- Sam Paolini, ESPN Insider
The Chicago Blackhawks raised the Stanley Cup on Monday night at 2013 preseason odds of 15-1, and not long after, Las Vegas and a few offshore books had the 2014 Stanley Cup odds posted. The Pittsburgh Penguins top the list of favorites to hoist the hardware next season at 5-1, followed closely by the defending champion Blackhawks at 6-1. Two big variables will play a role in how these odds shape up in the next three months: the 2013 NHL draft and the summer free-agency frenzy.
Putting those two components aside, we can really dig into which teams hold value at the current prices we are seeing. While a lot can change between now and the beginning of the season, what's most important when making futures bets is to look at teams that can put themselves in position to make the playoffs. Once teams are in the postseason, it is a lot easier to hedge off of the bet and make a profit regardless of who wins the Cup.
Here are my top value bets for the 2014 Stanley Cup:
Minnesota Wild (40-1)
Minnesota comes in at surprisingly high odds despite its improvement year over year. The additions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise last offseason really helped solidify the Wild's core and despite being bounced in Round 1 by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, Minnesota accomplished a lot in a shortened season.
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