Finding Value in Futures Bets for the Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals surprised the hockey world by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Finally clearing that hurdle was not enough for them as they went on to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Alex Ovechkin led the way, scoring 15 goals and totaling 27 points on his way to winning his first Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophies.
What should we expect from Washington in 2018-19, and where can we find betting value with the Caps?
Let's take a look at some props and odds.
|Over/Under Capitals points in 2018-19||103.50|
|Odds Capitals make the 2019 NHL playoffs||2/9|
|Odds Capitals reach 2019 Stanley Cup Final||7/1|
|Odds Ovechkin finishes career in Washington||1/2|
|Over/Under on Ovechkin goals scored career||786.5|
|Over/Under Stanley Cups won by Capitals during Ovechkin's career||1.5|
|Odds Washington visits White House||3/7|
There are lots of things to examine when looking at point projections, so keeping things simple can be vital. Over the last four seasons, Washington has averaged 111 points per year, so 103.5 seems like a steal. But Stanley Cup hangovers can happen, and playing until June has a price. Not only does a Cup run mean more wear and tear, other teams will try to poach free agents from championship teams. With that said, if Washington can re-sign its free agents and stay under the cap, they will have a good chance to rack up at least 104 points.
Obviously, it would be a shock if Washington missed the playoffs. Consider that the 1995-96 New Jersey Devils were the first team to outright miss the following postseason after winning the Stanley Cup. The 2006-07 Carolina Hurricanes were the second team to do it -- and that's it! Even in a tough division, the Capitals' talent pool projects easily to a playoff spot.
Per reports, Washington will visit the White House, aside from Devante Smith-Pelly. Washington's odds to get back to the Stanley Cup Final seems high at 7/1. Consider that the Capitals overcame a two-game deficit versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, and then they found a way to defeat the Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. It is quite a gauntlet in the East, and teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins are only going to improve. Repeating is difficult and has only been done once (Pens in 2016 and 2017) since 1999.
The Ovechkin Prop Bets
This becomes a bit more challenging, and trying to figure out if Ovechkin will finish his career in Washington is a tough thing to do. The captain's loyalty to Russia is well documented. He even threatened to go to the Olympics this year before the league made it adamant that harsh consequences were likely. In the past, Ovechkin, every year, would bolt straight to the World Championships after Washington was eliminated. It is why those odds that Ovechkin ends his career with Washington are what they are.
Finally, there is the Ovechkin prop of props. What will Ovechkin finish with goals-wise in his NHL career? The left winger has 607 goals through 13 seasons played. Even including his shortened campaign of 23, that per-year average is 46.7 goals. He's got at least 49 goals in four of his last five years. It is that consistency which lends credence to Ovechkin possibly topping even 800 goals.
His shooting percentage in the last five years is a touch more than 13%. Shots per game bounced back up by a half shot per night this year after a downturn in 2016-17. If Ovechkin plays another five or six years, the odds that he exceeds 800 goals -- and the 786.5 prop -- are quite high. Even at 36 goals per campaign over the next five years, Ovechkin would hit 787, making the over a very appealing bet.