Friday, September 09, 2005


Betting on Stanley

I am not a betting man (since I never win anything), but I did get a kick out of seeing the latest odds for each team winning the Stanley Cup.

Now, we know that Las Vegas and other sportsbooks gear their odds to make money for the house, rather than give their Power Rankings and opinions of team strength. If they think they can make money by making a team more of a lucrative gamble, they can do so...if they really believe most people would bet on one team, they will give lower payouts for winning.

As of today...

Paris Hilton did what?

Looking at this table...

The Bad Bets -

New Jersey Devils at 10/1 - Patrick Elias is gone for awhile with his recovery from Hepatitis A, Scott Niedermayer is with the Ducks, Scott Stevens is with the folks at the Shady Acres Retirement Home playing bingo and Martin Brodeur won't have his big padding to help him stop pucks. With the Devils about $5mil over the cap, their team will only get weaker as the season approaches. I wouldn't put money down on the Devils at this payout.

Toronto Maple Leafs at 12/1 - Are you kidding me? I know Vegas will get lots of Leafers betting on their sorry club, but any team that has to rely on a bunch of foggy-headed geriatrics, especially ERIC LINDROS, isn't going anywhere but golfing in May and to the flea market on Sundays.

Los Angeles Kings at 15/1 - This is a team that didn't make the playoffs last NHL season and didn't really improve so much as tread water. As much as Pavol Demitra rules your universe, this team isn't going to touch Stanley unless they buy a ticket to the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto.

St. Louis Blues at 25/1 - I'm sorry, but I don't see this club even making the playoffs. It's not even worth putting money down on the Blues.

Washington Crapitals at 100/1 - Give me 1,000,000/1 and you may get a $5 bet from me. If I were a Vegas firm, I would serious give out 1,000/1 odds and watch the money flow in. This chance has no chance at hell at the cup, so why not see if a few suckers made a 'throwaway' bet on the longshot.

The Value Bets -

Calgary Flames at 10/1 - Since they are my pick to make it out of the west, you could rake it in pretty good while the others stick to their Avalanche and Red Wings bandwagons. I'm surprised the Flames aren't right near the top, given their improvements and recent Finals appearance.

Nashville Predators at 30/1 - I like their chances at the cup at lot more than many teams above them. The Preds are a hungry young team just ready to make the leap. Vokoun is the type of goalie that could get white-hot during a playoffs run and this seems like a good value bet at 30/1.

Atlanta Thrashers at 45/1 - I realize that once/if Ilya Kovalchuk signs, these odds (as they will before the season starts) will change. Given their improvements over the long off-season, it would be a decent bet to bet that they will sign Kovalchuk and then make a strong run in a weak division. I don't think many fans and betting types realize the improvements the Thrashers have made and underestimate this club's chances.

You're 100% wrong about the Kings. Here's why:

Our top scores last year were Luc (22-29-51), Frolov (24-24-48), and Klatt (17-26-43), Palffy (played 35 games), Stumpel (our number one center had 8 goals), Armstrong, Belanger, Modry, Vishnovsky, Avery (28 points).

Deadmarsh and Allison last played for us three years ago. Palffy didn't even play half of the season. If you're comparing the team now to the team when they played, then you have a point... Potvin was on fire, but even then, we had no depth.

Now we have depth, and more.

Demitre, JR, Conroy, Bure have been added to the team. I don't think Klatt will be our third leading scorer, and I don't think our number one center will have 8 goals at the end of the season.

We also have depth: Frolov, Luc, Army are all capable of hitting 40 points, and Frolov has a lot of upside. Kostopolous and Cowan are great depth players, and Belanger is a quality forechecker. Avery is a pest. Cammalleri and Brown had quality AHL seasons and may be able to have a 15-15-30 season.

We need an enforcer that can skate, but that is a low priority.

Our defense is not as strong. Vishnovsky is a very good defensman, clearly the best on our team. But he isn't a Blake or Pronger physical force, so he needs help from other players, and unfortunately, Norstrom and Miller are getting old. Gleason is a great young player who is NHL ready (already played a season) and skates very well. Dempsey is a quality third pairing player. Grebeshkov needs more time in the AHL, but he could be a number #1 defensmen (although he is not a physical force).

Goaltending is very suspect. However, Garon has played very well in the NHL when he has appeared. The question is not is he capable of playing in the NHL, but whether he can play a full season. However, if we are comparing this team to last seasons team, I'd be hard pressed to say that going from Chokemanic to Garon is a serious downgrade.

We shall see, the goaltending is the key. If that is what you are concerned with, I understand. But as a whole, regarding the team, anything is better than the forwards we put out on the ice last season.

Take care, best blog on the net for hockey!
I like to read your inside info but when try to look into you crystal ball and make predictions, you look like a fool. Nobody knows what this new NHL will be like, do what you do best and sniff around like the rat you are.
Great blog.

I like to see that you like the Flames in the West. Generally, looking at player movement, most of the perennial West contenders haven't gotten much better.

In my opinion, here's the only concern - Calgary was among the lower seeded of the teams making it into the playoffs but their playoff game was quite different than their regular season game - no holds barred, and incredibly physical. I don't think they could maintain that style of play throughout the season.

It comes down to Kipper keeping them in it to make the playoffs, then turning up the heat again in the post season.

Either way, I've got my game pack tickets for this year.
What, no taking a potshot at the 'Canes? Awww Jes, I thought you loved me! :D
A pure sucker bet with the Wings at 6-1. They are nowhere near the 3rd best team in the league, but Detroiters are big betters and that is what Vegas is betting on.
Hope things are well.
hmmm blues rated too high, yea,i'm more interested in the candan team jump and the penguins.

vegas odds, so i will assume that they are not placating that influx of loonies, so i'm really thinking they odds-man needs to be fired.

and the pens? good off season,dreadful team for 20 years. why would anyone bet the habitually cruddy teams WHILE vegas is making people pay top dollar to do so?

small market non pittsburgus team? last. the small market teams owned by mario or canadiens? top.

curiouser and curiouser

$100 at those odds? i'd put 50 on the panthers, 40 on the blachawks and 10 on nj
Seeing as Pavol is part of the Queens now, I may as well do an in-depth look at them before the season starts. I still don't think they are all that legit, but I'll have a closer look.

and I agree with the point about the Flames...kinda...I expect Calgary will still be a great regular season team this time around because of the roster improvements they made and the fact they will have Kiprusoff for a whole year. Calgary is NOT the team I'd want to face in the playoffs.
"Martin Brodeur won't have his big padding to help him stop pucks"

I like reading your blog and all.. but that was pretty dumb. He has consistently had some of smallest (if not the smallest) goalie gear in the league. His pads last year were BELOW the upper limit for this year. I would be more worried for your hero Luongo.

10-1 for the devils are perfect odds. The team has enough pieces in place to either soar to the cup, or fizzle into an early playoff exit, the point being that it's up to them

Parise, Zajac, Hale and Martin will round this team out, and they will remain the same fixture in the east they have always been.

For like the 10th season in a row, people are predicting doom for the devils from the get go... Prepare to be surprised, yet again.
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