The 3 Best Bets to Win 2021 Stanley Cup

Stanley Cup Best Bets & Picks - Hurricanes, Penguins, Oilers

Carolina Hurricanes’ Dougie Hamilton (19) celebrates a goal by teammate Sebastian Aho, not pictured, during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

  • The quest for the 2021 Stanley Cup starts on May 15th with a 16 team playoff
  • Which teams are the best bets to make before the playoffs start?
  • Read below to find out which teams still offer value and which dark horse you should be considering to win the 2021 Stanley Cup

If there’s one thing we learned from this NHL season, is that even a global pandemic can’t stop the great game of hockey from being played. It wasn’t exactly easy, but the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally here. Like they were at the beginning of the season, the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites in the Stanley Cup odds entering the playoffs. But are they necessarily the best bet?

Entering as +450 favorites, the Avalanche only hold a small advantage in the odds to the Vegas Golden Knights as they narrowly beat them out for the 2021 Presidents’ Trophy.

Then there’s the North Division where you have the Leafs and Oilers as real contenders to hoist Lord Stanley. Will McDavid or Matthews be able to score at this high of level when they venture outside of the North Division?

Since the Avalanche don’t have as much value as they did when the season started, and they are the favorite, I will be keeping them off this column. That being said, let’s take a look at three teams I think offer value and have a good chance at winning the 2021 Stanley Cup.

>> Download Printable 2021 NHL Playoffs Bracket <<

Carolina Hurricanes Stanley Cup Odds

Team Opening Stanley Cup Odds (Sept.30) Stanley Cup Odds (Mar. 12) Current Stanley Cup Odds (May. 14)
Carolina Hurricanes +2800 +1300 +750

Hurricanes Are NHL’s Most Resilient Team

  • Pre-Season Over/Under Point Total: 71.5
    • 2020-21 NHL Season Points: 80 (1st Place in Central)

The Canes were dealt their fair share of bad bounces this season. Petr Mrazek went down early in the year with a thumb injury, and multiple players were put on the COVID-19 list for extended periods of time. Nonetheless, Rob Brind’Amour has instilled resiliency in his team. Despite these hiccups, the Canes were able to lock up their first division title since 2005-06.

After Mrazek went down, individuals believed that the Canes would suffer in the Central. Well, Alex Nedeljkovic had something to say about that. The 25-year-old had an elite season posting a 15-5-3 record, along with a 1.90 GAA and a .929 SV%.

Along with having forward Sebastian Aho, the Hurricanes possess a very balanced lineup with a lot of contributors. Aho was their leading scorer posting 57 points in 56 games. However, names like Martin Necas and Brady Skjei left their mark when others couldn’t. Necas finished with 41 points and led the team with a +25 plus/minus.

This team is atop of all the important stats heading into the playoffs. They have the fourth-best Corsi % (53.93), third-best PK % (85.2), and have the second-best PP % (25.6) in the NHL. Not to mention, the Hurricanes were 36-20 on the moneyline this season and 20-8 at home.

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This team has not made the playoffs often over the last 10 years, but when they have they go deep. In 2002, 2006, 2009, and 2019 they made it to the conference finals. In 2006, they ended up winning the Stanley Cup with none other than Brind’Amour leading the charge as their captain. They’ve lost quite a bit of value from the beginning of the season (+2800), but they are still my best bet to win the Stanley Cup at this point.

Best Bet: Carolina Hurricanes (+750)

Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Odds

Team Opening Stanley Cup Odds (Sept.30) Stanley Cup Odds (Mar. 12) Current Stanley Cup Odds (May. 14)
Pittsburgh Penguins +2200 +2400 +1300

Penguins Surging With Experience

  • Pre-Season Over/Under Point Total: 68.5
    • 2020-21 NHL Season Points: 77 (1st Place in East)

There’s no denying that the change in front office sparked something in Pittsburgh this season. Since Ron Hextall took over as GM and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations on February 9th, the Penguins are 31-11-3. Prior to that, the Penguins had just one regulation win in 11 games.

The problem was never scoring for this experienced squad. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel combined for 47 goals and 72 assists this season, while Malkin dealt with injury issues. He ended up with eight goals and 28 points in 33 regular-season games.

The Pens were a force offensively, scoring the fifth-most goals in the NHL (126) and sporting the fifth-best goal differential (+25) heading into the playoffs. They struggled defensively at the beginning of the season, but the likes of Kris Letang, John Marino, and Michael Matheson surged in the second half of the year in the defensive end. Letang and Marino had the highest Corsi Ratings on their teams at 52.7% and 51.0% respectively.

The acquisition of Jeff Carter has led to the Penguins’ late-season success. They head into the playoffs with a wealth of Stanley Cup experience and winners of 10 out of their last 11 games. Not to mention, they were one of the most profitable teams for bettors on the moneyline with a ROI% of 26.64.

This team has been undervalued all year because of their poor start, and they continue to be in the 2021 NHL Playoffs. +1300 is a great price to pay for the East Division winners.

Best Bet: Pittsburgh Penguins (+1300)

Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Odds

Team Opening Stanley Cup Odds (Sept.30) Stanley Cup Odds (Mar. 12) Current Stanley Cup Odds (May. 14)
Edmonton Oilers +2200 +2400 +2000

Connor McDavid’s Oilers Offer Value

  • Pre-Season Over/Under Point Total: 64.5
    • 2020-21 NHL Season Points: 74 (2nd Place in North)

The Oilers and Connor McDavid have been the talk of the North Division for a good chunk of the season. Well, maybe it was just McDavid, but still, if you’re averaging almost two points per game you deserve all the press in the world.

People have almost forgotten the Oilers also have the best German hockey player to ever walk the earth.  Last year’s Hart Trophy winner finished second behind McDavid in points this year with 83 (31 G, 52 A). Can these two be stopped in a seven-game series? I honestly don’t think so.

If Mike Smith can continue on this good stretch, I think they can definitely get out of the North Division and even make a run at the cup. He boasts 21 wins, a 2.31 GAA, and a .923 SV% this season. Not to mention, he won four out of his last five starts to end the regular season.

Their penalty kill ranks 10th in the NHL, but they have the best power play in the league thanks to McJesus. Their defense has always had question marks, but this year their defensemen have been making up for it on the offensive end. Darnell Nurse is having an insane year, posting 16 goals, 39 points, and a plus/minus of +29. The addition of Tyson Barrie has also been key.

I believe the Leafs’ goaltending will hurt them in a seven-game series, even against the Habs, but even more so if they play the Oilers. If you have the best hockey player on the planet anywhere near 20/1 odds in anything, you take it. That’s why I’m rolling with the Oilers as my longshot pick to win the Stanley Cup.

Longshot Bet: Edmonton Oilers (+2000)