Best bets to win the 2021 Stanley Cup
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Finding value on an oddsboard is a commonly misperceived exercise.
It means identifying the biggest discrepancies between the implied and actual chances of a bet winning in the listed market, rather than simply scrolling down the oddsboard and picking the best options at 40-1 or greater.
Here are the 2021 Stanley Cup odds, followed by the three teams I believe have the best chance to win the Cup relative to their implied odds.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+800|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+900|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1200|
|St. Louis Blues||+1800|
|New York Islanders||+2200|
|New York Rangers||+2800|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+3800|
|Los Angeles Kings||+7000|
|San Jose Sharks||+7000|
|New Jersey Devils||+8500|
|Detroit Red Wings||+25000|
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
Carolina Hurricanes (+2000)
A popular breakout pick last season, the Hurricanes never reached their full potential. Still, they were on pace for almost 100 points despite significant injuries on the back end and in goal.
Carolina ranked near the top of the league in almost every advanced metric while posting a below-average shooting percentage. Positive regression is coming, which is a scary prospect given the dynamic trio of Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen is only getting better, and Norris hopeful Dougie Hamilton is healthy again.
This team has very few holes. The Hurricanes boast impressive depth up front, have one of the league's best top lines, and possess a loaded blue line, which should help alleviate some of the unwarranted concerns in goal. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer form a league-average tandem capable of providing the stability needed in net for this star-studded roster to reach its lofty goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins (+2200)
Few teams on this oddsboard are more underappreciated than the Penguins. They have a championship pedigree, yet they're being discounted due to a pair of early playoff exits. While a Sharks-like demise is a looming inevitability, Pittsburgh still has at least another year as legitimate contenders.
Additionally, the concerns that have been raised about the defense are overblown. The top four is strong, and general manager Jim Rutherford can easily address the bottom pairing during the season.
Pittsburgh's goaltending situation will also be significantly improved with Tristan Jarry taking the reins. Matt Murray posted a -11.57 goals saved above average last season, the sixth-worst mark among goalies to appear in at least 30 games. Jarry's GSAA mark of 10.83 was 13th among all netminders, and he was excellent in his lone playoff start against the Canadiens.
The Penguins' +2200 odds imply just a 4.3% Cup chance. In reality, that number should be closer to 7% which would mean odds of +1300. There's significant value here.
Montreal Canadiens (+3500)
Advanced metrics had the Canadiens among the league's most impressive teams last season despite a plethora of injuries. At five-on-five, Montreal posted the second-best percentages of Corsi For, shots for, expected goals for, and scoring chances for, behind only the Golden Knights.
We saw what this team could do when healthy in the playoffs in front of a rested Carey Price. The Canadiens beat the Penguins in the play-in round before losing to the Flyers despite owning 62.2% of the expected goal share during the series at five-on-five. Montreal's brand of hockey is conducive to long-term success, and while the results haven't always followed, the talent is finally there for the Habs to make some noise.
Jake Allen's arrival means the Canadiens have a legitimate backup to help preserve Price, while rookie Alexander Romanov and former Cup winner Joel Edmundson solidify the back end. Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson will provide a much-needed injection of scoring up front, while a healthy Jonathan Drouin, coupled with the continued development of Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, provide Montreal with a much higher ceiling offensively.
In a wide-open North Division, the Canadiens' odds of reaching the conference finals sit a shade below 20%, drastically higher than they would be in the Atlantic. That presents a terrific hedge opportunity for those who buy in now, as +3200 - just 2.7% implied Cup odds - is a bad price for a strong Montreal team.
Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, strongly believes in the power of the jinx, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.