- Neil Greenberg, NHL
The gambling website Bovada.lv recently posted its odds for teams and players for the 2013-14 NHL season, which gives us a chance to look at where there might be some value.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are the current favorite to win the 2014 Cup at 6-to-1, with the Pittsburgh Penguins a close second at 15-to-2. Those are implied probabilities of 14.3 and 11.8 percent, respectively, so while they are the favorites, there is still room for many others to claim the crown. I've already outlined why I think the Los Angeles Kings will be this year's champion, and I think they offer good value at 12-to-1, but another team to give a look is the St. Louis Blues, who are currently at 14-to-1.
The Blues are still stinging from their first-round loss to the Kings this past postseason. However, they were great during the regular season despite finishing sixth in the Western Conference. Ignoring special-teams play and lead-protecting situations, the Blues maintained possession of the puck more than 52 percent of the time last season, good for sixth overall in the league. Going back to special teams, their power play generated 72 shot attempts per 60 minutes of play (fifth-best in the NHL), while their penalty-killing unit surrendered just 53.5 against per 60 minutes, second-best after the New Jersey Devils (48.5).
After only a few minor tweaks to their roster, which includes potential Norris Trophy candidate Alex Pietrangelo, expect the Blues to continue to dominate play at both ends of the ice, contend for the Cup and provide a great value at 14-to-1.
Here are some thoughts on other prop bets that could offer some decent value.
Toronto Maple Leafs over/under regular-season points: 92.5
ESPN Insider Neil Greenberg examines value bets for the 2013-14 NHL season, including Cup picks, over/unders and trophy winners.