The NHL season starts up on Saturday night after a very long delay due to the lockout. Many outlets have released their Stanley Cup odds for the 2013 season. Currently the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings are the favorites in each conference to win the championship trophy, but are they the best value?
Many bettors know that playing the favorite often does not provide value for your wager and that holds true with Stanley Cup futures. What you are looking for with this type of bet is to find teams that have odds higher now than when the playoffs start. Thus, if you have a team that is 20:1 right now and when the playoffs start they are down to 10:1, you have significant value. Here are a few teams that I think provide good value right now (all odds are from bet365).
1) St. Louis Blues (14:1) – The Blues finished second in the Western Conference last year and lost in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup champion LA Kings. The Blues were a young team last year and hopefully they used the playoff disappointment as a learning experience. They are currently the fourth ranked team in the Western Conference according to the odds makers and it would not surprise me at all if they are the number one seed in the West heading into the playoffs.
2) Washington Capitals (22:1) – The Florida Panthers were extremely lucky last year winning the Southeast Division. They had 18 points from shoot out and over time losses and they were the only team to have a negative goal differential to make the playoffs. If the Capitals can win their division they are guaranteed at least a top three seed in the East for the playoffs. They added Mike Ribiero in the off-season which should solidify them down the middle. The question remains whether their goaltending can be as good as it was in last years playoffs.
3) Buffalo Sabres (28:1) – As a Maple Leafs fan I hate to admit this, but I like the make up of the Sabres roster. They will need breakout seasons from a few players like Tyler Myers, Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson if they want to be cup contenders, but the addition of Steve Ott should make this team tougher to play against. A better season from goaltender Ryan Miller will also help this team get back to the playoffs. At 28:1 I think there is some value with them.
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