NHL

3 Stanley Cup Futures Value Bets

We are past the quarter mark in the NHL season. What teams present betting value in the Stanley Cup futures market?

With a slower pace in the NHL this week and considering we are passing the quarter mark of the season, I thought it might be a good time to re-evaluate Stanley Cup futures. When it comes to betting futures, my personal strategy is looking for longer odds. In that way, you can expand your portfolio for playoff teams and it creates more hedging opportunities in the post-season. I know a lot of sharp bettors whom I respect who shy away from the futures market but, personally, I see the long-term value in creating more opportunities to make money. Particularly in today's NHL's division formatting.

Washington Capitals +1300

It's somewhat fascinating to me that the NHL's best team currently has the sixth best odds on the Stanley Cup futures board at FanDuel Sportsbook.

The Washington Capitals -- who lead the league in points -- seem to be doing everything right. Alex Ovechkin is leading the team in goals and is a key piece of their offense producing at an unprecedented rate. They have the league's highest scoring defenceman in John Carlson, and Braden Holtby has been his reliable self to start the season.

The crazy thing is that this team is only one year removed from hoisting the Cup but still finds themselves with the sixth best odds to win it this year.

It's unreasonable to expect Washington to continue producing at this level, but if nothing else, we've seen how good this iteration of the Capitals can be. Recent history also tells us that the team has the chops to get things done in the playoffs. The +1300 odds might be the best odds you get on this team the rest of the season. I, for one, see the value in taking Washington at that price. Our models give the Caps a 9.08% chance of winning the title, which is better than the 7.10% implied odds from the +1300 line.

Edmonton Oilers +3600

I didn't see any pundits at the start of the season proclaiming the Edmonton Oilers to be Stanley Cup favorites, let alone expected to make the playoffs. But here we are, past the quarter mark of the season and the Oilers are comfortably sitting atop the Pacific Division.

The Oilers could very well fall out of top spot and end up having to play as a 2, 3 or wild card seed. But if that happens, they could still end up with a favorable matchup. They could wind up having to play a more inexperienced team such as the Vancouver Canucks or Arizona Coyotes. Or maybe they end up having to face a team with a terrible track record in the playoffs, like the San Jose Sharks or Winnipeg Jets. In either one of those scenarios, you have to think that Connor McDavid and company would at least be competitive.

And if nothing else, having a team at 36-1 would at least present itself with some decent hedging opportunities from round one onward. Although you aren't getting the Oilers at the best odds they've had, there might still be some value in taking the current Pacific Division leaders.

Montreal Canadiens +3600

A hot goalie can carry a team further than it deserves to go in the playoffs. Carey Price has shown time and time again that he can be that difference maker.

At the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship, he posted a 1.14 goals against average and 96.1% save percentage. Later that season, he lead the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) to their first Calder Cup Trophy thanks to a 1.53 goals against average and 94.9% save percentage. Then at the 2014 Olympics, he was an integral part of the gold medal-winning roster thanks to his 0.59 goals against average and 97.2% save percentage while playing on a wonky hip.

My point being -- Carey Price could almost single handedly win you a playoff series or two.

With the current playoff format, getting to the Stanley Cup Finals is a war of attrition. Undoubtedly, you will have to beat a contender to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals. But with contenders having to go through each other to get there, that could make the path to the finals a little easier. Don't be surprised if Price steals a series or two come May.