Really Early 2021 Stanley Cup Odds Expert Analysis

Really Early 2021 Stanley Cup Odds Expert Analysis

Written by on December 9, 2020

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association still haven’t finalized starting dates for the upcoming season, but it’s still fun to speculate which teams will host the Stanley Cup whenever the season does begin. Some sportsbooks, such as MyBookie, have already begun listing futures bets to win the 2021 Stanley Cup. Here, we’ll look at the favorites, contenders, dark horses, and underdogs to emerge as champions so you can start planning ahead your bets and place them against their Stanley Cup odds.

NHL Betting | Really Early Updated Stanley Cup Odds

The Favorites

  • Colorado Avalanche +550
  • Vegas Golden Knights +650
  • Tampa Bay Lightning +800

The Colorado Avalanche have set the bar for how to hit the reset button on a dysfunctional franchise. Just three years ago, the Avalanche posted a 22-56-4. Things looked dismal for the franchise. However, GM Joe Sakic has turned the Avs into a formidable contender in short order. He’s built around superstar center Nathan MacKinnon through trade acquisitions like Nazem Kadri, Brandon Saad, and Phillip Grubauer. Sakic has made it a point to draft excellent defenseman as well; Cale Makar and Samuel Girard are 22 years old but are both logging big minutes and will thrive in Colorado. The Avalanche roster, top to bottom, looks to be one of the most complete teams in the league, with depth at every position, and a little bit of cap room if they need a deadline acquisition to put them over the top.

The Vegas Golden Knights are another strong Cup contender, and many are already penciling in a showdown between Vegas and Colorado in the Western Conference Finals. As a team, Vegas plays an excellent defensive style that capitalizes on opponent miscues. Goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner make up arguably the NHL’s best goalie tandem. To bolster their defense, the Golden Knights brought in one of the best defensemen in the league, Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas’ center depth keeps them slightly behind Colorado as a favorite, but they will be a very tough team to eliminate from the playoffs.

Tampa Bay is the defending Stanley Cup champion and are the rightful favorites to win the Eastern Conference. Where Tampa runs into some trouble is their salary cap situation. Capfriendly.com lists the Lightning with $0 in salary cap room. The Lightning also haven’t re-signed Anthony Cirelli, one of the league’s elite two-way forwards. Captain Steven Stamkos is still recovering from offseason surgery to repair an abdominal core muscle; there is not a timetable for his return, but it would be surprising to see Stamkos on the opening day roster. However, Tampa Bay still has an elite talent group, including goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, center Brayden Point, and high-scoring winger Nikita Kucherov to build around.

The Contenders

  • Boston Bruins +1100
  • Toronto Maple Leafs +1200
  • Philadelphia Flyers + 1600
  • Pittsburgh Penguins +1700

The top-loaded Western Conference keeps the Contenders category limited to Eastern Conference teams, but that doesn’t make betting scenarios any easier. Boston and Toronto seem to meet in the playoffs on an almost annual basis. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh play in the same division as well, making the other’s route to the Cup that much tougher.

Boston’s Cup window is closing rapidly. They’ve often found themselves in the Contenders or Favorites categories since their 2011 Cup win, but most of their core is past the prime of their career. The defensive core takes a hit with the departure (for now) of Zdeno Chara, while centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are 35 and 34, respectively.

The Maple Leafs are in “Put Up or Shut Up” mode. Toronto has gone all-in on their young forward group, centered around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. Bringing in John Tavares in free agency two years ago was a big boost, but has yet to result in playoff success, and Leafs fans are getting impatient.

Philadelphia is a very intriguing pick on the betting odds list. Goaltender Carter Hart is 22 years old, but already looks to be among the league’s best netminders. The Flyers play a physical style which bodes well for playoff success, and the team took a big step forward in 2020, clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference in the playoff bubble and advancing to the second round before falling to the Islanders in seven games. The Flyers are trending in the right direction.

The Pittsburgh Penguins seem out of place in this group. An underwhelming performance from the defense and goaltending, in particular from defenseman Jack Johnson and goaltender Matt Murray, hampered the Penguins down the stretch. Pittsburgh parted ways with both this offseason, which should help, and with future Hall of Famers in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins always have a chance.

Dark Horses

  • Dallas Stars +1800
  • Washington Capitals +1800
  • Edmonton Oilers +1800
  • Vancouver Canucks +1800
  • St. Louis Blues +2000
  • New York Rangers +2000
  • Carolina Hurricanes +2000
  • Montreal Canadiens +2000

The Dallas Stars’ made somewhat of a Cinderella run to the Cup Final in 2020, with backup goaltender Anton Khudobin playing some of the best hockey of his career. While getting starter Ben Bishop healthy will provide a boost, the Stars rely too heavily on their defensemen to create offense and lack the scoring punch to put them in a higher category.

Washington signed free agent goaltender Henrik Lundqvist this offseason, with both hoping for a Cup run. Pairing him with Alex Ovechkin could propel the Caps back to the Cup Final, especially if winger Jakub Vrana continues to shine, and the team refocuses under new head coach Peter Laviolette.

Like the Penguins, the Oilers will live and die by the performance of the players around their superstar centers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can only carry the team so far. Goaltenders Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen don’t inspire much confidence, but the Oilers benefit from playing in a weaker division. The league needs McDavid to be a winner, and while the Oilers are close, they aren’t there quite yet.

Vancouver was another team making a free agent splash, bringing in goaltender Braden Holtby. It’s an interesting decision the seems like a bridge to buy a little more development time for Thatcher Demko. The Canucks have scoring potency in Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat. Defenseman Quinn Hughes plays with the poise of a 10-year veteran. But the road to the Cup will go through Vegas and Colorado. Can the Canucks keep up?

St. Louis will feel the sting after losing Pietrangelo via free agency. For a team that relies heavily on their defense to win games, things won’t get any easier. High-scoring winger Vladimir Tarasenko had shoulder surgery in October and won’t be reevaluated until late March. St. Louis should still make the playoffs again, but it may take another elite run from goaltender Jordan Binnington to return to the Cup final.

The New York Rangers hit draft lottery gold, both making the playoffs and still landing the #1 overall pick. They chose an elite playmaker in winger Alexis Lafreniere, who will add scoring depth behind Artemi Panarin. The Lundqvist era is over, meaning much will be expected of young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.

Carolina’s only knock on this list is their goaltending, but that’s a big enough mark against them to move them out of the “Contender” odds. That said, there’s great value in the Hurricanes at +2000. They have one of the best defensive cores in the league, especially if Dougie Hamilton is healthy. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen should continue to light the lamp. If they can acquire a goaltender at the deadline, or get excellent play from Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, there’s an excellent chance the Hurricanes make noise when the playoffs roll around.

Montreal made a splash this offseason moving Max Domi to Columbus for Josh Anderson. As has been the case for the last decade in Montreal, the Canadiens will go as far as Carey Price can carry them. Tyler Toffoli should provide some extra scoring punch and veteran leadership for youngsters Jonathan Drouin, Nick Suzuki, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

The Hopefuls

  • New York Islanders +2200
  • Calgary Flames +3000
  • Nashville Predators +3000
  • Winnipeg Jets +3000
  • Columbus Blue Jackets +3500
  • Florida Panthers +3800
  • Arizona Coyotes +4000
  • Buffalo Sabres +4600
  • New Jersey Devils +4700
  • San Jose Sharks +4700
  • Minnesota Wild +5000
  • Chicago Blackhawks +6000
  • Anaheim Ducks +6700
  • Los Angeles Kings +6500
  • Ottawa Senators +8100
  • Detroit Red Wings +11000

Teams in this category need a lot to go right to put their name on the Stanley Cup. The Islanders are the only team that feels out of place in this category, given their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020. Other than the Isles, betting on teams in this category is more about trying to make a small bet cash in for a big payday.


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