NHL Stanley Cup Picks, Odds & Lines: The Chalk

NHL handicapper Pete Truszkowski makes his debut on Oddschecker with his early analysis on the Stanley Cup futures market. Here he looks at the top of the market.
Pete Truszkowski
Fri, July 31, 7:32 AM EDT

Recommended Stanley Cup favorite bets:

Tampa Bay Lightning (+650) - Click Here To Bet

Over the past couple of days, we’ve broken down some teams that we can take long shots on, and other teams that have some mid-range value. Today, we’ll break down the 6 teams that are currently 14/1 or better on the dartboard. I’ll let you know which of these teams I don’t like at all, and which ones I would take if I had to pick from this group.

Pass

Philadelphia Flyers +1300

Before the season started, people viewed the Flyers as a team that could likely compete for a playoff spot in a very competitive Metropolitan division. For most of the season, that was the case. The Flyers were fluctuating between first and 6th in the division, depending on the day and which team was hot. However, right before the league paused, the Flyers won 9 of 10 games and propelled themselves into first place. Now, they are priced amongst the elite teams in the league.

First of all, the momentum from that hot streak is all but gone. If they continued playing that way down the stretch of the season and into the normal playoffs in April, you could attempt to handicap momentum. That was a long time ago.

When you look at the season as a whole, they finished 15th in expected goals, and 12th in high danger chances. They had the 4th highest shooting percentage in the league, which usually is a sign of some type of luck and/or good fortune. They are a bottom 10 team in even strength save percentage and their goaltender is young, two factors that definitely lead me to pass on the Flyers at this price.

Pass

Colorado Avalanche +1000

I do consider the Colorado Avalanche one of the best teams in the league. They are led by a top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen which is a top 3 line in this league. They have some exciting dynamic pieces around those three including rookie phenom Cale Makar.

However, just like you’re paying a premium with the Flyers for a good streak from over four months ago, you’re doing the same for Colorado. Colorado got points in 20 of their last 25 games before things got shut down. Yes, they were on a roll.

In terms of advanced analytics, they are not a top 10 team in expected goals or high danger chances. Their goaltending and shooting percentage are both top 5 in the league which points to a bit of luck. Their PDO (save + shooting percentage) is 102.3. That is the highest in the league. PDO is meant to illustrate luck. If you have a PDO of 100 you are neither lucky or unlucky. With their 102.3 PDO, the Avalanche could be considered the luckiest team in the NHL this past season. Don’t bet on luck. At this price, we pass on Colorado.

The Others:

Boston Bruins +650

Boston was the best team in the league this past season, and they are priced like it. They are the favorites to win the Cup. The Bruins likely have the best top line in the league featuring Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. They are the best team in the league in both goals allowed and expected goals allowed. However, at 5on5 their offensive production is middle of the pack. I do think Boston has a good shot of winning the Cup, but if I had to pick a team, it’d be someone else. More on them soon.

Vegas Golden Knights +1000

Vegas finished 2nd in high danger chance percentage, 1st in scoring chance percentage, first in expected goals percentage, and first in shot attempt percentage. There is a reason Vegas has them as the 4th most likely team to win the Cup. Inconsistent goaltending and a lack of offensive firepower and finishing ability prevented them from improving their record through the regular season and I expect similar issues to arise in these playoffs. I do like them but it feels like they are missing a piece.

St. Louis Blues +1100

Defending Stanley Cup champions. Top seed in the West. Good underlying metrics. There is nothing to say about this team that would paint them in a negative light. I just don’t think they’ll repeat. Winning two straight Cups is a tough ask. 

This tournament seems like it’ll have some randomness to it and I’m just thinking someone takes the Blues out. There is no math here. It’s a gut thing. If it was a math thing, they wouldn’t be an elite team coming off a Cup win going off at this price.

If I had to Pick a Team:

Tampa Bay Lightning +650

Please note I am not recommending you bet on Tampa Bay. In terms of value, it’s not necessarily there. I don’t think it is possible to predict what this tournament is going to look like, so I wouldn’t take one of the favorites. I’d rather take a few longer shots and enjoy the madness.

But if someone asked me who I think is going to win this Stanley Cup, I’d say Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay set records in 2018-19 during the regular season. Then, in one of the bigger upsets and improbable storylines imaginable, they were swept in the first round by the grinding Blue Jackets. This team this year might be just as good if not better, and Lord knows they’ll have a chip on their shoulder.

They are a top five team across the board in all the major underlying metrics. They lead the league in goals per game at 3.47. They are a top 10 team in goals against per game, and the underlying metrics say they are expected to give up even less than that.

They are led on offense by last season’s MVP Nikita Kucherov. Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman are included in what might be the best group of skaters in the league. In goal, they have Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy was nominated for the Vezina trophy in both 2018 and 2019. He won it in 2019. Safe to say he’s one of the better goalies in the league.

They can score. They can defend. They can make saves. They are record-setting good. They have a chip on their shoulder. They will be focused to avoid the embarrassment of 2019 repeating itself. If I had to pick a team to win it all, it’s the Lightning.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ +1000Stanley Cup - Winner
Pete Truszkowski
NYIslesNation
Pete is a 25 year old who's been gambling for near a decade (yes, you read that accurately.) Born and raised on Long Island, Pete fell in love with hockey at the age of 4 and other sports followed shortly after.
Sep 2020
Record
Wins
14
Losses
12
Push
0
ROI
-1.84%
0Betslip

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