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Stanley Cup odds (As of Feb. 8)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 4.00
Calgary Flames: 9.00
San Jose Sharks: 10.00
Nashville Predators: 10.00
Toronto Maple Leafs: 10.00
Winnipeg Jets: 10.00
The end of the National Hockey League season is, believe it or not, only two months away. The stretch drive is on the horizon, and the Winnipeg Jets have made their way into top spot in the Central Division.
They are again part of the Stanley Cup conversation, particularly after making it to the Western Conference Final a year ago. They fell short of making it any further, eventually falling to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, the biggest surprise story, really, in all of sport last year.
As of Friday at PlayNow.com, the Jets had outright odds of 10.00 to win the Stanley Cup in 2019 – along with three other teams: The San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Betting Breakdown:
It should come as no surprise that the Jets are widely popular in Manitoba when it comes to this particular betting market. That would mirror the feelings of bettors in that province from a year ago, as the money-on-Winnipeg movement gained momentum throughout the course of last season.
The Jets had 28 games remaining on their regular season schedule as of Friday, with a one-point lead over Nashville for the division lead, with two games in hand. And right now in just the province of Manitoba alone, about 60 per cent of the money on the Stanley Cup outright market is on Winnipeg’s NHL team to win hockey’s holy grail in June.
Between Manitoba and British Columbia, almost 20 per cent of the money wagered on the Stanley Cup outright market is on the Jets, the highest percentage among the 31 clubs in the league. The Sharks, following the addition of Erik Karlsson to their roster last September, are second behind the Jets. About 15 per cent of money wagered is on the Sharks to win what would also be their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
The Sharks were, as of Friday, second in the Pacific Division, and two points back of the Calgary Flames. On Thursday, San Jose’s Stanley Cup outright odds were 16.00 at PlayNow.com. The following morning, those odds had jumped to 10.00.
As for the Jets, the window to win right now is open. After years of patience and building a nucleus of young players through solid drafting – and getting their first-round picks to develop into impact players still with room to grow – they emerged a year ago into a Western Conference contender.
This year, it is all about taking the next step.
It is one thing to say it. It’s another to accomplish it in today’s NHL. Even if you make it out of the Western Conference, the East has its own powers: The Tampa Bay Lightning (currently the Stanley Cup favourites), the Toronto Maple Leafs or the defending champion Washington Capitals to name a few.
With their ascension a year ago, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff decided it was time to shift to a more aggressive approach in the lead-up to the stretch drive. They acquired veteran centre Paul Stastny as a result, although he was eventually lost to free agency in July. It’s a price of doing business sometimes – picking up rental pieces to take a shot in the post-season.
Even with an already deep roster, it’s still a good bet – no pun intended – the Jets are going to be buyers once again at this year’s trade deadline, which is Feb. 25. Recent reports have linked the Jets to perhaps being in the market for some forward depth, particularly at centre, which is a position that is always a hot commodity for contending teams at this time of year.
The Jets are currently in the midst of a three-game road trip, with stops in Ottawa on Saturday and Buffalo the following afternoon. The trip didn’t start well at all, as the Jets dropped a 5-2 decision to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Jets have enjoyed quite a home ice advantage, with a 20-6-3 record at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. The Jets are 14-11-0 on the road.
While the Jets turn their attention to a pair of road games this weekend, the bigger question looming is how will this team look to improve at the trade deadline with a lengthy playoff run in mind.