Latest NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Vegas Odds

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The NHL’s Stanley Cup has enjoyed one of the longest and richest histories in all of sports and the push to win it is as exciting as it is grueling. Even people unfamiliar with the sport know how physical it is.

Hockey is tough and getting to the Stanley Cup takes a special team. These teams play an 82-game schedule in just five months and that’s before the playoffs even begin. Then, once the playoffs do start, everyone knows that anything can happen and this is why the Stanley Cup has always attracted sports gamblers.

A best-of-seven series in other sports usually feel like going through the motions where sweeps and blowouts are expected and delivered. This is not true in the National Hockey League and sports gamblers know it. Other sports have upsets, hockey delivers something else entirely.

One seeds lose in the first round and eight seeds win the Cup. And all of the insanity leads to strong lines, great odds, and big payouts for those of us laying a wager.

In other words…

The Stanley Cup and the march to it provide plenty of excitement for the fans and loads of value for the sports bettors.

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Game 2 Keys for Stanley Cup Final

The Boston Bruins took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final from the St. Louis Blues. Check out our look back at the opener and look ahead at the keys to Game 2 for both teams.

Ryan Knuppel  |  Tue 28th May

Stanley Cup History

The Stanley Cup predates all other North American professional sports tournament trophies and was originally devised as a “challenge trophy”, as a visible symbol of victory for the league winner at the end of the hockey season. The original trophy was purchased and donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor General of Canada in 1892. The Cup was originally known as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup and predates the establishment of the NHL by more than two decades.

The Stanley Cup was first awarded in 1893 and, up until 1914, was contested by top amateur hockey clubs throughout Canada. The winner would hold on to the Cup until they lost their league title to another hockey club, or if another league champion challenged the holder in a final Cup Championship game.

1906 marked the first year in which professional hockey teams were allowed to compete for the Stanley Cup and, in 1915, official competition for the Cup began between the champion of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) and the champion of the National Hockey Association (NHA). In 1917, the National Hockey League or NHL was established and officially took over the Stanley Cup in 1926.

Top Tips for Your Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting

Now that you have a firm understanding of how the Stanley Cup works and how teams compete for top honors, it’s time to look at some solid tips to enhance your Stanley Cup betting for this seasons Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Deciding on Your Betting Options

When it comes to betting on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, betting options are more or less in line with regular NHL betting options. The two most popular or most common betting options include betting on the entire series, or just betting on a game by game basis. Betting game by game gives you the opportunity to focus on outright bets or handicaps on uneven matchups. Series betting will usually give you the option to bet on which team is likely to win the Stanley Cup outright, which team is likely to win each series and maybe some futures betting as well.

Do Your Homework

As you’ve no doubt figured out by now, betting on the Stanley Cup can and will get a bit complicated. Doing the necessary homework is especially important when it comes to deciding which teams will do well and which ones won’t. You need to follow each team’s performance track record, goal scoring averages, standout players, injuries. Other factors to consider include how each team performs overall leading up to the final. Are some teams more efficient at finishing off their opponents? Which teams have what it takes to get through all the series and rounds?

Picking Your Teams

Picking your teams, either per game, per series, per round or for the entire tournament, can be the trickiest part of Stanley Cup Playoffs betting. The reason for this is that the Stanley Cup can be one of the most unpredictable tournaments in all of sports betting. Betting on who will win the Cup may be a bit more straightforward. You do your homework, pick the team with the best stats and overall performance factors, and go for it. When it comes to betting on individual games, you may have a tougher time. A team that does well in one game may not do so well in the next. A team that wins one game and proceeds to lose the next could be marked by bookies as the underdog. This in turn could affect lines, giving you more meat on the underdog or decent odds on the sure thing.

Shopping Around for Top Lines

Shopping around for decent lines goes hand in hand with what we’ve just talked about. Just as the Stanley Cup can be incredibly unpredictable, so can the lines that bookies post. Once you’ve got a good handle on how the teams are looking going in to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and chosen the markets that you think you’ll do especially well in, it’s time to actually shop around for the best lines available. One of the best ways to get this done is to open more than one sportsbook account online. That way you can easily compare lines on the same game posted by different sportsbooks.

Final Check Before Betting

While this may seem like an obvious point, you’ll be surprised at how many bets get undone because the bettor failed to check their odds and make sure that they were putting their money on the right team, or even on the right game. Once you’ve narrowed down your team, your game or your market, make sure you put the right bet down on your bet slip. Double check everything and make sure that the payout for your bet is also correct. Finally, keep an eye on the game, either via a live streaming service or at your favorite sports place and have fun betting on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Stanley Cup Tournament: How it Works

The Stanley Cup works on a playoff format that eliminates losing teams over a series of rounds and games. The Stanley Cup playoffs consist of four rounds, each containing a 7-game series. The first team to win 4 games moves on to the next round. In each of the playoff series of 7 games, the team that has the best regular season track record will be given home rink advantage. So, in other words, the team with the home rink advantage gets to play 4 out of the 7 games at their home rink. The beauty of a 7-game series is that, by the time you get to game 7 of the series, you usually have a nail-biter, especially if both teams are tied with a three-all result.

The Stanley Cup event takes place at the end of the regular NHL season, when a total of 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The way this works is, the top 3 teams in each division will automatically qualify for a spot in the playoffs. Two divisions make up a conference, with two conferences making up the league. The Western Conference consists of the Pacific Division and the Central Division, while the Eastern Conference consists of the Atlantic Division and the Metropolitan Division. Each division consists of a total of 8 teams, so you can see where the structure for the Stanley Cup Playoffs comes from.

However, the top 3 teams picked from each division (6 teams per conference) will only amount to a total of 12 teams and not the 16 required for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to take place. This is resolved by picking the teams ranked 4th in each division (2 per conference) to fill in the playoffs as wild card teams. This then gives you a total of 8 teams per conference to compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs draws teams from the two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. In each, eight teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Examples of Teams Drawn

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Tampa Bay Calgary
Columbus Colorado
Boston San Jose
Toronto Vegas
Washington Nashville
Carolina Dallas
NY Islanders Winnipeg
Pittsburg St Louis

Each best of 7 series is played using the 2-2-1-1-1 format, with first round pitting the top ranked team in the conference up against the lower ranked wild card. At the same time, the other division winner will go head-to-head against the higher-ranked wild card.

Other first round action sees the second and third place teams from each division compete against each other to get through to the next round. The second and third place teams, along with the top ranked team and the wild card team make up their own group and the two winners from this group will advance and meet in the second round.

Eastern and Western Conference Championship Finals Explained

The Eastern Conference Finals consist of the two division champions (Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division) going head-to-head. At the same time, the Western Conference Finals sees the champions from the Central Division and the Pacific Division competing for top spot. Both of these results will decide who competes in the Stanley Cup Finals.