Stanley Cup Odds: Avalanche Strengthen Position As Favorites

Colorado Avalanche teammates Mikko Rantanen, right, and Gabriel Landeskog, left, celebrate a win against the Edmonton Oilers in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on June 4, 2022.
Image Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

As the great George Carlin said, hockey is actually three activities: ice skating, playing with a puck, and beating the … out of somebody. That said, we love the merging of those three activities into one, especially this time of year, when Stanley Cup odds take center ice.

No one is doing a better job at those three activities than the Colorado Avalanche. As has been the case all season, the Avalanche are the favorites in odds to win the Stanley Cup. And they’re becoming bigger favorites all the time, as the conference finals continue. dives into the latest on NHL Stanley Cup playoff odds and action, with insights from BetMGM.

2021-22 Stanley Cup Odds

Colorado Avalanche-190
New York Rangers+375
Tampa Bay Lightning+400
Edmonton Oilers+6600

Odds via BetMGM and updated as of 1:30 p.m. ET on June 6.

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Front and Center Ice

Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane, left, hits Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, right, in the third period of game two of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena on June 2, 2022.
Image Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last July, Colorado opened as the +600 favorite in BetMGM’s 2021-22 Stanley Cup odds market. Little has happened since then to change oddsmakers’ minds, with the Avalanche now moving deeper into minus-money territory at -190 to win the Cup. Colorado has a 3-0 lead over the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals. A win Monday night on the road will send the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Final.

At BetMGM, the Avalanche are a trouble spot as the book’s largest liability. Colorado is far and away the leader in tickets and money, taking 26% of all bets and 33% of all money in the Stanley Cup futures market. Throughout the season, Colorado has been far more popular than any other team. Of the other three remaining in Cup contention, none have garnered more than 9% of tickets, and only Tampa Bay cracks double digits in money wagered on — and just barely so, at 11%.

So Colorado is drawing three times more tickets and three times more money than any of the other contenders.

“The Avalanche are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup and have been a big problem from a liability perspective since BetMGM posted opening odds,” BetMGM sports trader Christian Cipollini said. “The sportsbook is cheering for any other team to lift the Cup.”

The Avalanche swept the Nashville Predators 4-0 in the first round. In the West semifinals, Colorado fended off the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in the seven-game series.

Ticket Takers and (Possibly) Money Makers

New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller, front, celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in game two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 3, 2022.
Image Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Again, Colorado is No. 1 by a mile in tickets and money at BetMGM nationwide. Two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay is third in tickets — behind now-eliminated President’s Trophy winner Florida — and second in money, but is trails the New York Rangers 2-1 in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Lightning opened last summer at +750 to three-peat as champs. Entering the postseason, Tampa was at +1100, then moved to +650 after topping Toronto in seven games. Tampa then went out and swept Florida in the second round, making the Lightning the first team to reach the conference finals. So BetMGM moved Tampa into the +230 second choice, a significant jump from the ‘Ning’s +1600 price early in the first round.

After losing Games 1 and 2 to the Rangers, the Lightning slid to +650. But a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in Game 3 improved Tampa’s odds to +400.

But now facing that 2-0 deficit, the Lightning slid to +650.

The Rangers opened at +2500, entered the first round at +1600 and the second round at +1400. New York dropped Games 1 and 2 at Carolina in Round 2, but outlasted the Hurricanes to win the seven-game series, 4-3. The Rangers closed into +260 after taking a 2-0 series lead over the Lightning.

Now up 2-1 in the East finals, the Rangers are at +375, still second among the four remaining teams. New York ranks fourth in Stanley Cup ticket count and money. But thanks to those longer odds and the popularity of a major-market team, Cipollini said the Rangers are BetMGM’s second-worst outcome in the Stanley Cup odds market. Colorado and New York are the only losers for the book.

Cipollini said BetMGM is a winner to another Lightning title, but more so had hoped fourth choice Edmonton could keep pulling off upsets. Perhaps Tampa can get it back together against New York and reach the Stanley Cup Final, but Edmonton is all but cooked against Colorado.

The Oilers are the long shots of the Final Four. Connor McDavid and Co. opened last summer at +2800, began the playoffs at +1800 and got to +1400 pre-second round. Then the Oilers upset the Alberta rival Calgary Flames in five games to move into +550 before Game 1 vs. Colorado. After the Game 1 loss, the Oilers slid out to +900, and now facing a 3-0 series deficit, Edmonton is out to +6600.

Despite Connor McDavid’s star power and consistently longer odds, the Oilers just didn’t attract the attention of most bettors, even during the postseason. The Oilers are eighth in ticket count and money, meaning that although they’ve reached the Final Four, they still lag behind four teams already eliminated from Cup contention.