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5 Teams’ Futures Odds to Bet on for the 2015 Stanley Cup

Free NHL Betting: Stanley Cup Futures

The NHL regular season is winding down and while the playoff picture may be a cloudy for some teams on the bubble, we’ve reached the point in the season where you can safely lock in about 75 per cent of the teams that will take part in the postseason.

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Once the 82 game regular season has wrapped up, 16 teams will compete for Lord Stanley’s Mug and although getting to the playoffs is the first step in any team’s quest for the Cup, there’s probably only a handful that have a realistic chance at taking home the hardware.

Here are your five best bets (odds in parenthesis) to win the 2014-15 Stanley Cup:

1) Anaheim Ducks (17/2)

The Ducks were my pick to win it all way back on October 8 before the season had even begun to take shape. You can get a more in depth analysis on this team and why they were my pick here: http://www.capperspicks.com/blog/nhl/futures-prediction-anaheim-ducks-will-win-the-2015-stanley-cup-81014/

The Coles Notes version is that this team is built for playoff hockey. They’re big, they’re fast and they’re skilled. The only question mark lies in goal where young netminders Frederik Andersen and John Gibson aren’t backed by a wealth of NHL experience.

To start the season this team was a 10/1 shot to win it all and have now been bumped up to 17/2 or 8.5/1 so if you got in on this team early then you’re looking good right now.

2) Montreal Canadiens (10/1)

Goaltending is the single largest X-factor in the playoffs. How many times have you seen a team that has no right getting out of the first round make a deep playoff run thanks to a hot goalie?

Carey Price has been the best goalie in the NHL this season and the Canadiens should feel confident in their chances to make another run this year. This team was looking like they would be playing in the Stanley Cup finals a year ago for the first time in more than 20 years until Price went down with an injury against the Rangers and that spelled the end of the Habs’ run.

A healthy Price and a core that remains very much in tact from last year’s run and is just another year older and wiser makes this team a legitimate threat to come out of the Eastern Conference.

3) Tampa Bay Lightning (12/1)

Sticking with the Eastern Conference, this is a team that has the potential to win it all and if the match ups work out the Lightning would get a second round date with the Montreal Canadiens.

This is a team that is somewhat under the radar at the moment and at 12/1 they’re a juicy pick. If goaltending is the most important factor in the playoffs, depth scoring is a close second. Think for a second about the teams that have won Cups recently and take a glance at their rosters; they all share a common theme and that is that they have two or more lines that can put the puck in the net.

Tampa is probably the deepest team offensively in the East and could finish the season with three 30 goal scorers and Steven Stamkos will likely finish with 40. The only other team that has even an outside chance of doing that is the Pittsburgh Penguins who boast Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, so that’s a good indicator of the Lightning’s scoring depth. They’re fast and talented and if Ben Bishop can hold the fort this Tampa Bay team will be very tough.

4) St. Louis Blues (10/1)

The Blues are the most well-balanced team in the NHL in my opinion and they’ve been a popular pick to win it all for a few years now. The only problem is that they keep running into the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs.

Things should be different this year as the Blackhawks don’t seem to have that same swagger of years past and without Patrick Kane they have a tendency to be listless up front, and the Kings are still on the outside looking in right now and are in danger of missing the post season entirely.

St. Louis would match up against Winnipeg in the first round if the season ended today and that should be a cake walk for them. In the second round they’d get Chicago or Nashville and the winner of that series will likely be a lot more worn out.

I like the Blues for the reason that for two rounds they could have it their way and get into the Western Conference finals healthy and fresh.

5) New York Islanders (14/1)

It’s been a remarkable season for the Isles and they will be making a post season appearance this year. If the season ended today the Isles would square off with the Penguins in round one. Pittsburgh has been the Isles’ kryptonite in the playoffs in the past but this year things should change.

The Islanders have dominated their division with a record of 18-5-1 and it looks like a second round date with the Rangers is inevitable. Normally I’d lean towards the Rangers in that one but with Henrik Lundqvist’s health still a bit of a mystery I think the Islanders can get by the Rangers and make an appearance in the Eastern Conference final.

This is a team that can score in bunches and if Jaroslav Halak can return to his playoff form that created a goalie controversy in Montreal years ago this Islanders team can make a deep run.

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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.