Our own Cara Bahniuk was in Las Vegas this week for Washington’s ignominious loss to the Golden Knights. But it wasn’t all defeat. Depending on how these bets go, it might end up having been a pretty profitable trip. For me, at least.
Cara was kind enough to supply the Vegas odds for every team to win the Stanley Cup. Here they are as of February 10. To be circumspect, I’ve also included the percentage chances for each team to win the Cup according to Athletic writer Dom Luszczyszyn as of February 19.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||6/1||27%|
|Vegas Golden Knights||8/1||5%|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||10/1||3%|
|St. Louis Blues||8/1||8%|
|San Jose Sharks||80/1||0%|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||30/1||0%|
|New York Islanders||25/1||1%|
|Detroit Red Wings||1000/1||0%|
|Los Angeles Kings||1000/1||0%|
|New Jersey Devils||1000/1||0%|
|New York Rangers||100/1||0%|
With those odds in mind and with a limited amount of money to spend taken out of my monthly burrito budget ($70), here are the bets I made, in ascending order of buckwilderness.
Odds: 6 to 1
This, as they say on Downton Abbey, is rather small beer. Tampa is a great team, and I made this bet prior to the odds readjusting following the Blake Coleman trade, which I really like for Tampa’s depth. The Bolts are the odds-on favorite to win the Cup according to both Dom and Vegas, and I have a feeling Vegas is slightly low on them. Regardless, I consider this more of a hedge than anything else: I make back half my total spend if they win.
Odds: 8 to 1
This is another small-ish bet to give me permission to make some wilder ones below. The Vegas Golden Knights, at least right now, look scary. They control shot share better than any team in the league and have a first-class expected-goals percentage to match. They’ve got so much talent up front — with blue-chip stars like Mark Stone and Jonathan Marchessault — plus some overperforming depth pick-ups like good ol’ formerly no-shooting Chandler Stephenson. They have weaknesses too, though. Their PK is bottom-ten, and Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t exactly in peak form (about five goals below expected during five-on-five).
Odds: 15 to 1
The new leaders of the Metropolitan Division are impressive. They’ve been devastated by injury all season and have remained productive anyway. Now they’ve added Jason Zucker, who I think is one of the most interesting players in the NHL. Frankly, as long as this team has Crosby and Malkin, they’re always going to go for it in the playoffs, and that’s the right move. If they’re lucky enough to be healthy and get some good goaltending, this will have been a good bet.
Odds: 8 to 1
I’m bearish about the western conference in general, but I love the way Colorado plays. They’re always on attack (sporting a top-ten shot-attempt rate), and they limit opponent offense very well (top-ten suppressing of opponent high-danger chances). They’ve got a lot of fun, young, fast talent (Rantanen, McKinnon, Landeskog, Andre, and Makar) plus a goaltender that I adore (Grubauer). Seeing as I’ve abandoned my previous bandwagon team (read onward), the Avs are now my fallback should the Caps get knocked out. Congrats to the RMNBers and Crashers who have lured me over.
I no longer like this team, but I like these odds. The Canes have the second highest expected-goal rate in the league, a top-ten power play, and some of the most exciting young players in the league since all the way in the previous paragraph (Svechnikov, Teravainen, and Aho). They’ve recently added Mister Game Seven, Justin Williams, on a late-season deal, and I’m so glad they have because JW has still got it. The only thing I’m not sold on — and I suspect Dom and Vegas would agree — is their goaltending. James Reimer has been fine, but Petr Mrazek‘s been a bit less than fine. If they upgrade at the deadline, I bet that 30-to-one payoff starts diminishing. Thirty bucks was a lot to spend here, but the payout would go a long way towards decreasing my grumpiness should they win it all.
By now you’ve noticed that I did not place a bet for the Caps to win the Cup. Yeah. That’s not because I’m a doubter. It’s just that Vegas odds hadn’t caught up to Washington’s recent downturn, and I didn’t think there was enough value in an 8/1 bet to justify it. I promise it doesn’t change who I’m rooting for.
Okay, what should I have done differently? If your answer is “you shouldn’t have gambled at all”, you’re right, but let’s take that part for granted.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.