2022 NHL Stanley Cup and futures odds, picks: High selling over the Devils
The 2022-23 NHL season crossed the 200-game threshold Tuesday night, which means we are now exiting the “still early” phase of the campaign and pushing toward the “meaningful sample size” portion of the schedule.
With that in mind, now is the time to check in on some of the teams that have seen their odds change from opening night.
Let’s take a look at some of the notable teams and their current odds of lifting the Stanley Cup next summer:
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High Sale: New Jersey Devils (+2200, Caesar)
Demons is the story of the first month of the season. After losing its first two games, New Jersey has won 10 of its last 11 to jump to the top of the Metropolitan Division. Nothing about what demons do seems coincidental either.
New Jersey leads the National Hockey League in 5 out of 5 goal difference, expected goal average and high chance of danger. Everything clicks. The demons seemed to be a force to be reckoned with, even if goalkeeping was still a concern.
The bookmakers noticed, and cut the Devils down to +2200, putting them in the same range as pre-season contenders like Wild, Rangers, and Penguins.
It’s hard to make holes in the beginning demons. The core numbers are elite, smooth-table criticisms have been thrown to bed after victories on avalanche, melds and flames (twice), and the New Jersey players are all in good shape. But, even with all this strong momentum, now is not the time to support the junior jersey.
Timing is a huge part of success as a bettor, and backing a long shot before the season after capturing the league’s attention with a seven-game winning streak is not the time to buy. The NHL season is a marathon and the Devils are going to do it. You have to deal with some adversity, so if you’re interested in joining the bandwagon, you’ll likely find a better time later in the campaign.
For the near future, it is very likely that demons will be overvalued on a game-to-game basis. The bookies will have to pay a premium to support this team for the next few matches, and this is not a great place for a team with a less reliable target.
Just because you sell a high team doesn’t mean you don’t think it’s good. The Devils have got all the respect they get now and they are clearly a strong team. But we’ll see some really short pricing on this team starting this week with a three-game span against Ottawa, Arizona and Montreal, and bettors should be looking for big numbers to fizzle out with a team that has priced itself off the market.
Buy Low: Pittsburgh Penguins (+3000, BetMGM)
The Pittsburgh Penguins were shot from a cannon in the first week of the regular season. Pittsburgh started the campaign 4-0-1 and scored six goals in each victory. The penguins are back. So they weren’t.
The Penguins are now in a six-game losing streak, 10 points behind the Leading Devils and five points behind the Lightning, who currently hold the last playoff spot. It’s too early to panic, but it’s certainly fair to wonder if Father Time has won another battle.
Despite their struggle, there is reason to be optimistic that the penguins should be able to climb up on the table. Pittsburgh generally controls play at 5 out of 5 and ranks in the top five in average goal expected rate and high chance chance rate. If the pens keep posting that kind of number, they will start winning matches.
It’s fair to be skeptical about how this list will hold up over an 82-game season, but having Pittsburgh at twice its odds since pre-season makes it an intriguing low buying opportunity in the futures market.
Betting on the NHL?
Buy high: Seattle Kraken (+8000, BetMGM)
Squad Pacific doesn’t play as expected, and that has opened up a legitimate path to success for the Seattle Kraken.
The general consensus this season has been that Pacific will be a two-horse race between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, with a throwback season from the Vegas Golden Knights potentially turning it into a three-way struggle.
Behind those three was meant to be a fight for fourth place, and a potential Wild Card spot, between the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks.
This was not the case.
While the Knights had risen to the top of the NHL, the Oilers and Flames had fizzled out, the Kings were inconsistent and the Canucks were a disaster.
Kraken benefited from the chaos by setting a record 8-4-2 in their first 14 games.
The numbers in Seattle aren’t striking, but the Kraken’s projected goal rate is well above 50% and essentially misses out on the high-risk opportunities so far.
But what is most encouraging for this team is that the depth shines through. Seattle may not have the high-end talent of some of its other competitors (although Matty Benners has gotten there), but the Kraken team makes up for it with their depth. Dave Hakstol can roll four lines and three defense pairs day and night, something very few teams can’t do thanks to the fixed salary cap.
There’s certainly a chance that Seattle will start to struggle as the season approaches, but given the state of the Pacific Division, the Kraken should have a pretty decent margin for error. In addition, Kraken has a lot of assets such as draft picks and prospects that they can give up on deadline to support their roster.
There are a number of different ways to play Kraken now. The +8000 figure in Seattle to win the Stanley Cup is certainly interesting, but you can also support head coach Dave Huxtol (+4000, Caesar) to win Jack Adams, too.
Overall, buying high on a long shot before the season after a hot start isn’t the best practice, but the numbers are still high enough in Seattle that bookies haven’t missed a great opportunity.
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