Sports

Why NHL futures bettors will want to keep eye on Rangers

Last October, when the NHL bubble wrapped up, I recommended the Montreal Canadiens as a Stanley Cup futures bet at 50/1. They didn’t win, but it would have left you in a great spot as they did make it all the way to the finals.

This time around, the Dallas Stars appear to be a good futures bet, but it depends on the price, of course. The Stars’ season was doomed from the start. It started late due to the virus and was again disrupted by the Texas winter weather emergency.

Dallas also dealt with a lot of injuries. Forwards Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz played 11 and 41 games, respectively, while pivot Tyler Seguin missed all but three games. Goaltender Ben Bishop missed the entire regular season. There’s definitely some uncertainty about Bishop’s future with the expansion draft on the horizon, but the Stars would still have a solid tandem in the veteran, Anton Khudobin, and Jake Oettinger, who has shown a lot of promise.

The Central Division is not filled with formidable opponents like it used to be. Outside of the Colorado Avalanche, there are no real juggernaut teams. The Minnesota Wild are good, but the Stars are arguably just as good, if not better. The Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues are not far off, but as long as the Stars have better injury luck, I would give them an overall edge over those three teams. They’re definitely better than the likes of the Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks.

The Rangers' Kaapo Kakko is denied by Stars goalie Anton Khudobin on Feb. 3, 2020.
The Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko is denied by Stars goalie Anton Khudobin on Feb. 3, 2020.
Paul J. Bereswill

The Stars have a better than 50/50 chance to make the playoffs more often than not. At the SuperBook Sports in Las Vegas, the Stars are listed at 50/1 odds to win the Cup. That’s a bet worth adding to your futures portfolio as we head into the summer. BetMGM has them at 28/1 and Circa Sports at 23/1. Those aren’t quite as good to bet, but 35/1 seems to be what’s widely available.

The Seattle Kraken expansion draft, which will be held on July 21, makes it tougher to predict what the rosters will look like in the 2021-22 season. There’s also a pretty big crop of free agents this year, and where they go will have a big impact on how the true Stanley Cup odds should shake out as we get closer to the season.

There is another team bettors should consider at 30/1 odds at SuperBook Sports and 25/1 at BetMGM. The New York Rangers are a good hockey team that probably should’ve made the playoffs this season. They’ve got a great goaltender and some legitimate superstar talent. Gerard Gallant is taking over as head coach, which should help get this team over the hump. Whether or not there’s value in this wager come October will depend on whether the Rangers can assert themselves as a top team in the Metropolitan Division early on.

Aleksander Barkov
Aleksander Barkov
AP

I’d like to back the Florida Panthers, who are also in the 25/1 to 30/1 range, but with Aleksander Barkov entering the final year of this contract and the slight possibility negotiations could go south, leading to a trade, I will be holding off on adding the Panthers as a futures bet at this time. The Atlantic Division could end up being one of the toughest in the league and I would like to be sure about the Panthers’ best player before taking a price I don’t necessarily believe reflects their true odds of winning.

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