NHL

Stanley Cup Final Odds: Are the Favored Lightning Still a Betting Value?

Tampa Bay has a trio of 40-goal scorers, including Nikita Kucherov. Are they a solid bet to win the cup based on our algorithm's odds?

The Stanley Cup playoffs are just about to kick off, and that unfortunately means the hockey season is drawing to a close.

The 62-win Tampa Bay Lightning (+195) enter with -- justifiably -- great odds to convert a stellar season into a Stanley Cup victory, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Second on that list are the Calgary Flames at +850.

According to our nERD metric, which indicates expected goal differential against an average opponent on neutral ice, the Lightning (+1.12) have a larger gap (0.58) over the second-place Flames (+0.54) than the Flames do against an average opponent. Mercy.

But, with the odds short for the Lightning, are they actually a value to win it all? Let's dig into our Stanley Cup odds compared to the lines from FanDuel Sportsbook and find out.

Here is each team's nERD, Stanley Cup win probability, and FanDuel Sportsbook Odds. The table is sorted by win probability.

TeamnERDnF Stanley CupFanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Tampa Bay Lightning1.1223.77%+195
Calgary Flames0.549.92%+850
Boston Bruins0.546.92%+950
Nashville Predators0.366.68%+1500
Winnipeg Jets0.406.34%+1900
Washington Capitals0.376.20%+1400
Pittsburgh Penguins0.375.45%+1700
San Jose Sharks0.315.43%+1200
Toronto Maple Leafs0.424.72%+2200
New York Islanders0.264.27%+2300
St. Louis Blues0.254.14%+2000
Vegas Golden Knights0.264.04%+1600
Colorado Avalanche0.173.21%+2600
Dallas Stars0.13.09%+2600
Carolina Hurricanes0.172.97%+2900
Columbus Blue Jackets0.272.85%+2000


So who are some of the values? Spoiler: it's not the Lightning.

Winnipeg Jets

With a nERD of +0.40, the Winnipeg Jets grade out as the fifth-best team by numberFire's metrics, yet they're ninth in odds on FanDuel Sportsbook. At +1900, they're roughly 5.00% likely to win the Stanley Cup, but our projections have them besting that probability. Winnipeg, with 47 wins, is clustered in a large group with 44 to 50 wins. The advanced metrics like them more than the record may indicate, and they would avoid the Lightning until the finals. Plus, the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg's opening-round opponent, are the fourth-worst playoff team by nERD.

Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators (+0.36 nERD) are similar to the Jets in terms of the overall analytics, and coming out of the West, they would avoid Tampa until it's all on the line. They also draw the Dallas Stars in the first round. Dallas (+0.10) owns the worst nERD of any playoff team. Via Corsica.Hockey, Nashville grades out eighth in expected goals for per 60 minutes after adjustments. They ranked 19th in raw goals scored per game. The algorithm likes some value on the Preds.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs boast just a 4.72% shot to win it all but still possess some betting value at +2200. They are third in expected goals this season, via Corsica.Hockey, and they rank fourth in nERD (+0.42) as a team. Unfortunately, Toronto has to play the Boston Bruins (+0.54 nERD) in the first round, a team tied for a distant second by our metric. The Leafs actually fare better in expected goal plus-minus, though, and if they can skate by Boston, they would be a strong team to contend with.