Best 2016 Stanley Cup Sleepers and Longshots to Follow
The NHL All-Star game is behind us, and as the second half of the 2015-16 NHL season begins, oddsmakers are adjusting their NHL betting futures prices for the 2016 Stanley Cup. Here, we take an updated look at the best sleepers you should consider in the 2016 Stanley Cup online sportsbook futures odds board.
— NHL (@NHL) February 2, 2016
Best Sleeper Picks to Win 2016 Stanley Cup
Tampa Bay Lightning (+1400)
Besides owning the stellar reputation and pedigree of coming oh-so close to hoisting the Stanley Cup last season, the Bolts own the deepest roster than anyone in the conference, something that is likely to sustain their push for the NHL Gold this year. I mean, Valtteri Filppula is the master of centering the third line; the defensive front is led by a talent-laden duo of Ben Bishop and backup Andrei Vasilevskiy—who could actually start for many teams in the NHL—manning the pipes; and star right wing Nikita Kucherov (team-high 21 goals and team-best 43 points) leads a humming offense that averaged averaging 3.0 goals per game in January after posting just 2.6 goals per game through December. And as far as winning is concerned, the Bolts have been striking hot, boasting of 9 wins through January and entering Wednesday’s games with an NHL- best 9-1-0 mark in their last 10 games. For a price of just +1400 in the Stanley Cup Odds right now, there is no doubt the Lightning—the defending Eastern Conference Champs—are the most under-priced team, which means tons of value for you if you can pick them ASAP.
Florida Panthers (+1600)
The Panthers are slowly but surely making a name for themselves in the Eastern Conference, where they are proving quite a handful to just about anyone. Entering Wednesday, the Cats have the best record in the Atlantic (30-15-5) and are coming off a statement 5-2 win in Washington over the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals. Key to Florida’s success so far is the stellar services of four-time All Star G Robert Luongo (.930 SV%), who’s been a best between the pipes this season, along with a surging NHL-best defense that is allowing a little over 2 goals per game. Meanwhile, the works of GM Dale Tallon in the team, particularly in assembling young talented players in the offense is also starting to pay off, especially in the offense. For example, in their last four contests (including the game against Washington), the Panthers have scored a whopping 19 goals (averaging at 4.75 goals per game). If Tallon’s crew can make a couple of low-wattage moves during the trade period, they should not only be able to avenge narrowly missing the playoffs last year, but they should strongly challenge the Eastern to-creamers like the Caps, Islanders and Rangers in the NHL playoffs for a chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
Anaheim Ducks (+1600)
After picking 16 wins in their last 21 games, it goes without saying that the Chicago Blackhawks, the reigning Stanley Cup holders, led by the star-studded cast of W Patrick Kane, C Jonathan Toews and D Duncan Kieth, looks rightfully primed to make it four Stanley Cups in the last eight seasons. After all, the LA Kings and the Dallas Stars have looked shaky, so it’s hard to trust them to give the Blackhawks a good challenge. That, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it opens an opportunity for the surging Anaheim Ducks to make something out of the lack of serious contenders in the West. Yes, the Ducks started the season quite terribly (winning just 1 of their first 10 games), and playing in one of the toughest divisions hasn’t made life any easier for them. Despite all that, the Ducks (23-18-7, 3rd in Pacific Division) sit just 3 points behind San Jose in the Pacific, and looking at the way things are going in the Division, the Ducks certainly have a legitimate chance to overtake the Sharks and possibly give the Kings a run for their money. And if there’s one thing history has taught us about this Anaheim team, it is that they are very good at finishing the season strongly. Case-and-point, since Coach Bruce Boudreau’s first full season with Anaheim in 2012, the Ducks are just 41-38 in October and November, but impressively 137-79 from December through to the postseason. Plus, like the Bolts, the Ducks are deeply talented and hungry to make a run for the Nation’s Prestigious Cup, and after narrowly missing out on beating the Blackhawks last year for the Western title, you’d be a fool to doubt their potential of making another deep run in the postseason. And with the trio of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler starting to bang in goals regularly, and the net-minding competition between John Gibson and Frederik Andersen bringing the best out of Anaheim’s defense; I’ll confidently say that the Ducks are the best sleeper team to watch in the West.
Best Long Shot Odds to Win 2016 Stanley Cup
Boston Bruins (+2500)
Have in impressive winning résumé of 26-18-6 (3rd in Atlantic Division) and slowly picking up momentum in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The Bruins are also decently ranked 3rd overall in the NHL in goals per game (2.9), 2nd in power play percentage (25.2) and 4th in penalty kill percentage (84.1). If they can improve on their leaky 20th-ranked defense (allowing 2.7 goals per game); they’d be able to sneak into the playoffs and make an interesting longshot pick in the 2016 Stanley Cup Futures odds.
San Jose Sharks (+2500)
The Sharks are on a tear right now, owning a 26-19-4 record (2nd in the Pacific). Thanks to their 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games, they’ve closed the gap on the Kings in the Pacific and are well-placed in the Western Conference standings. A couple of solid trades and a strong run in the second half of the season could easily see them challenge the hotshots of the West if they so happen to reach the NHL playoffs.