Kings Favored to Win Second Stanley Cup in Three Years

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The NHL Stanley Cup Finals begin on Wednesday from southern California when the Los Angeles Kings host the New York Rangers.

Los Angeles will be attempting to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in the past three seasons. The Kings won the Cup back in 2012.

The last time the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup final was the same time they last won it. In 1995, New York with Mark Messier took the Cup in seven games versus the Vancouver Canucks. That Cup win in 1994, was the first for the team since 1940.

With the home-ice advantage, Los Angeles has been made the favorite to win the best of seven games series and is currently priced on Bovada and sportsbook.com at -165. The Rangers are currently priced at +145 on betonline and topbet.

Odds makers will have Los Angeles as high as -155 for Game 1. If both teams were equal, the King would be going off at home at about -130, but bookmakers believe that the Kings are the better team.

The Western Conference’s strength has had a lot to do with bookmakers giving the Kings the advantage. The top teams out west all were given shorter odds all season.

In the West there were the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado, St. Louis and oh yeah did I mention the Los Angeles Kings.

In the East, the only teams that were given much respect by bookmakers were Pittsburgh and Boston.

The Bruins were thought by bookmakers to have the easiest route to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, Boston did not match up well versus the Montreal Canadians and were eliminated early.

New York was able to overcome Pittsburgh, and then bypassed Boston to face Montreal. The Canadians top goalie Carey Price went down in the first game, and New York eventually won in 6.

The Rangers at one time were as high as 30-1 to win the Cup, but with Henrik Lundqvist in net, the team has reached the finals.

Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles goaltender has not been as good as in the past. Against the Blackhawks, Quick’s save percentage was just .889.

However, odds makers do not seem concerned as they consider Quick one of the top five net minders in the league.

Game 1 is Wednesday and the Kings opened at -155 but are now -150, while the Rangers opened at +135 and are sitting on +140.

During the regular season, the teams played twice head-to-head. New York won 3-1 on the road last October, while Los Angeles won 1-0 in November on the road.

Series price
Kings -165, Rangers +145

Game 1 Line and Total
Kings -150, Rangers +140
Total: 5 with the UNDER -120, OVER +100

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Blackhawks Favored in Game 7 over Kings

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As the NBA playoffs take a four-day hiatus before the start of the Finals, the NHL takes center stage with the Western Conference finals seventh game between the visiting Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Early money on Bovada and sportsbook.com is on Chicago. According to betonline and topbet, the OVER continues to payout in this matchup.

The winner of this Game 7 will advance to play the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals with Game 1 on Wednesday at either Chicago of Los Angeles.

Patrick Kane a forward for Chicago was held to just a single point in the first four games of this series in the West finals, but has scored two goals and dished out five assists in the past two games.

Kane scored twice in Friday’s win in Game 6, including the winning goal and assisted on Duncan Keith’s goal that tied the game with 8:26 remaining in the third period.

Early money for Game 7 has come in for Chicago, with Blackhawks sitting as the favorite between at -150 after opening at -145. The Kings, playing yet another Game 7 on the road, opened at +135 and have been adjusted up to +140.

Each of the two teams has won one game on their opponents’ home ice during the series.

Chicago was down in a series 3-1 for the second straight season. Last season, the Blackhawks had trailed the Detroit Red Wings in the conference semifinals 3-1, before rallying and winning that series and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Blackhawks all time are 5-2 when playing at home in a Game 7 and have won four Game 7s played at home in a row.

However, the Kings are 6-0 during this season’s playoffs when faced with elimination.

The OVER continues as the strongest betting trend for the series. The OVER has cashed in five consecutive games where there have been at least 7 goals scored in each.

The OVER is sitting on 5 with a price of -120 for Sunday’s Game 7. The UNDER is currently playing an underdog role at +100.

The OVER in Game 7 is more generous of a price than the -125 on the OVER for Game 6.

Regardless of the outcome, the winner will then have just Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Rangers, who eliminated the Montreal Canadians to win the Eastern Conference title.

Pick: I like Chicago at home to win 5-3 and move on to their second straight Stanley Cup Finals.

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The Casino Review sportsbook blog provides news and analysis on the online sports betting industry, helping experienced and recreational bettors get the most out of their online betting experience.

NHL Playoffs Get Underway

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After thinking that we may not have hockey at all in 2013, fans and bettors will get the chance to revel in the excitement of the NHL playoffs once again starting today. The league is offering up a three-game slate of games ones today, which includes some of the most anticipated match-ups of the postseason. Check out who we like in game one with our picks below!

#8 Minnesota Wild +1.5 at #1 Chicago Blackhawks -1.5

Though the Wild struggled at times this season, they are still a dangerous team with an extremely talented roster. However, they’ll be going up against the team that could do no wrong during the regular season – the Chicago Blackhawks, who finished the season with the most points.

The Blackhawks dominated most opponents this season, including the Wild, going 2-0-1 against Minnesota this season, but they only won their two games by a combined three goals, so there’s a reasonable expectation that this will be a close game as well, especially considering it’s a playoff game.

I like Chicago to win this one, but look for the Wild to take it down to the wire and cover +1.5 today.

#5 Los Angeles Kings +1.5 at #4 St. Louis Blues -1.5

The Kings are in better starting position as the five seed then they were when they won the Stanley Cup last year (eight seed), but they’ll be the underdog again in their opening series against one of the hottest teams in the league.

The Blues finished the season strong, winning 12 of their final 15 games, but they did it with tough defense and tight goaltending, while putting the puck in the net enough to get the job done.

However, the Kings have dominated the series recently, winning the last eight meetings, including the a second round playoff sweep of the Blues last season. The Blues might be playing well right now, but the Kings have plenty of playoff experience and a knack for beating St. Louis, so take L.A. to cover +1.5 and win this one outright.

#7 Detroit Red Wings +1.5 at #2 Anaheim Ducks -1.5

The Ducks have been flying under the radar for much of the season and they’ve had an incredible amount of success against almost every opponent, but one team they struggled with was the perennial playoff power – the Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings got the better of the Ducks this season, winning two of three meetings, but they weren’t as consistently strong as they have been in years past, ranking just 19th in goal scoring.

Still, I like the postseason-tested Red Wings here in game one. They may not win the series, but the it may take the Ducks a couple more games to figure them out. Take Detroit to cover +1.5.

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Monday Betting Tips: NHL Hockey

Kyle Turris and the Ottawa Senators look good to score an upset over the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

Kyle Turris and the Ottawa Senators look good to score an upset over the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

To get your week started with a bang, Casino Review has picked out three gems on Monday’s NHL schedule for you to digest before laying down some cash.

Here’s the shocker: Chicago’s game against Edmonton doesn’t intrigue us tonight. We think Chicago will continue its history-making run of points-scoring against the lowly Oilers. Forget that game, we’ve got three that are bound to be barn-burners with upset potential galore.

We start with a Philadelphia side looking to edge up into the playoff hunt.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Philadelphia Flyers

7:00 PM ET

With three wins in four games, Philadelphia (9-10-1, 5-2-1 home) has inched towards the playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. Entering play on Monday, the Flyers are tied with eighth-place Tampa Bay on 19 points. A win over the Leafs, or even a tie, will be enough to move above.

Toronto (11-8-0, 7-4-0 road) meanwhile unexpectedly has the seventh spot, but recent form has betrayed the team. Having won six of seven, Toronto has dropped two from three since. With the race in the East poised to be a tight one this year, the Leafs can’t afford to lose any more.

Both sides took to the ice on Saturday, with Philadelphia picking up a 5-3 home win against Winnipeg while Toronto fell 3-2 on the road in Ottawa.

This Season: Toronto defeated Philadelphia 5-2 at home on Feb. 11.

Last Season: Philadelphia swept the season series 4-0.

Moneyline: Toronto (+119), Philadelphia (-131) Total:

Take: PHILADELPHIA – The Flyers have begun playing like the team we expected this season, and with just two home losses this season, the favored Flyers look good in this one. Philadelphia (10-9-1) has favored the over while Toronto (6-11-2) has favored the under. The Flyers have averaged 4.8 goals per game over the last six, so take the over.

 

Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators

7:30 PM ET

Both the Canadiens and Senators are looking good of late. Montreal (12-4-2, 4-1-1 road) has won six of the last seven games, with that one loss coming in overtime. The side has won three straight on the road. Michael Therrien’s side has risen to the top of the Eastern Conference in the process.

Meanwhile, Ottawa (11-6-2, 8-1-2 home) has won four straight in total and four straight at home, moving into sixth place in the East. A win or tie on Monday would see the Senators moving into fourth place.

Montreal handed the highly-touted New York Rangers a 3-0 shutout at Centre Bell on Saturday, while Ottawa dismissed Toronto 3-2 at Scotiabank Place.

This Season: Ottawa scored a 5-1 home win over the Canadiens on Jan. 30 while Montreal picked up a 2-1 home win on Feb. 3.

Last Season: Montreal won the season series 4-2 with both losses coming after regulation. The Canadiens went 2-1 when playing in Ottawa.

Moneyline: Montreal (-121), Ottawa (+110) Total: 5

Take: OTTAWA – The Canadiens may be favored but the Senators have been impressive at home this season. Take Ottawa to score the upset win. Both teams trend towards the under and Ottawa hasn’t seen more than five goals in a game in five straight. The under is the smart bet here then.

 

Anaheim Ducks @ Los Angeles Kings

10:30 PM ET

With 11 of the first 15 games on the road, Los Angeles (8-6-2, 3-1-1 home) could have asked for a better start. The Kings scored a 4-1 win over Colorado on Saturday though, beginning a streak of seven of eight games at home positively.

With three straight wins and five from the last six, the Kings are starting to look a bit more like the side that won the Stanley Cup last season. They’re also just one point out of the playoff berths.

Anaheim (13-2-1, 7-1-1 road) has started the season hot. Winners of 13 games – including six straight and 10 of the last 11 – the Ducks would be the talk of the league were it not for Chicago’s extraordinary run of form. Not that you’ll hear the side complaining.

Anaheim is all about getting the job done, and the side need only look back to early February to see how beating the Kings can be achieved.

This Season: Anaheim defeated Los Angeles 7-4 at home on Feb. 2.

Last Season: Los Angeles took five of six games against the Ducks last season, including a pair of shootout wins. The Kings won all three games at the Honda Center.

Moneyline: Anaheim (+142), Los Angeles (-142) Total: 5

Take: ANAHEIM – While the Kings are returning to form, the Ducks continue to steamroll on. Look for Anaheim to take it to the Kings and score the win. The Ducks are the third leading scorers in the league (3.3 goals per game) but have only seen the total go over in four games this year. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has also favored the under, so take the under in this one.

 

Tuesday’s NHL Schedule (in full)

Toronto @ Philadelphia

Montreal @ Ottawa

Dallas @ Nashville

Edmonton @ Chicago

Anaheim @ Los Angeles

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Hockey Returns this Saturday

Favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Penguins and Rangers each kick-start their season this Saturday before clashing at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Penguins and Rangers each kick-start their season this Saturday before clashing at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

After four months in oblivion, the National Hockey League will resume play this Saturday, following the ratification of a proposed agreement between the league office and the Players’ Association.

Saturday’s schedule will include 13 games, featuring 26 of the league’s 30 teams.

The schedule’s marquee matchup sees Pittsburgh and Philadelphia continue their long-time rivalry. The game (3:00 PM ET) will see the Penguins looking for retribution after being dumped out of the playoffs at the first round by the Flyers last season.

As news broke that an agreement had been reached between the NHL and NHLPA, Pittsburgh was considered favorites to lift Lord Stanley’s goliath cup. In the week that has followed, Pittsburgh finds itself join favorites with the New York Rangers, with both teams being given 8/1 odds of winning it all.

The Rangers will start their season with a tough game in Boston on Saturday (7:00 PM ET), before hosting the Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening (7:00 PM ET).

Other notable games on Saturday’s schedule include the Los Angeles Kings beginning the defense of an unexpected Stanley Cup with the visit of the Chicago Blackhawks, a side expected to take a very competitive Central Division this season.

Vancouver – expected by odds makers to win the Western Conference this season – will host the Anaheim Ducks (10:00 PM ET), while Toronto and Montreal meet in a battle of Original Six sides (7:00 PM ET).

For those sides taking to the ice, Saturday’s games will mark the first of shortened 48-game season, a result of the lengthy lockout period. Each team will play only against those sides in their conference, meaning the only time we’ll see an Eastern Conference side meet a Western Conference team will come during the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stanley Cup playoffs will retain its 16-team format, and will commence following the last day of the regular season, which falls on Apr. 27. Postseason schedules are yet to be put into place.

With such a short period to get ready for hockey betting, Casino Review has compiled all of the information you need to get ready for Saturday and the season ahead.We’ve gathered Stanley Cup, conference, and division odds together, alongside points totals and playoff odds, meaning you can check out your favorite side’s chances, or take an advantage to pick out this season’s Stanley Cup competitors.

Read on for all you need ahead of the NHL Regular Season…

 

Saturday’s Season Opening Schedule

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers

Ottawa Senators @ Winnipeg Jets

Chicago Blackhawks @ Los Angeles Kings

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens

New Jersey Devils @ New York Islanders

Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes @ Florida Panthers

Detroit Red Wings @ St. Louis Blues

Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators

Phoenix Coyotes @ Dallas Stars

Colorado Avalanche @ Minnesota Wild

Anaheim Ducks @ Vancouver Canucks

 

NHL Futures and Props

All odds supplied by Bovada

(NOTE: Last season, teams had the opportunity to earn 164 points. This season, there is a total of 96 points up for grabs for each side. To give you a better idea of what a team needs to do to (pro-rata) match last season’s tally, we’ve added the number of points needed this season.)

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

 

BOSTON BRUINS

Stanley Cup: 14/1

Eastern Conference: 15/2

Northeast Division: 13/10

57½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/9 (Yes), 11/2 (No)

Last season: 102 points, No. 2 seed

69 points (to match)

 

BUFFALO SABRES

Stanley Cup: 28/1

Eastern Conference: 14/1

Northeast Division: 3/1

54½ points: 10/11 (over), 5/6 (under)

Playoffs: 20/33 (Yes), 27/20 (No)

Last season: 89 points, missed playoffs

52 points (to match)

 

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Stanley Cup: 22/1

Eastern Conference: 11/1

Southeast Division: 11/5

53½ points: 5/6 (over), 10/11 (under)

Playoffs: 20/43 (Yes), 7/4 (No)

Last season: 82 points, missed playoffs

48 points (to match)

 

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Stanley Cup: 40/1

Eastern Conference: 20/1

Southeast Division: 9/2

52½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 3/1 (Yes), 1/4 (No)

Last season: 94 points, No. 3 seed

55 points (to match)

 

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Stanley Cup: 35/1

Eastern Conference: 16/1

Northeast Division: 5/1

53½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 39/20 (Yes), No (2/5)

Last season: 78 points, missed playoffs

46 points (to match)

 

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Stanley Cup: 33/1

Eastern Conference: 16/1

Atlantic Division: 6/1

53½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 20/27 (Yes), 21/20 (No)

Last season: 102 points, No. 6 seed

60 points (to match)

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Stanley Cup: 75/1

Eastern Conference: 35/1

Atlantic Division: 16/1

49½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 9/2 (Yes), 2/13 (No)

Last season: 79 points, missed playoffs

46 points (to match)

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

Stanley Cup: 8/1

Eastern Conference: 4/1

Atlantic Division: 19/10

60½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/9 (Yes), 11/2 (No)

Last season: 109 points, No. 1 seed

64 points (to match)

 

OTTAWA SENATORS

Stanley Cup: 40/1

Eastern Conference: 20/1

Northeast Division: 11/2

52 ½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 3/1 (Yes), 1/4 (No)

Last season: 92 points, No. 8 seed

54 points (to match)

 

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Stanley Cup: 14/1

Eastern Conference: 7/1

Atlantic Division: 5/2

57½ points: 5/6 (Yes), 10/11 (No)

Playoffs: 1/8 (Yes), 5/1 (No)

Last season: 103 points, No. 5 seed

60 points (to match)

 

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Stanley Cup: 8/1

Eastern Conference: 4/1

Atlantic Division: 21/10

61½ points: 20/23 (Over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/10 (Yes), 6/1 (No)

Last season: 108 points, No. 4 seed

66 points (to match)

 

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Stanley Cup: 30/1

Eastern Conference: 15/1

Southeast Division: 3/1

53 ½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 20/29 (Yes), 23/20 (No)

Last season: 84 points, missed playoffs

49 points (to match)

 

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Stanley Cup: 35/1

Eastern Conference: 18/1

Northeast Division: 11/2

53½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 37/20 (Yes), 4/9 (No)

Last season: 80 points, missed playoffs

47 points (to match)

 

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Stanley Cup: 25/1

Eastern Conference: 12/1

Southeast Division: 9/4

54½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/8 (Yes), 5/1 (No)

Last season: 92 points, No. 7 seed

54 points (to match)

 

WINNIPEG JETS

Stanley Cup: 66/1

Eastern Conference: 33/1

Southeast Division: 9/1

50½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 9/2 (Yes), 2/13 (No)

Last season: 84 points, missed playoffs

49 points (to match)

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Stanley Cup: 45/1

Western Conference: 20/1

Pacific Division: 8/1

53½ points:  20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 5/7 (Yes), 11/10 (No)

Last season: 80 points, missed playoffs

47 points (to match)

 

CALGARY FLAMES

Stanley Cup: 50/1

Western Conference: 25/1

Northwest Division: 12/1

50½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 13/4 (Yes), 2/9 (No)

Last season: 90 points, missed playoffs

53 points (to match)

 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Stanley Cup: 14/1

Western Conference: 13/2

Central Division: 3/2

57½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/8 (Yes), 5/1 (No)

Last season: 101 points, No. 6 seed

59 points (to match)

 

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Stanley Cup: 50/1

Western Conference: 25/1

Northwest Division: 12/1

52½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 13/4 (Yes), 2/9 (No)

Last season: 88 points, missed playoffs

52 points (to match)

 

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Stanley Cup: 100/1

Western Conference: 60/1

Central Division: 20/1

47½ points: 20/21 (over), 4/5 (under)

Playoffs: 19/4 (Yes), 1/7 (No)

Last Season: 65 points, missed playoffs

38 points (to match)

 

DALLAS STARS

Stanley Cup: 40/1

Western Conference: 20/1

Pacific Division: 8/1

52 ½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 7/2 (Yes), 1/5 (No)

Last season: 89 points, missed playoffs

52 points (to match)

 

DETROIT RED WINGS

Stanley Cup: 18/1

Western Conference: 8/1

Central Division: 3/1

56½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 10/29 (Yes), 23/10 (No)

Last season: 102 points, No. 5 seed

60 points (to match)

 

EDMONTON OILERS

Stanley Cup: 18/1

Western Conference: 9/1

Northwest Division: 3/1

53½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 4/5 (Yes), No (20/21)

Last season: 74 points, missed playoffs

43 points (to match)

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Stanley Cup: 12/1

Western Conference: 13/2

Pacific Division: 4/5

58½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/9 (Yes), 11/2 (No)

Last season: 95 points, No. 8 seed

55 points (to match)

 

MINNESOTA WILD

Stanley Cup: 18/1

Western Conference: 9/1

Northwest Division: 3/1

54½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 20/53 (Yes), 41/20 (No)

Last season: 81 points, missed playoffs

47 points (to match)

 

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Stanley Cup: 33/1

Western Conference: 16/1

Central Division: 11/2

53 ½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 20/33 (Yes), 27/20 (No)

Last season: 104 points, No. 4 seed

61 points (to match)

 

PHOENIX COYOTES

Stanley Cup: 45/1

Western Conference: 22/1

Pacific Division: 8/1

50½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 12/5 (Yes), 1/3 (No)

Last season: 97 points, No. 3 seed

57 points (to match)

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Stanley Cup: 20/1

Western Conference: 11/1

Pacific Division: 11/4

54 ½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 20/33 (Yes), 27/20 (No)

Last season: 96 points, No. 7 seed

56 points (to match)

 

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Stanley Cup: 16/1

Western Conference: 7/1

Central Division: 9/4

57½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/8 (Yes), 5/1 (No)

Last season: 109 points, No. 2 seed

64 points (to match)

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Stanley Cup: 10/1

Western Conference: 9/2

Northwest Division: 1/1

58½ points: 20/23 (over), 20/23 (under)

Playoffs: 1/12 (Yes), 13/2 (No)

Last season: 111 points, No. 1 seed

65 points (to match)

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Pittsburgh Tops NHL Futures Ahead of Season

With Evegini Malkin and Sidney Crosby returning to the fold, the Pittsburgh Penguins are favorites to lift the Stanley Cup ahead of the impending strike-shortened season.

With a red-hot Evegini Malkin and a fully-fit Sidney Crosby returning to the fold, the Pittsburgh Penguins are favorites to lift the Stanley Cup ahead of the impending lockout-shortened season.

With a hockey season finally on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Penguins have topped bookmakers’ lists as favorites to lift the Stanley Cup this summer.

The ranking comes as no surprise as the Penguins were topping such lists before and during the lockout, which came to an unofficial end this past Sunday with the announcement that the league front office and the Players’ Association has struck a deal, ending more than four months of uncertainty.

Reports currently indicate that the NHL is targeting Jan. 19 as the start date for a shortened season that will last 48 games. No concrete schedule can be put into place until the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and NHLPA is completely ratified.

Regardless, news that there will be a hockey season is an added bonus for bettors in a growing market. According to Bovada, betting on the NFL grew by 100 percent last season, a year that saw the Los Angeles Kings score a surprise Stanley Cup victory.

Here then is a breakdown of the Top 5 teams on the current NHL Futures list.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins (8/1)

Last Season: 51-25-6 (Lost 4-2 to Philadelphia in Conference Quarter-Finals)

With club captain Sidney Crosby healthy for the start of the season – and by all accounts hungry to play – the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team loaded with talent, will be favorites to take the Stanley Cup.

One of the biggest reasons for this is Evegini Malkin – last season’s Hart trophy winner – who will return to the U.S. having tallied 65 points (23G, 42A) for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Russia’s KHL. An in-form Malkin spells danger for the Atlantic Division and the rest of the league.

Of course, the Penguins – who last won the Stanley Cup in 2009 – have had issues staying healthy, a well-known fact that could see bettors stay away.

 

New York Rangers (17/2)

Last Season: 51-24-7 (Lost 4-2 to New Jersey in Conference Finals)

After falling to rivals New Jersey in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers will look to go (at least) one better this year and head to the Stanley Cup Finals. They’ll have Rick Nash – the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft – onboard after a deal was struck back in July, adding to a lineup that has talent and experience.

 

Vancouver Canucks (9/1)

Last Season: 51-22-9 (Lost 4-1 to Los Angeles in Conference Quarter-Finals)

Beaten finalists in 2011 and unceremoniously dumped out in the first round last year by a Los Angeles Kings team on its way to the Stanley Cup, Vancouver will look to once again lead the league in points (as it did last season with 111) and attempt to win its first ever Stanley Cup.

 

Los Angeles Kings (12/1)

Last Season: 40-27-15 (Beat New Jersey 4-2 in Stanley Cup Finals)

Had the NHL season fallen through, the biggest casualty would have been the fans in Los Angeles. After a shocking playoff run that saw the Kings eliminate the No. 1, 2, and 3 seeds in the West, Los Angeles lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. That one run has the most people in Los Angeles watching hockey since a certain No. 99 arrived on a plain from Edmonton.

Fans will again get to cheer as the Kings attempt to defend their title. Another run like last year’s is highly unlikely. Every other team will offer their A-game against the L.A. side. That’s tough enough. But then history is against the Kings. You have to go back to the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to find a team that successfully defended the Stanley Cup.

 

Philadelphia Flyers (12/1)

Last Season: 47-26-9 (Lost 4-1 to New Jersey in Conference Semi-Finals)

At 12/1, Philadelphia is the third Atlantic Division side in the top five of the NHL Futures, a clear indication of how tough the division is going to be. Not that that’s anything new. The Flyers scored an upset victory over the Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs last year, before being ousted by New Jersey.

Captain Chris Pronger’s return is in doubt after he sat out 69 games last season with post-concussion syndrome and is not anywhere near close to being cleared. Many believe his career is done. Still, Philadelphia has some firepower and will likely advance to the playoffs.

 

In Short…

At 18/1, Minnesota is the highest-ranked (10th) side that did not make last season’s playoffs. The Wild has not made the postseason since the 2007-08 season.

Despite a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, New Jersey is only considered 30/1 to lift the giant trophy this season, ranking the side joint 18th in the league.

Although the franchise was named the richest in hockey, Toronto is one of those sides level with New Jersey at 30/1. Come April, a city that loves hockey more than any other may be more interested in its fully-loaded baseball club.

Columbus has the unenviable label of biggest underdogs this season. The Jackets – who have only made the playoffs once in franchise history (2008-09) – are 100/1 to lift the Stanley Cup.

Florida, Ottawa, and Phoenix– all teams that made last year’s playoffs – are all considered 40/1 to win the Stanley Cup (joint 21st).

 

Odds to Win the 2013 Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh Penguins (8/1)

New York Rangers (17/2)

Vancouver Canucks (9/1)

Los Angeles Kings (12/1)

Philadelphia Flyers (12/1)

Chicago Blackhawks (14/1)

Boston Bruins (16/1)

Detroit Redwings (16/1)

St. Louis Blues (16/1)

Minnesota Wild (18/1)

San Jose Sharks (20/1)

Carolina Hurricanes (22/1)

Washington Capitals (22/1)

Buffalo Sabers (25/1)

Edmonton Oilers (25/1)

Nashville Predators (28/1)

Tampa Bay Lightning (28/1)

New Jersey Devils (30/1)

Toronto Maple Leafs (30/1)

Anaheim Ducks (40/1)

Colorado Avalanche (40/1)

Dallas Stars (40/1)

Florida Panthers (40/1)

Ottawa Senators (40/1)

Phoenix Coyotes (40/1)

Calgary Flames (50/1)

Winnipeg Jets (50/1)

New York Islanders (66/1)

Columbus Blue Jackets (100/1)

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