Sticking with our North West gambling themed articles (NFL, NCAAB, NBA, MLB) this week we felt it was time to give the NHL some love in that direction.
We have passed the half way point of the NHL season and some front-runners for the Stanley Cup have certainly emerged.
The Vancouver Canucks, as always are right in the thick of it. But who is their toughest competition? Who are the sneaky teams that could give them fits on the road to Hockey’s Holy Grail?
To nobody’s surprise, the Western Conference is going to be a dog-fight to the end.
Four or five teams other than the Canucks have a chance to emerge and represent the West.
So let’s take a look at the major players so far and their chances to win the Cup in June… or July… or maybe August.
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +600
The Bruins are presently mired in a bit of a slump – .500 hockey over their past 11 games but as we all know, good teams must endure slumps.
The Bruins are currently Top-10 in almost every measurable statistical category in the NHL. With two of the league leaders in goals against manning the nets and depth up and down the lineup, Boston will be tough to beat once again this year.
If you can’t score on them, you can’t beat them!
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +650
Vancouver hasn’t looked all that great but they have been getting the results in the standings – a good sign going forward!
With a number of Canucks struggling, the fact that they are still winning has to be scary for the rest of the league. Henrik Sedin & Daniel Sedin will be better guaranteed and with the emergence of a superb second line, Vancouver is potent in all aspects of the game.
If Roberto Luongo struggles, Mr. Schneider will be there to mop up.
The makeup of the Canucks is strong – so is their motivation to avenge last year’s disappointment.
Detroit Red Wings
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +650
Wow! We all knew that Detroit would be a force but leading the NHL is very impressive indeed. Goaltending, defense and offense are strong – there are absolutely no holes on this squad.
What is particularly scary about this team is that they have won 17 straight games on home ice – if they gain home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, they become extremely dangerous.
On the flip side, Detroit is very average on the road.
San Jose Sharks
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +950
Vancouver’s main West Coast competition has slowed their pace lately and have anointed themselves as one of the more difficult teams in the NHL to figure out – so good one moment and so average the next.
The Canucks have San Jose’s number at the moment – head to head you’d have to think that Vancouver would eliminate the Sharks if it came down to it.
2012 Stanley Cup Betting: Vancouver Canucks Futures Odds
Odds to Win Stanley Cup: +1200
The Chicago Blackhawks are a team that has haunted the Canucks in the recent past and could do so again this season. But goaltending is definitely an issue for the Hawks. Would you trust Cory Crawford and Ray Emery to beat Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider? I didn’t think so.
As long as Chicago’s goaltending remains unstable they will be a threat in name only.
The trade deadline is only a few weeks away and all of the teams covered are said to interested in adding some talent.
Until that time, it looks like another two-horse race. Boston in the East (with a good challenge from the Rangers) and Vancouver in the West (with a serious charge from Detroit).ODDS TO WIN THE 2012 NHL STANLEY CUP
Los Angeles 10/1
San Jose 12/1
Tampa Bay 20/1
N.Y. Rangers 30/1
New Jersey 35/1
St. Louis 45/1
N.Y. Islanders 80/1
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