- A three-way race for the top of the Stanley Cup odds continues as the 2021 NHL season gets underway
- The Colorado Avalanche lead the way, closely trailed by the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights
- We’ve got you covered with all the Stanley Cup odds, as well as tips on where to look for the best betting value
With the puck set to drop on the 2021 NHL season on Wednesday, it remains a narrow three-way race for the top of the Stanley Cup odds. The Colorado Avalanche continue to lead the way as +650 favorites, just ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at +750, while the Vegas Golden Knights round out the front of the pack at +800.
Here’s a look at which of these three favorites hold the edge in the pursuit for Lord Stanley’s Mug, as well as where to find the betting value further down the NHL futures.
Odds to Win Stanley Cup
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+750|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1100|
|St. Louis Blues||+2000|
|New York Islanders||+3000|
|New York Rangers||+3000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+4000|
|New Jersey Devils||+5500|
|San Jose Sharks||+6500|
|Los Angeles Kings||+8500|
|Detroit Red Wings||+30000|
Odds taken Jan. 13 at DraftKings
Avs Have Lots to Prove
The Avalanche have a lot to prove after making a surprising early exit from last summer’s playoff bubble. Winners in 17 of their final 24 regular-season contests, the Avs failed to regain that momentum after last season’s unscheduled five-month layoff and struggled to keep pace with Dallas in a seven-game series loss to the hard-hitting Stars in the second round.
Joel Kiviranta scores his hat trick goal for the Game 7 OT winner! 🚨🚨🚨
Best playoff debut in NHL history? 😳
Stars eliminate the Avalanche. 💫
DAL (+105) ✅,
DAL series (+160) ✅#GoStars #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/I7vFwgEO99
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) September 4, 2020
The team opens the season in much better health than they ended it after dealing with a slew of late-season injuries and joins Toronto with the strongest odds to make the playoffs at -835. However, the biggest obstacle to Colorado’s bid to end a 20-year Stanley Cup drought will be advancing out of the realigned West Division come playoff time.
Road to Final Four Goes Thru Vegas
The Avalanche are joined in the West by the Golden Knights and can expect to see the road to this season’s NHL final four go through Vegas. Colorado has enjoyed steady success against Vegas, posting wins in four of their past meetings.
The Honda West Division is going to be fun to watch this season. #NHLFaceoff 1. St.Louis Blues, 2. Las Vegas Golden Knights 3. San Jose Sharks 4. Colorado Avalanche 5. Minnesota Wild 6. Arizona Coyotes 7. Los Angeles Kings 8. Anaheim Ducks 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍 pic.twitter.com/UWMPZcq1j2
— ♑Capricorn♑ (@kendell_m) January 9, 2021
But regardless of which of these two teams potentially advances out of the West Division playoffs, they will be forced to battle another division winner to claim a Stanley Cup Final berth.
Lightning Benefit from Realignment
The road to the final four is far more favorable for the Lightning, who will call the Central Division home this season. While all but one of Tampa Bay’s divisional rivals qualified for the playoff bubble last summer, just two sport odds clearly favoring them to make the playoffs this season.
No bigger favorite to win their division than the Tampa Bay Lightning: https://t.co/FLXl1FOY0u
— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) January 12, 2021
Of course, the Lightning will miss injured sniper Nikita Kucherov. And the club cannot afford to look past the steadily improving Carolina Hurricanes in the Central. But with a steady diet of matchups with bottom feeders like Detroit and Chicago, the Lightning should be in a class of their own, as they challenge for the top of the overall NHL standings and top seeding in the playoffs.
On that basis alone, it is the reigning champs that currently provide the most betting value atop the Stanley Cup odds.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Lightning (+750)
East Division Up for Grabs
The battle for playoff berths in the East Division is shaping up to be a dogfight that has spawned opportunities among Stanley Cup betting dark horses. The East Division will feature five of the top seven seeds in the Eastern Conference from last summer. However, that mix features established powerhouses struggling with aging cores and offseason departures, and several rapidly improving clubs.
The East division is going to be the group of death.
— Nicholas (Blue Checkmark) (@NicholasPuzar) December 20, 2020
Last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Boston Bruins, are joined at the top of the divisional odds by such aging squads in Pittsburgh and Washington. However, the New York Islanders are worthy of consideration for sports bettors looking for Stanley Cup longshots.
Don’t Sleep on the Islanders
Pegged as a +3000 bet in the NHL futures, the Islanders proved that their return to playoff contention two years ago was no fluke with last summer’s march to the Eastern Conference Final.
The New York Islanders are in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in my life. #isles – #flyers Game 7 recap. pic.twitter.com/kBHI8QaIpp
— Matt Di Giacomo (@mdigiac) September 6, 2020
In addition to being one of the top defensive clubs in the league last season, the Islanders have been dominant in regular-season action against teams from the East over the past two seasons. With aging teams, like Washington and Pittsburgh, poised to take a step back during an arduous compressed regular season, opportunity knocks for a superbly coached team like New York to embark on yet another Cinderella playoff run.
Best Longshot Bet: New York Islanders (+3000)