Best Stanley Cup finals bets

Examining wagers that offer the best value based on odds, payout

Updated: June 4, 2014, 2:56 PM ET
By Jeff Gold | ESPN Insider

KingsTasos Katopodis/Getty ImagesAre the Los Angeles Kings a good bet at minus-170 to win the Stanley Cup?

Other than holding a winning ticket in your hand, a "free roll" is close to the dream scenario for a gambler. Simply put, it is a wager that can either win or will result in no action. This is not to be confused with the "lock" that your best buddy is advocating. Such a proclamation is worth nothing.

The Stanley Cup finals begin Wednesday night between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers. The betting odds on this series present a unique opportunity for gamblers to make a smart wager -- one that I believe amounts to close to a free roll.

On Bovada.com, the line for the Stanley Cup finals is Kings minus-170, Rangers plus-150. Essentially, that means the Kings are considered 60 percent likely to win the series, and the Rangers have a 40 percent likelihood of winning. Bovada is also offering odds on which player will win the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the playoff MVP. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is the favorite, at 5-2. If you believe Lundqvist is approximately 30 percent or more likely to win the Conn Smythe, then there is value in this wager.

While I believe that betting Lundqvist to win the Conn Smythe Trophy is an intelligent play, the smartest way to bet this series is to make two wagers, which, taken together, essentially amount to a preemptive hedge.