior to puck-drop for Game 1 between the Jets and Blues, about 90 per cent of the money wagered was on Winnipeg to win the series and advance.
On Wednesday, the Jets took the lead in the first period on a goal from Patrik Laine – only his second goal in the last 20 games – but couldn’t hang on in the third period as the Blues scored a 2-1 road win. Jordan Binnington, the Blues rookie netminder who was called up midway through the season and proceeded to maneuver his way into the Calder Trophy conversation, was impressive in the series opener.
Binnington shut the door the rest of the way following the Laine goal, and made a tremendous right-pad save on Mark Scheifele in the dying seconds of regulation to preserve the win for St. Louis.
The series will shift back to St. Louis after Game 2 on Friday. Winnipeg began Game 2 as the Money Line favourites to win, with odds of 1.80.
The Blues were 15-4 on home ice from the beginning of January to the end of the regular season. Only four teams had a better point total at home in that same span.
While the Jets find themselves as underdogs, the odds for another Canadian team have experienced a significant shift over the course of the season.
The Maple Leafs were the Stanley Cup outright favourites in the middle of December with odds of 5.20 to win it all. Fast forward a few months and Toronto began the playoffs well down the board with outright odds of 20.00 at PlayNow.com, as of Thursday morning.
From Jan. 1 to April 7, the Maple Leafs had a record of 20-17-6. That’s underwhelming for a team as hyped as they were. That put them 18th in the league in that span. They also allowed the 10th most goals-against in that. Not necessarily the kind of numbers that inspire confidence, especially as they go up against the Boston Bruins in the first round.
Toronto’s odds to win its series with Boston were 2.20 at PlayNow.com prior to puck-drop in Game 1. Those odds shifted to 1.52 on Friday morning, as the Maple Leafs grabbed an early series lead with a road win in Boston.