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Thread: Best value bets for the 2018 Stanley Cup

  1. #1 Best value bets for the 2018 Stanley Cup 
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    Best value bets for the 2018 Stanley Cup
    Ben Arledge

    Beyond the excitement of Patric Hornqvist's third-period Stanley Cup clincher in Game 6, lifting the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Nashville Predators for their second straight title, hockey fans are now faced with the reality that a long, hockey-less summer awaits them.

    However, it's never too early to look ahead to next season, especially if you want to seize value on future Stanley Cup bets.

    We are nearly a full year in advance of another team hoisting the Stanley Cup, so today is no time for betting the favorites. Wait on those for a later time, when the playoff picture is much clearer. You won't lose much on value.

    On the other hand, now is a terrific time to place early value bets. Here's a look at five teams to consider during these summer months:

    Note: All odds are courtesy the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

    Edmonton Oilers
    Odds: 10-1
    2016-17 result: Lost in second round

    As a rule, I typically ignore teams with odds of 10-1 or better this early. Having said that, the Oilers might be worth tabbing at 10-1 right now. After a decade of missing the postseason, Edmonton came within a game of the Western Conference Final. Five players hit the 20-goal mark, including Connor McDavid and his league-leading 100 points. In net, Cam Talbot showed that he can more than adequately handle starting duties, posting a 2.39 goals-against average. Most of the key pieces are locked up at least another year, but Oilers brass will have to resign restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl and address the potential loss of Kris Russell and Eric Gryba on the point; of course, they'll have about $19 million in cap space to do so. However, this team has the talent to make a serious run next season, and build on this year's second-round exit.

    Chicago Blackhawks
    Odds: 12-1
    2016-17 result: Lost in first round

    Yes, they were swept in the opening round, but let's not forget who we are talking about here. The résumé, for those of you who are new here: First place in the West, 109 standings points, six 20-goal scorers, four defensemen with a positive double-digit plus/minus, and three Cups in the past eight years. Corey Crawford slipped up a bit in goal this season, at least by his standards, and the core is aging a bit (at 29.4, the Blackhawks had the second-highest average age last season), but there isn't much to be concerned about on this roster. GM Stan Bowman has done a nice job of securing his assets. He will have to navigate some salary cap concerns in the offseason, but the core should remain mostly intact. At 12-1, they are a very strong bet. Do not make the mistake of thinking this team is anywhere near done.

    Dallas Stars
    Odds: 14-1
    2016-17 result: No playoffs

    After focusing their roster on outscoring everyone every night, and ultimately washing out of the playoffs two years ago, the Stars plummeted to sixth in the Central Division and just 79 points this past season. However, the acquisition of Ben Bishop cannot be overstated; the need for a goaltending upgrade in Big D was imperative. Moreover, Ken Hitchcock is back in town, along with his attention to detail on the defensive side of things. The roster could use a few more shrewd moves, but free agency won't rob the current lineup too heavily aside from veterans Patrick Sharp and Ales Hemsky. If the offense can find a middle ground between the 2.71 goals per game that they averaged this season and the 3.23 of the season prior, the Stars could be back in the mix of top contenders with Bishop in goal. Those 14-1 odds aren't too shabby.

    Columbus Blue Jackets
    Odds: 20-1
    2016-17 result: Lost in first round

    Despite finishing with the fourth best record in the NHL this past season, the Jackets were forced to play the eventual Cup winners in the opening round and came up short. Pay that no heed. This team is very, very good, and isn't going anywhere. Cam Atkinson officially arrived on the scene with 35 goals, but 11 other Blue Jackets also scored in double digits. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski headline an extremely good defensive group, and Sergei Bobrovsky is in the Vezina Trophy conversation. Centers Alexander Wennberg and Sam Gagner are pending free agents, but Columbus should be in good shape come next season, with 2016 No. 3 overall overall pick Pierre-Luc Dubois on the way. The current 20-1 odds are probably the best you will see attached to this team.

    Carolina Hurricanes
    Odds: 60-1
    2016-17 result: No playoffs

    Let's say this up front: The Hurricanes are a long shot. After all, they did finish seventh in the Metropolitan Division and had the sixth youngest roster in 2016-17. They still deserve a look. Jeff Skinner notched 37 goals, while 19-year-old Sebastian Aho scored 19 for the Canes. The defense is stacked with young talent, and the acquisition and signing of Scott Darling provides goaltending stability. Teuvo Teravainen and Brock McGinn are restricted free agents, and Carolina will have to evaluate unrestricted free agents Derek Ryan and Jay McClement, but the roster is in the playoff mix. Notably, the Canes have three second-round picks, some of which could be used to land another NHL-ready player. Of the 60-1 or worse teams, the Hurricanes are probably the closest to contention.
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  2. #2  
    RX Junior
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    Mar 2013
    Great value on Carolina imo... Great young D, plus goaltending has been awful for 3-4 years... Darling should be an upgrade!
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