The Stanley Cup Playoffs culminate in the final best-of-seven series to end the National Hockey League season, a fittingly arduous conclusion to a grueling season and postseason that pits the survivors of the Eastern and Western conferences in one final test.
Popular NHL betting markets feature numerous ways to wager on the final, including team and individual bets that allow ice hockey betting fans expanded opportunities to exploit their handicapping prowess. An interesting aspect of the Stanley Cup is the ability to bet individual games as well as the entirety of the series.
Moneylines offered at the top NHL betting sites are based on positive and negative figures and indicate how much money a bettor must wager to win £100, or how much a £100 bet would win.
Negative numbers indicate how much bettors must play to win £100.
Betting the totals involves venturing on how many goals will be scored in a single game by both teams combined. If the Over/Under for a Stanley Cup Finals game is at 6.0, the bet would be whether the teams reach that figure combined.
Futures bets involve season-long goals for both teams and players. These can be bets on whether a team will win the Stanley Cup, the Eastern or Western Conference Championship, their division title or enough games to simply make the playoffs.
If a fan makes a bet on the eventual Stanley Cup champion at one of many top online ice hockey sportsbooks and that team reaches the final, they are sure to be entertained, nervous, and quite possibly quite a bit richer, depending on whether they took a long shot.
In their first season in 2017-2018, the Vegas Golden Knights drew 500-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. They reached the finals, incredibly, but the Washington Capitals lifted the trophy for the first time, ending the series in six games. In 2019, St. Louis Blues defied pre-season odds of 250-1 in a whirlwind season
After an 82-game regular season, a Stanley Cup finalist will have played three best-of-seven series to reach the Final. That’s at least 12 games – if could sweep them all – and a possibility 21 in a compressed amount of time. That’s physically and emotionally grueling. Injuries, therefore, are a massive consideration, as is fatigue, in assessing which players and therefore which teams can win.
Playoff series are structured in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, meaning the team with the best regular season record is afforded four home games if the series goes to seven. That team with the best record host the first two games, then the other team for two, with single-game stands staged for the next three games of the series, if needed. This format allows each team to host at least two games.
According to the NHL Rulebook, a game of hockey is played over three 20-minute periods, so betting within those parameters can be an entertaining way to bet, reassess, and try another strategy. It is therefore beneficial to know whether a team excels in a particular period in terms of scoring or has a good record when leading or trailing after a specific point in the game. Goalies will have much to do with this analysis.
Any team would prefer to score early and often and clamp down for the rest of the game, but few are able. Study their trends. Numbers will present a picture of mindset and patterns.
Past truisms have been challenged in recent Stanley Cup Playoffs. While home-ice advantage was once a prime determiner of success, road teams have begun to negate those norms. The 2018 Stanley Cup champion Capitals lost the first two games of their first-round series against Columbus at home and won the next four games to advance.
While teams that had played together for seasons were supposed to possess the proper resolve for a postseason grind, the Vegas Golden Knights became the first expansion team to advance to the Cup final in 2018, falling to the Caps in six games.
Twenty-eight teams have come back from 3-1 or 3-0 deficits to win series, with 26 of those comebacks occurring since 1987, and seven since 2010. In that year, the Flyers became the first team to come back from a 3-0 deficit, doing so against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The feat was repeated by the Kings against the San Jose Sharks in 2014.
Even being the best team in the league, statistically, does not carry a distinct advantage in the NHL. The postseason is such a travail that even teams that end the season as the odds-on favorite have lost in recent years early and often.
The team with the most points in both conferences wins the Presidents Trophy and is viewed as the "champion" in a sense of the regular season. But since the 2002-2003 season, only two winners of that trophy have won the Stanley Cup.
The Presidents’ Trophy winner was eliminated in the first round four times from the 2005-2006 season through 2011-2012. No winner of the hardware has advanced past the second round (as of 2018) since the Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup in 2012-2013.
There are often four different offensive lines and three defensive pairings and coaches will often shift them throughout the season and playoffs to get the most out of their teams and capitalize on mismatches. Some lines, known as checking lines, are defensive-based and meant to slow down a particularly deadly line. These lines can change at any moment depending on matchup, health or performance.
Since playing an entire 60 minutes is impossible, there are no guarantees that the top scorers on a team will all be on the same line. A coach may split up his most gifted players to make his team deeper. Familiarity among line mates brings crucial chemistry throughout the season as a line's chemistry can make all the difference in a team's season.
One unique statistical category to hockey that often provides distinct advantages are teams' power plays and penalty kill percentages. When a player commits a rules infraction during a game, he is sent to the penalty box for either two of five minutes depending on the severity of the infraction.
This results in a 5-on-4 advantage for the other team, known as a power play, while the other team's shorthanded "penalty kill" unit attempts to defensively thwart the opponent.
Mastery in either field plays a big factor over the ebb and flow of a game as either scoring on a power play or coming up with a successful kill are often referred to as key momentum-shifting moments.
Stanley Cup betting is often trickier than regular season betting because part often players who were pedestrian in the regular season elevate into statistical anomalies and folk heroes with the postseason adventures. Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly, a career journeyman, needed 75 games to net seven goals in 75 in the 2017-2018 regular season, but just seven games to reach the same mark – two of them game-winners – in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Hope is not a plan, and momentum and positive energy don’t seem like sound metrics when analyzing a matchup, but all part of the lore and reality of the Stanley Cup.
|Year||Winning Team||Winner’s Finals Odds||Series||Losing Team|
|2020||Tampa Bay Lightning||59/50||4-2||Dallas Stars||2019||St. Louis Blues||11/10||4-3||Boston Bruins|
|2018||Washington Capitals||27/20||4-1||Vegas Golden Knights|
|2017||Pittsburgh Penguins||20/33||4-2||Nashville Predators|
|2016||Pittsburgh Penguins||20/27||4-2||San Jose Sharks|
|2015||Chicago Blackhawks||20/27||4-2||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2014||Los Angeles Kings||20/33||4-1||New York Rangers|
|2013||Chicago Blackhawks||20/31||4-2||Boston Bruins|
|2012||Los Angeles Kings||10/17||4-2||New Jersey Devils|
|2011||Boston Bruins||17/10||4-3||Vancouver Canucks|
An NHL playoff series can last anywhere from four to seven games. The first team to win four games out of a potential seven will move on to the next round. This format remains consistent throughout the playoffs.
It depends on the scheduling, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs generally last around two months give or take a few days to a week.
Every NHL playoff round features a team with home-ice advantage based on regular-season performance. The first two games of every series are played at that team’s arena, followed by two at the other team’s arena. If more games are necessary, Game 5 is played back at the team with home-ice advantage’s arena, Game 6 at the other team’s arena and then it’s back to the original arena where the series started for Game 7.
16 teams (eight from each conference) make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The top three teams in each of the four divisions make it followed by two wild-card teams with the best remaining records for each conference.
The team with the best record in each conference will play the wild-card team with the worst record in the conference. The division winner with the second-best record will play the wild-card team with the better record. The second- and third-place teams from each division will play each other.