| Sportsbook Wire
The 2021 NHL season begins Wednesday and is expected to run through Saturday, May 8. Each team is scheduled to play 56 games with all games played within regionally-aligned divisions. Below, we make our NHL betting picks and predictions to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.
Also see:Bet Slippin’ Podcast on NHL futures
2021 Stanley Cup betting picks – Favorite
Colorado Avalanche (+700)
The Avalanche head into the season as the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Their odds have dropped slightly since opening as +800 favorites immediately after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2019-20 Cup in the bubble of Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
Colorado finished the 2019-20 NHL regular season second in the Western Conference’s Central Division but lost in seven games to the Dallas Stars in the second round of the playoffs. The roster has solidified this offseason with the trade acquisition of W Brandon Saad and the promising, young defense corps looks to take another step forward under head coach Jared Bednar.
While the value isn’t great for a bet on the Avalanche with a full 56 games still to be played, we’ve already seen their odds drop and a quick start to the season will lower the potential payout even more. Through nearly a full sporting season under COVID-19-altered conditions, we’ve already seen the preseason favorites win the 2019-20 Stanley Cup (Lightning), NBA Championship (Los Angeles Lakers), World Series (Los Angeles Dodgers) and the Kansas City Chiefs are well-positioned for Super Bowl LV.
There’s something to backing favorites in these shortened and volatile seasons.
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2021 Stanley Cup betting picks – Contender
Washington Capitals (+2200)
The Capitals’ 2019-20 season ended with a five-game first-round series loss to the New York Islanders. The early exit overshadowed a 41-20-8 regular-season record that had the Caps leading the Metropolitan Division when play was suspended in mid-March.
G Braden Holtby left via free agency, but G Ilya Samsonov is fully capable of handling a full workload. He’ll be backed up by experienced starter Craig Anderson. Veteran D Zdeno Chara was also added late in free agency to bolster the defense corps.
Superstars LW Alex Ovechkin, C Nicklas Backstrom, RW T.J. Oshie and D John Carlson all return as well and will keep Washington one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL.
2021 Stanley Cup betting picks – Long shot
New York Rangers (+3000)
The Rangers controversially won the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft after finishing the regular season at 37-28-5 and with 79 points through 70 games. They were swept in three games by the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Qualifying Round in Toronto to enter the draft lottery.
In the draft, they selected LW Alexis Lafreniere, who’ll join top-tier forwards Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko. G Igor Shesterkin takes over from longtime Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist in net and will look to build on a strong rookie campaign in which he posted a .932 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average over 12 starts.
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