With the opening of NHL training camps just days away, it is time to take a close-up look at the best bets on the NHL futures for the upcoming 2021-2022 season. The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off a dominating march to their second straight Stanley Cup victory but look towards the new season trailing the Colorado Avalanche, who once again find themselves as favourites on the Stanley Cup odds. While the Lightning and Avalanche return to action atop their familiar betting perches, the Montreal Canadiens face tempered expectations at the sportsbooks following their unlikely run to their first berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends as the countdown toward the start of the NHL season continues. Sports bettors looking to get in on NHL action for the first time can refer to our NHL betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their hockey betting experience.
Lightning Poised for Run at Three-Peat
The Tampa Bay Lightning firmly established themselves as a hockey dynasty during their march to a second straight Stanley Cup win last season. While the Lightning were forced to settle for third place in the temporarily realigned Central Division, they remained a dominant force in the postseason, losing just seven total games on their way to a second straight championship win.
No asterisk necessary: Tampa Bay Lightning winning Stanley Cup back to back in salary cap NHL during pandemic make these arguably the toughest hockey championships ever achieved.https://t.co/Jmrm2NlOkUpic.twitter.com/P6XmboSi0E
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 9, 2021
While the Lightning are set to return to action with their championship core largely intact, they find themselves lagging behind Colorado as a second favourite on the Stanley Cup odds, with a $20 bet at Bet99 (7.20) paying out $144. The club’s return to the Atlantic Division has not helped their cause. Tampa Bay enters the upcoming campaign faced with the difficult task of keeping pace with formidable divisional opponents including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Florida Panthers, all of whom closely trail the champions on the divisional odds.
— Jets Army (@jetsarmy) September 8, 2021
Colorado is well-positioned to finally take the next step they have consistently fallen short of in recent years, as they return to action as Stanley Cup betting favourites at BetSafe (6.00), where a $20 bet returns just $120. While the Avalanche parted ways with goaltender Philipp Grubauer, they have otherwise kept their star-studded lineup intact, and enjoy the benefit of what is expected to be weaker competition in the Central Division.
Fade the Canadiens
The Vegas Golden Knights round out the top of the Stanley Cup odds board, with odds as short as 7.00 at Betway, while the Maple Leafs and Bruins lead the best of the rest. The Montreal Canadiens emerged as the biggest surprise story of last season, but are set to open the season well of the pace in Stanley Cup betting, and with good reason. The Canadiens benefited from both last season’s abbreviated schedule and weaker competition in the all-Canadian North Division.
Nick Suzuki with the rest of the Canadiens’ centre depth. pic.twitter.com/wJ0Pt62c4m
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) September 4, 2021
However, the loss of captain Shea Weber to injury further depletes a defensive corps with limited depth. Questions also exist about the club’s depth up the middle after losing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the Carolina Hurricanes over the offseason. And after winning just 24 of 56 games last season, the Canadiens are likely to wear down over the long haul against clearly superior divisional rivals. That should be enough to convince sports bettors to fade the Canadiens on the NHL futures and season props, with the best value to be found on the team’s regular-season point totals at Funbet, where they pegged as a solid 1.95 bet to rack up UNDER 89.5 points.
Long Suffering Panthers Offer Top Value on Stanley Cup Odds
Conversely, it is one of the Canadiens’ Atlantic Division rivals that currently offers the best value on the Stanley Cup odds. The Florida Panthers took a major step towards flipping the script on their recent dismal track record last season by winning 37 games and claiming second place in the Central Division. The club has also recently made some key acquisitions, acquiring Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour ahead of last season’s Trade Deadline, and picking up Sam Reinhart from Buffalo over the summer.
Currently listed as a 23.00 bet on the Stanley Cup odds at Betway, the Panthers are tough to ignore considering the steady progress they have made over the past two seasons. The club proved it could keep pace with powerhouse teams like the Lightning last season and should be in the thick of what is likely to be a tight battle for the first place in the Atlantic Division.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) September 7, 2021
The big challenge facing the Panthers is putting the brakes on a run of playoff futility that dates back a generation. Florida has failed to win a playoff series in six postseason appearances since their unlikely drive to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, winning just nine total playoff games during that stretch.
But with three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville set to begin his first full-length, uninterrupted season behind the bench, and superstars Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov set to build on last season’s outstanding performances, the Panthers remain the best value bet to claim their first-ever Stanley Cup title.
The Picks: Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup (23.00 at Betway); Montreal Canadiens UNDER 89.5 regular-season points (1.95 at Funbet)