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Latest 2019 Stanley Cup Winner Odds – Tampa Bay, the Favorites

By Cornelius Sutton in Sports
| December 19, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Stanley Cup 2019 Odds

As teams are approaching the halfway mark of the NHL season, it’s time to talk about which teams look to be separating themselves as contenders.

Going into the 2018-19 NHL season, there were two teams that were considered heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Those were the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Halfway into the season, these two teams are still the top two favorites in terms of Stanley Cup futures odds. But who are the other contenders?

Starting this week, I’ll be posting regular updates on the latest odds for teams to win the 2019 Stanley Cup. Not all teams will be included, as I’ll be focusing on the ones I feel are worthy of discussion.

For this initial update, there are currently 14 teams with odds of +2500 or lower. I have narrowed the list to ten teams and divided those then into six contenders and four pretenders.

The teams that I touch on as contenders will be the ones that I consider having enough value, in terms of their odds, to consider backing.

As for the pretenders, these will be the teams that I feel do not currently have good enough value to invest any amount of money on but that could realistically bring themselves into contention in the future.

Before we get into which teams to consider for a bet, I’ll start with some of the current futures odds.

Stanley Cup Finals Futures Odds – As of 12/18

All odds for this post were provided by SportsBetting.ag. Don’t feel that you have to use just the one site for your NHL betting, though, as there are plenty of other sports betting sites out there that we recommend.

Futures odds are always changing, so it’s good to make sure you shop your lines and check out where you can find the best value before making a bet.

Tampa Bay Lightning+600
Toronto Maple Leafs+700
Nashville Predators+700
Winnipeg Jets+1000
Washington Capitals+1400
Boston Bruins+1600
Buffalo Sabres+1600
Colorado Avalanche+1600
Calgary Flames+2000
Columbus Blue Jackets+2000
Minnesota Wild+2000
San Jose Sharks+2000
Pittsburgh Penguins+2200
Vegas Golden Knights+2500

Even if you don’t see your favorite team on this list, it does not mean that they don’t have current odds for them. I just like to cut the list down to the teams that present a realistic shot at winning the cup.

I will typically make the cutoff at +2500, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever talk about a team that has higher odds than that as a good team to consider for a futures bet.

Stanley Cup Contenders

With almost half the teams in the NHL still with +2500 odds or lower, I’ll now focus on the teams that I think present genuine value to win the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Going into the 2018-19 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning was the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, after about half of the NHL season, the Lightning is still the betting favorite.

One doesn’t have to look far to see why the Lightning is still considered the favorite. For starters, they currently hold the league lead in points and also hold a solid lead over the team in second.

Tampa still has, from top to bottom, among the best core group of players in the NHL, including a top-ranked defense.

On top of a defense all teams envy, the Lightning has arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. Andrei Vasilevskiy is a big reason the Tampa Bay Lightning is still considered a top contender this season to win it all.

Add the experience the roster gained the past couple of seasons while trying to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and you can see why this Tampa Bay team is still primed to make a serious run at winning it all in 2018-19.

Sitting with odds of 6/1, there is no shame in placing a wager on the betting favorite at the books. We can’t assume that the bookmakers are ALWAYS right, or there’d be little point in placing any wagers ever. But they do know what they’re doing, so we shouldn’t be surprised if their preseason favorite goes on to win it all.

Washington Capitals

Going into this season, I was of the mindset that the Washington Capitals were going to have one of the biggest championship hangovers in recent memory. Well, almost halfway through the season, I could not have been more wrong.

The current defending Stanley Cup champions lost their enforcer, Tom Wilson, for the first 20 games of this season, leading me to believe that the Capitals were going to have a slow start to the season and play themselves out of the playoffs early on.

Well, I am changing course and now believe that the Washington Capitals have what it takes to win it all in back to back years.

It takes heart and soul in addition to talent to win the Stanley Cup, and Washington has continued to show all of these components. They should easily coast into the playoffs again this year and with proper pacing will be a serious threat to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

Winnipeg Jets

This was the team I felt last season had it all put together to win it all. Unfortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, they ran into the buzz saw known as the Vegas Golden Knights last postseason in the Western Conference Finals.

A big part of picking a team to win it all in their respective sport is to find the team that has learned from previous mistakes. Last year, the Winnipeg Jets were able to take down the Nashville Predators but had no physical or emotional capital left to spend when it came to them facing the Vegas Golden Knights.

For this year, I am betting on the fact that they learned the hard way last season and will learn from their mistakes. They should have a better idea of what it takes to go all the way and raise the Stanley Cup.

The Winnipeg Jets still have the same nucleus from a year ago. I am always a fan of teams that bring back their core of players for another run at winning it all. Their players are entering the prime of their careers, and they have the support from their front office and fans to make another run this season.

Look for the front office of the Jets to go after some veteran players at the trade deadline to improve the depth of their roster. A downfall last season was that their team was exhausted by the time they made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Going after some players at the trade deadline will allow them to rest certain players so that they are not burned out come playoff time.

The NHL playoffs are one of the toughest to get through, and many teams find themselves running out of healthy players by the time they get deep into the playoffs. With the Winnipeg Jets having gone through this already, they know they need to pace themselves better to leave something in the tank.

At a price of +1000, I think this team provides more than enough value to take a shot on for a futures bet.

Nashville Predators

This next team is another one that falls into the category of coming close in previous seasons, but coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The biggest challenge for the Nashville Predators seems to be getting out of their own conference. Last season, the Nashville Predators lost in seven games to the Winnipeg Jets, another team that is a contender on this list.

Nashville made it all the way to the Stanley Cups Finals in 2016-17 but came up short, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to two.

I am always of the mindset that not only do champions have hangovers from winning but so do their opponents. I typically feel that teams will take a step back following a championship series lost before taking two steps forward.

It makes me feel that this is Nashville’s year. They have the experience from previous runs to the Stanley Cup that now provides them with the experience needed to win it all. Add the players who lost the previous seasons, and they know that they only are given a certain number of opportunities to win it all.

Teams can’t keep a championship group together forever, so being that the Nashville Predators have come close the last two playoffs, I have them being the team that makes it out of the Western Conference this year.

Vegas Golden Knights

This is the dark horse of the contenders. When considering the value of this pick at +2500, it’s hard to find a reason as to why this team shouldn’t be considered as a contender.

The season started off slow for the Vegas Golden Knights. Especially when compared to last season when the Vegas Golden Knights were shot out of a cannon and set all kinds of records for how well they started their season.

This season, not so much. After their best defender, Nate Schmidt, was suspended for the first 20 games of the 2018-19 season, newly acquired Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty were lost to injuries.

With the major suspension and multiple injuries passed, the Vegas Golden Knights began to play like the team their fans were used to seeing last year. The Golden Knights went from one of the worst records to the top wild card spot after regaining their full roster.

With GM George McPhee having the ability to build a championship roster, I like the way the Vegas Golden Knights are looking as we reach the midway point of the season.

Teams must have defense and a top goalie to make a serious run in the Stanley Cup Finals. With past champion Marc-Andre Fleury defending the goal, the Vegas Golden Knights will have the ability to make a run just based on their defense.

It has taken a little bit of time to get newcomers like Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny to gel with the rest of the guys, but it will only be a matter of time before everyone is on the same page and functioning as a well-oiled machine working as efficiently as possible.

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks currently is the team that piques my interest the most. The main reason is their odds at +2000. For me, this is the type of value that one looks for when looking to make a futures bet.

A major factor that I take into consideration when determining a value bet like this is how the roster is currently constructed.

There are many positions that teams can find at the trade deadline, but if they do not have a strong defense and goalie already, they will be caught in the same sinking ship as the rest of the league, desperately looking for a goalie or defensemen to save them.

Not for the San Jose Sharks. They entered the season trading for arguably the best defensemen in the game in Erik Karlsson. San Jose ranks above the league average in defensive stats and would be better if their team could play balanced hockey.

Even though San Jose has improvements that will need to be made to seriously make a run at the Cup, they have the right foundation. Their defensive players, if supplemented with the right offensive help at the trade deadline, could allow them to be the team that makes a run at it all come playoff time.

Stanley Cup Pretenders

Buffalo Sabres

This next team starts off the dreaded pretender list.

One of the main reasons the Sabres find themselves on the pretender list is because of the stacked division that they are in, making their route to the Stanley Cup Finals that much more difficult.

With teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs within the same division, the Sabres’ route to just getting out of their division would be hard enough. If they can make it by their division into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then they will have as good of a shot as any to make a run at the Cup.

The Sabres are a team that likely lacks the playoff experience to make a serious run even if they were to make the playoffs. If the Sabres are not capable of making a serious playoff run, then there is no reason to be placing any amount of money on them to win the Stanley Cup.

Boston Bruins

Boy, is the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference loaded. Time to meet another team from the Atlantic division: the Boston Bruins.

It’s yet another team that has an unlucky draw. If they were in the Metropolitan Division, the Boston Bruins would be fighting for the second spot behind the defending champion Washington Capitals.

Instead, Boston finds themselves behind two contenders on this list and another team that is in the same boat as the Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres.

What has killed the Boston Bruins so far this season is all their injuries. Two of their top players in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara both missed significant time early on this year, putting the Bruins in the tough spot of playing catch-up.

In the current spot that the Boston Bruins are in, they can only currently be classified as a pretender. Until I see more out of them, and they get healthy, I will be avoiding any futures bet on the Bruins for this year.

Colorado Avalanche

Colorado has established themselves as one of those teams that can win anytime, against anyone.

Unfortunately for the same Colorado Avalanche team this season, they have lost to a lot of teams that they have no business losing to. Often, they play up versus a better opponent and play down to a lesser opponent.

This team characteristic combined with being the face of inconsistency are just a couple of reasons as to why the Colorado Avs find themselves on the pretenders list instead of on the contender side.

For the Colorado Avs to move up to a contender, they will need to be more consistent and show up versus every type of opponent. Colorado’s defense must also start showing up each night to complement its top line of forwards.

I have always found it hard for a team to make a serious playoff run without some sort of defensive ability. Add the inconsistency, and the Avs contain two of my least favorite characteristics when trying to find a team to make a futures bet on.

Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild is another team that is too inconsistent. There is literally no reason to make a futures bet on a team that can’t consistently put together winning streaks. If a team can’t beat a good team in a playoff series, they are not worth investing any amount of money on.

This is the case for the Minnesota Wild this season. Like the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild can beat a lot of top teams on any given night.

The problem is, though, that they can also lose to bottom-dwelling teams on any given night. If a team can win and lose to a wide range of opponents, how are you going to feel comfortable taking them when they are only playing top teams in a best of seven series?

If you ask me, I’d feel more comfortable sleeping on a bed of nails.

Another reason I am not high on the Wild this season is because nothing has changed for them. Year in and year out, the Wild find themselves exiting the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round.

After hiring a new GM, I thought the Wild would start off with a clean state. This was not the case. New GM Paul Fenton has come in and changed nothing. He kept head coach Bruce Boudreau and kept Wild veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on the roster.

What’s the definition of insanity again? Trying the same thing over and over while expecting a different result? Oh no, Wild fans.

Recap

With the NHL season coming up on the halfway point soon, it’s a good time to take a closer look at which teams are contenders to win the Stanley Cup Finals, as well as determining which of those teams deserves an investment on for a futures bet.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you have a couple of teams you feel good about that provide the type of value we all look to bet. On top of pointing out some value plays, I hope you liked reading about some teams to avoid now in an effort to save some money for better value later.

As the season gets closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, look for more updates on the futures odds for the Stanley Cup Finals. Also, keep an eye out for more contender analysis, because as I stated earlier, teams can change from one list to the other as soon as the right value presents itself.

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