2022 Stanley Cup Odds & Picks: Our Favorite Futures Bets Before the Season
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog
- The NHL season starts Tuesday, so be sure to get your futures bets in ahead of time.
- We broke down our favorite bets to win the Stanley Cup, including the Stars at 35-1.
The 2021-22 NHL season is set to get underway on Tuesday, Oct. 12 when the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Before the puck drops, our hockey staff will highlight their favorite bets across the board. We’ve already covered the Calder, Vezina and Hart Trophy markets and picked out our favorite longshot bets, but today we will answer the question that is on everybody’s mind: Who is the best bet to win the Stanley Cup right now?
Click to expand full list of Stanley Cup odds by team
|Vegas Golden Knights||+600||10.87%|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+600||10.87%|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1100||6.34%|
|New York Islanders||+2000||3.62%|
|New York Rangers||+2200||3.31%|
|St. Louis Blues||+3300||2.24%|
|Los Angeles Kings||+6000||1.25%|
|New Jersey Devils||+6000||1.25%|
|San Jose Sharks||+8000||0.94%|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+10000||0.75%|
|Detroit Red Wings||+20000||0.38%|
Dallas Stars (+3500 @ BetMGM)
The Dallas Stars had a season from hell in 2021. Prior to the season the team learned that Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop were going to miss significant time. Then they had a COVID-19 outbreak. Then Jamie Benn got injured in their season opener. Then a winter storm hit Texas and cost them another week. The hits just kept coming, and the result was a jam-packed schedule with a shorthanded lineup.
Considering all that went wrong, the fact that Dallas was in the mix for a playoff spot was impressive in and of itself.
Even more encouraging was the fact that the Stars posted some of the best underlying metrics in the NHL in spite of all the adversity they dealt with.
Dallas was the third-best team at preventing high-danger chances, finished seventh in expected goals rate and allowed the third-fewest goals in 5-on-5 spots. Those numbers should have seen Dallas qualify for a postseason berth, but some atypically porous goaltending doomed the Stars to a lost season.
Rather than shake up a team that didn’t need much shaking, the Stars brought back the bulk of their roster from 2021. Ryan Suter was also signed as a replacement for Jamie Oleksiak, while Braden Holtby was added to provide more stability in goal.
The Suter move certainly fits with what the Stars are trying to do, but the Holtby acquisition was a bit of a head-scratcher since Dallas already had Anton Khudobin, Ben Bishop and Jake Oettinger in the goalie room. Bishop has barely played over the past two years, so Holtby does provide Rick Bowness with some more insurance in goal should Bishop get hurt or Khudobin struggle as he did last season.
Dallas’ defensive stability is pretty well known at this point, but its offense could be underrated heading into the season. The Stars finished in the bottom 10 in goals scored and expected goals for, but they did manage to finish seventh in high-danger chances created. The Stars’ struggles to score could also be chalked up to the fact that their two best playmakers – Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov – were limited to a combined 14 games.
Despite the injury issues, several players on the Stars produced at impressive clips. Jason Robertson took the league by storm in his rookie campaign, Joe Pavelski notched 25 goals, Denis Gurianov continued his upward trajectory and Roope Hintz tallied 43 points in 41 games.
Add in a full season of Seguin and Radulov to that group and there’s reason to believe that Dallas’ offense should be a strength for the team in this campaign.
The Stars are like the Islanders to an extent in that they likely won’t dominate during the regular season, but they will be an absolute pain to play against in the playoffs, should they get there. That’s why I think the best way to bet Dallas is to go big and chase Lord Stanley.
Dallas Stars (+3500)
After reaching Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in the 2020 bubble, the Dallas Stars’ followup season was torpedoed by more misfortune than any other club.
In January, a team-wide Covid outbreak tore through training camp, forcing the regular-season start to be pushed back. During winter storms in Texas in mid-February, players whose homes were without power were forced to bunk up with teammates while the Stars’ schedule was further condensed due to additional game postponements.
Dallas was also missing two of its most important forwards for most of the season. Tyler Seguin appeared in just three games after undergoing offseason hip surgery. Injuries limited Alexander Radulov to 11 games.
Despite all that, the Stars contended for a playoff spot until the bitter end, finishing just four points behind Nashville in the Central Division. Ageless wonder Joe Pavelski led the way at nearly a point-a-game pace, fueling a power play that was fifth in the league. Jason Robertson also lit the lamp, finishing as runner-up for the Calder Trophy. And the Stars remained defensively stingy, tied for the sixth-lowest goals against in the league.
This year, Seguin and Radulov are back, and healthy. They’ve got standout young defenseman Miro Heiskanen back in the fold, signed to a new eight-year contract. And their goaltending is deeper than deep. Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger are back, Braden Holtby signed on as a free agent and Ben Bishop, a three-time Vezina finalist, is close to being game-ready after knee surgery forced him to miss all of last season.
In 2020 the Dallas Stars showed that they’re built for playoffs, but their challenges last season have them flying under the radar at the sportsbooks. A futures bet on Dallas could deliver a big payout for bold bettors next summer.
Florida Panthers (+2000) & Colorado Avalanche (+600 @ BetMGM)
In the summer I outlined why I thought the time was right to buy on both the Panthers and Avalanche as outright winners. Nothing that’s happened since then has changed my mind.
Even considering the unpredictable nature of playoff hockey, this Avalanche roster is far enough ahead of the rest of the NHL for me to be comfortable backing the chalk. At +600, bookmakers are implying the Avs win the Cup 15.5% of the time, I think the number is actually a little higher than that.
Colorado’s elite core is still in its prime, so there is a pretty good chance that Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Samuel Girard and Devon Toews all progress this season. That is a scary thought if you’re backing another team.
Additionally, the Avs have a couple of terrific prospects in Bowen Byram and Alex Newhook that both figure to make meaningful contributions this season. Colorado did lose a few players from last season’s roster, but those losses were immediately rectified with the additions of Ryan Murray and Darcy Kuemper.
This roster has no weaknesses and, if anything, offers more upside this season compared to last. I think the most likely scenario is this number only gets shorter as the season wears on.
Speaking of teams with more upside than what we saw last year, I present the Florida Panthers. After a stellar performance last season, I think the Cats also offer Cup-level upside, so long as their goaltending situation works out.
Florida was already a deep squad, but the addition of Sam Reinhart projects to be a tremendous fit. Reinhart scored 25 goals on the historically-bad Sabres last year, so imagine what he can do on a team with the offensive firepower that the Panthers boast.
The Cats will also get Aaron Ekblad back after the former No. 1 overall pick had a superb season cut short by a gruesome leg injury in March.
Spencer Knight and Sergei Bobrovsky certainly could go either way as a goaltending tandem, but I am going to bet on Knight’s upside and think he can be a legit No. 1 netminder should Bob falter again.
Colorado Avalanche (+600 @ BetMGM)
I hate betting favorites, but this feels like Colorado’s year.
Colorado has been burned by officials, the bubble and a one-off year in the West Division, but the stars look like they’re aligning for Jared Bednar’s club, which by the way is loaded at every position.
There’s Cale Makar, Sam Girard and Bowen Byram on the backend. That dominant top line of Gabe Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen — which can be broken up to get more scoring depth if need be. Darcy Kuemper, who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes after Philipp Grubauer was signed by the Kraken, is a more-than-serviceable starter — assuming he can stay healthy.
There should be an urgency for Colorado to win too. After three straight heartbreaking second-round losses — they fell in Game 7 to San Jose in 2019, overtime of Game 7 to Dallas in 2020 and a six-game defeat against the Vegas Golden Knights last season — Colorado is playoff tested. The Avalanche have 10 pending unrestricted free agents after this season, including both goalies and their entire second line — Valeri Nichuhkin-Nazem Kadri-Andre Burakovsky — meaning it’s time for Colorado to win now.
Fortunately, there shouldn’t be an upstart to foil their plans before the Western Conference Final this season as the Central Division is extremely down. There’ll be no second-round date with Vegas looming. Plus if they finally reach the Stanley Cup Final, the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning should be worn out after a pair of deep playoff runs — one of which went into the fall, the other went into the summer.
Carolina Hurricanes (+2200 @ FanDuel)
The futures market is a volatile gambling space. Odds fluctuate based on how a team performs, decreasing as the betting public clues into how good a team can be. We can find the usual suspects at the top of the futures board, but there’s one team whose Stanley Cup futures odds don’t accurately capture their chances of winning it all — the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Canes have been metrics darlings, making the postseason in each of the past three seasons. Carolina made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019, lost to the Boston Bruins in the Round 1 in 2020, and was knocked out by the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Second Round in 2021.
From an advanced metrics perspective, only one team has had a better three seasons than the Hurricanes. At five-on-five, the Canes rank first in Corsi rating, second in shots percentage, third in relative high-danger opportunities, and fourth in scoring chances. In total, the Canes put up the second-best expected goals-for percentage, finishing sixth or better in expected goals-for percentage every year.
We have yet to see the heights the Rod Brind’Amour-led Canes can reach, though. Their actual output over the past three seasons remains below expected, implying that they are progression candidates in 2021-22.
One of the knocks on the Hurricanes over the past few seasons has been goaltending. The Hurricanes addressed that by signing Frederik Andersen to a two-year pact this off-season. Andersen had a rough couple of seasons in Toronto, putting up the worst statistical season of his career. The 32-year-old will have a chance to prove that last season was the exception and not the rule, but he won’t be the first marquee player to thrive once leaving T.O.
The Hurricanes are a legitimate contender again this season, and their futures odds do not reflect that. Carolina’s stock will rise throughout the season, and this will likely be the best price you get on them all year.
Minnesota Wild (+2500 @ FanDuel)
The first thing I always want for a Stanley Cup future bet is a favorable pathway to the postseason. Once you get in the dance, anything can happen so let’s start there. The Atlantic Division has four teams inside the top-10 on the oddsboard and the Metropolitan has five. I’ll be avoiding those divisions altogether.
The Minnesota Wild have the third-best odds in the Western Conference, and 12th-best overall at +2500 and this is where I see the most value. Minnesota has always been known for that grinding defense style that makes them a consistent contender, but the Wild have never had the scoring punch needed to push them over the top.
Over the last few years they have added more skill guys like Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Mats Zuccarello and 2021 Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov helped lead the team to the eighth-most goals in the league last year. He could get even more help this year if Marco Rossi and Matthew Boldy eventually make the jump.
Defensively, Minnesota has remained steady. The Wild allowed the second-fewest High Danger Chances in the league last year, just one more than Colorado. The Wild have a solid goaltending tandem in Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen returning as well. Minnesota had the fifth-best xGA per 60 last season, the ninth straight year they finished in the top five.
The main competition for the Wild in the West will be Colorado and Vegas, but Minnesota has played the two of them to a fairly even 25-24 record over the last four years, and was able to take the Golden Knights to seven games in the playoffs last year.
We have seen how well the defensive-minded teams have thrived in the postseason, and the Wild play that ideal style of hockey for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have added the offensive weapons to complement it, and have a reasonable path to not just make the playoffs, but go on a run. I love the value on Minnesota at +2500 at FanDuel.