UPDATE: The 2014 NHL Stanley Cup finals are set. New York Rangers (+130) Vs. Los Angeles Kings (+150). Click here for more info.
Telling you which team has the best odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup has more to do with the quality of the team than the quantity they represent in the futures market. To win a championship you need to be defensively minded, physical and dynamic up front on the offensive end. You also need a world class net minder who is as tough as they come mentally.
These are my five favorite long term plays heading in to the first round of the playoffs, which begin on Wednesday.
Who Has The Best Odds To Win The 2014 Stanley Cup?
Can The Boston Bruins Win The 2014 Stanley Cup?
The reason that Boston is +405 compared to Pittsburgh at +675 is simple: Boston has a proven track record of success in the recent post season. The Bruins aren’t just the best take to win the 2014 Stanley Cup overall, they’re the best team. If you don’t like tight numbers, then these guys aren’t the team for you because they’re the favorite and that’s that. But surefire commodities are hard to come by in the NHL especially in the playoffs. Boston and one of the next three teams are as close as you can get.
Can The Chicago Blackhawks Win The 2014 Stanley Cup?
Of all the teams that are on the board, the Blackhawks have arguably the best odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup at +825. That’s a great return on a defending champion that has two handfuls of world-class players and a proven track record in the playoffs. Chicago has won two of the last four championships and are getting leaders Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back at the right time.
Part of me is a bit bored with Chicago. I don’t know why I don’t admire them and tout their dynastic ways. I probably should. They’ve been a tad lazy in the regular season, but it’s hard to blame them and when the playoffs are in heat, they’re as hot as anyone. You’re not going to get better odds on any team in the playoffs…unless you’re wondering if…
Can The St. Louis Blues Win The 2014 Stanley Cup?
It hasn’t happened in over forty years and the team has actually been worse since the acquisition of Ryan Millers, going just 3-7 SU down the stretch. Does any of that matter to me when I’m staring at them with +875 odds to win the Stanley Cup? Honestly I can’t pick between the Blues and the Blackhawks so I’m actually backing both (wish is legal in the futures market) because I think whomever wins this series will be galvanized through to the NHL Finals.
Team defense usually wins out in the NHL, and with Ryan Miller entering the playoffs with the best team he’s ever played behind, there’s plenty of reason to believe. I’ve liked St. Louis from the onset of the season. I’m not going to back down from them now just because they drew against Chicago in the opening round of the NHL playoffs.
Can The Anaheim Ducks Win The 2014 Stanley Cup?
The Anaheim Ducks are a tough study for a handicapper because I can’t ignore the numbers, and nothing suggests that the offensive maelstrom that Anaheim just put on display during the regular season can maintain its momentum in the playoffs.
No team has just ripped through the post-season with offensive capabilities alone, including Anaheim which won their last two Cups thanks to the Niedermeyer-Pronger combination on the blue line. It’s for that reason that I think that the Blues and Blackhawks are better values in this range. I wouldn’t touch Anaheim’s +900 odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup, but I think they’ll be a fun game-to-game play in the meantime.
Can The Philadelphia Flyers Win the 2014 Stanley Cup?
The Flyers might not be the longshot you though I was going to take, but in my books they are amongst the teams that have the best odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup simply because of their physical style of play.
The Eastern Conference doesn’t have many brutes – Pittsburgh can get punched in the mouth, Montreal has a small lineup and Tampa Bay is being held together by string and duct tape. Philadelphia is in for a war with the Rangers in the first round, but past that, the competition should be relatively light except for Boston. The Flyers are a dynamic and capable team. If they play with a level head and stop picking up so many damn penalties, then their +2600 odds go from “decent” to “the best” in terms of probability and payout.