Stanley Cup 2021: Favorites and Their Odds to Win it All
- The NHL is down to its final four – Tampa Bay, Vegas, Montreal and New York
- The COVID-19 border closure was lifted for this year’s conference final and we’re now back to regular looking hockey in the United States and Canada
- Let’s take a closer look at who are the best bets, underdogs and long shots
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To say the 2019-20 NHL season was different than the rest would be the biggest understatement in league history. All professional sports were at the mercy of COVID-19 at some point or another and the NHL was no exception. After a halt in the season due to lockdowns, the NHL managed to complete its (shortened) season and eventually crowned a Stanley Cup champion.
Now heading into the 2021 playoffs, following a shortened 56-game regular season, we find ourselves in the conference finals with two favorites and two unlikely combatants.
Even with the fewer games and less travel this regular season, this postseason has given us all the storylines we’ve come to expect from the NHL.
We’ve had major highs, supreme lows, and some improbable highlights. Add it all up and you’ve got four solid Futures bets at your fingertips. Let’s take a closer look at who stands out and why.
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NHL Championship Winner 2021 Odds
Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, updated on June 23, 2021. Click on ‘Bet Now’ below to head to the sportsbook and place a bet.
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|Tampa Bay Lightning||-560 |
|Montreal Canadiens||+430 |
Breaking Down the Final Four NHL Teams With the Best Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning
Last season record: 43-21-6
Leading scorer: Brayden Point – 48 points
The reigning Stanley Cup champions are the best seated to do it again in 2021.
In these playoffs, they’ve looked like top dogs and have brought the business every single night. They’ve had convincing wins, great goaltending performances, and some solid output from all four lines.
This team truly has it all offensively three rounds in.
The biggest weakness facing the Bolts thus far has been their defense. Andrei Vasilevskiy can generally be trusted between the pipes, but the blue line has shown a couple of cracks as of late.
All season, they struggled killing penalties, finishing 13th-worst in PPG-against and they also allowed the 10th-highest total of short-handed goals against.
In the playoffs, their back end has played as well as it’s needed to, but have also surrendered too many three or four-plus goal games.
Thankfully for the Bolts, though, their offense has plugged the leaks and made up for their inconsistencies.
With all that said, if you’re a bettor and like the low-risk/smart money plays, Tampa Bay has your name written all over it.
However, if you’re more into volatility in the market and enjoy a better payout, you may not want to put your trust in the blue and white.
The secret (that was never a secret) is out on T-Bay and their odds and payouts are pretty weak now all things considered.
Vegas Golden Knights
Regular-season record: 36-17-3
Leading scorer: Mark Stone – 61 points
Is it already safe to say that the Vegas Golden Knights are the most successful team in the NHL?
They made the Stanley Cup finals in their first year in the league. They made the playoffs the next year but were eliminated in the first round – not without controversy. They then made the conference finals last year.
This team boasts an incredible offensive lineup. They have a great mix of youth and experience. Players like Max Pacioretty lead the way for the likes of William Karlsson, Mark Stone, and Jonathan Marchessault. Now, with all that said, their biggest strength throughout the season has been their biggest weakness in the playoffs.
Far too many times have their top dogs (names listed above) not shown up in key moments.
It’s what has really hurt them against Montreal in the conference final and should they move on, it’s something that could destroy them in the Cup final.
Their main guys need to have a much better offensive showing and a few assists here and there aren’t going to cut it. With all of that said, they do have more star firepower upfront than any other team still standing – if they show up.
The other big Vegas question mark right now is in their crease. Ever since head coach Peter DeBoer joined the club one year ago, they’ve gone back and forth between tenders. In fact, it’s really been ever since Robin Lehner joined the club that there has been a controversy in the crease. Last year it was Lehner starting and then back to Marc-Andre Fleury in the postseason. Now, it’s Fleury to Lehner as the backup came in to help Vegas tie the series with Montreal in game four.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a great option for bettors based on their offensive and goaltending depth. Not to mention, Shea Theodore has been nothing short of fantastic in these playoffs on their back end.
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Regular season record: 24-21-11
Leading scorer: Tyler Taffoli – 44 points
The Montreal Canadiens are the Cinderella story of this year’s playoffs.
They’ve truly defied the odds game in and game out because they’ve been underdogs the entire way through.
After taking game one against the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one, they fell behind quickly and were counted out immediately.
They rattled off three straight wins to take the series in seven. They then swept the Winnipeg Jets and have posted back-to-back wins against Vegas. Their odds are still pretty tantalizing and they could still continue to surprise moving forward.
The downfall of the Habs throughout the regular season and playoffs has been their lack of firepower.
Much like the Golden Knights, some of their stars have pulled the vanishing act when it’s mattered most. Through four games in this year’s conference final, Brendan Gallagher has posted 11-shots and zero points. If the Habs want to move on, this issue needs to be remedied in a hurry.
What Montreal has going for them this year (and every year) is Carey Price has played like the star he is.
He is currently sporting a 2.09 GAA and a .931 save percentage. On any other team, that’s a winning combination. The problem for Montreal is that the team is only averaging 2.40 goals per game in these playoffs, so if Price lets in two or more, they’re in big trouble.
The Habs are a fun bet given their odds and their knack for comebacks, but they’re also a risky one given their lack of offensive numbers.
New York Islanders
Regular-season record: 32-17-7
Leading scorer: Mathew Barzal – 45 points
The New York Islanders are a great story based on their history, the improbable makeup of this team, and their fans.
Their return to the Nassau Coliseum this year and their solid playoff run thus far has been thrilling for everyone watching from outside the state of New York.
The atmosphere in that building has been electric and how they’ve been able to shut down some of the league’s biggest stars given their makeup of a “homegrown” team has been very well received.
The problem for New York is that they’re consistently inconsistent.
While everyone loves to see their blue-collar guys excelling and coach Barry Trotz – arguably most people’s favorite bench boss in the league – helping yet another organization succeed, the soap opera just doesn’t really have legs.
Semyon Varlamov has been questioned too many times between their pipes. This team has not done a great job of closing out games and their lack of offensive firepower is really starting to hurt them.
While they’re the best-paying team in the Futures and one of the more fun teams to jump on right now, they’re the riskiest wager for a reason.
They’ll make you love them one night and make you question everything the next. For us at WSN, if this year’s final four came down to best jerseys, we’d probably have the Islanders listed as favorites.
Seeing how their odds are related to everything but that though, you may be in for some heartbreak when it’s all said and done. However, with that said, with high risk could come high reward and the Isles could pay off nicely – if you’re willing to roll the dice.
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Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.