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Stanley Cup odds (As of jan. 23)
Tampa Bay Lightning: 4.00
Calgary Flames: 8.00
Nashville Predators: 10.00
Toronto Maple Leafs: 10.00
Winnipeg Jets: 10.00
Washington Capitals: 13.00
The National Hockey League is on its All-Star break, with three Canadian clubs among the top five teams with the best odds to win the Stanley Cup.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have long been on that list – in fact, they were the outright favourites just over a month ago, even while the Tampa Bay Lightning were pulling ahead in both the Atlantic Division and NHL’s overall standings. For about a month now, the Maple Leafs have really been struggling.
They’re 5-7-0 in their last 12 games, from Dec. 25 to Jan. 25. There are 23 other teams with better records than Toronto in that span, and their Stanley Cup betting odds have shifted as a result.
The hottest team in the league right now is the Calgary Flames – see what we did there? – with 11 wins in their last 14 games heading into the break. Their recent stretch has vaulted them into second in the league’s overall standings and led to them now having the second best betting odds for the Stanley Cup outright market.
Again, the Lightning lead the way in that perspective. The Bolts are five points ahead of Calgary going into the break and have lost only 10 times in regulation all season. Tampa Bay also has two games in hand on the Flames.
The turnaround in Calgary is impressive. They were mediocre last year with 37 wins and 84 points, which put them 20th in the overall standings. That led to a coaching change, as Glen Gulutzan was let go soon after the regular season ended. It would’ve been difficult to envision them taking such a significant leap forward the following season, especially into a team that could over the next couple of months challenge for the Presidents’ Trophy – or maybe even the Stanley Cup in June.
As is the case every year, plenty has to fall into place for any team looking to challenge for the ultimate prize. The Flames are no different. But their winning ways have had an impact on their outright odds throughout the year.
In late October, the Flames had odds of 26.00 at PlayNow.com to win the Stanley Cup. With Bill Peters behind the bench for his first season in Calgary, the Flames were 5-4 through the first nine games of the season, which is a nice start but it’s usually qualified with, “Yeah, but it’s early.” With all their success moving up the standings, their odds have jumped all the way to 8.00 at PlayNow.com.
Maybe some Canucks fans won’t want to hear that. But the Flames have continued to win. They have the second best total goals for in the NHL – again, behind only Tampa Bay – and they’re in the top 10 in the league when it comes to fewest goals allowed. However, only 2.65 per cent of the money wagered on the Stanley Cup market to this point in the season is on the Flames to win.
On the other hand, another Canadian team, the Winnipeg Jets, is once again taking flight with the bettors. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
At the peak of their playoff run last year, bettors in Manitoba were going big with the Jets. By the time the third round started last May, about 74 per cent of money was on the Jets to win it all. In B.C., that amount was 21 per cent by the beginning of the conference finals.
The Jets haven’t experienced much in the way of fluctuation with their Stanley Cup outright odds this season. They had odds of 12.00 when the market opened in June of last year, and their odds are currently 10.00 at PlayNow.com.
The highest those odds have climbed is 16.00 at the end of November.
The Jets went into the All-Star break on a losing note and they don’t play again until Jan. 28. They’re tied in points with the Nashville Predators for the Central Division lead, but have one more win than Nashville does, and four games still in hand.
A Western Conference finalist a year ago, the Jets should be in contention for the conference title again this spring. Right now about 19.9 per cent of money wagered on the Stanley Cup market is on Winnipeg.