The St. Louis Blues completed an unlikely Stanley Cup championship on Wednesday, just months after sitting in last place in the NHL standings. The win had some major repercussions – costing sportsbooks millions and paying big dividends for savvy bettors.
With futures betting already underway for 2019-20, many bettors are already looking for some value.
Books take a big hit
In January, the Blues were dead last in the NHL. A Stanley Cup appearance, much less a playoff appearance, seemed unlikely.
The team was as high as 300-1 in futures wagering. Apparently, though, plenty of bettors believed and plunked down money on St. Louis.
The Blues were 17-20-4 after a 3-1 loss to Dallas at home on Jan. 8. They then finished the second half strong with a 30-10-5 record and 65 points. That was good for a 45-28-9 record with 99 points in the regular season. Four series wins later, they were the champs.
Golden Nugget sportsbook director Tony Miller echoed the thoughts of many in the industry.
“Real bad. Disaster,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper noted the property fielded several bets on the team in January as high as 300-1. Most of those were in the $20-$50 range.
Other books reported similar action. Deep runs by teams with long odds, such as the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, can prove costly. The Knights fell just short of the title, losing in the finals. But the Blues punished the books in 2019.
A ballsy futures bet nets $100K
Blues fan Scott Berry was one of those bettors who proved a big liability. On a business trip in Las Vegas on Jan. 2, he booked $400 on his favorite team to win it all.
The Paris Casino sportsbook was on the line for a $100,000 payout. Before booking the bet, Berry saw 150-1 odds at the Bellagio.
Some quick odds shopping produced an extra $40,000 for his wager.
As the Stanley Cup Finals played out, Berry refused to hedge his bet. He even turned down $75,000 for his wager. If they lost, he got nothing.
“This has been an incredible ride, to say the least,” he told ESPN. “In my opinion, the $400 I spent was well worth this experience. I feel like I’ve already hedged in a sense. The money is a great bonus if the Blues win the Cup … but in my opinion, I’ve already won.”
Stanley Cup futures betting already open for next season
With the Blues win and the season in the books, so to speak, futures wagering has already opened for 2019-20.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were swept in the first round after a record-setting regular season. Despite that, the team opened as the Cup favorite at +600 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey sports betting books opened the Bolts at +600.
The hometown Knights are +700 in Vegas and +1000 in NJ. They are followed by the Bruins and Maple Leafs at +1000. The Blues come in at +1400 for those looking to catch lightning (not the team) in a bottle twice.
Here’s a look at all NHL futures at the SuperBook and DraftKings:
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+700||+600|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+1000||+700|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1300||+1000|
|St. Louis Blues||+1500||+1400|
|San Jose Sharks||+1700||+1600|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+2500||+3000|
|New York Islanders||+3200||+3000|
|Los Angeles Kings||+5000||+8000|
|New Jersey Devils||+5500||+8000|
|New York Rangers||+6500||+8000|
|Detroit Red Wings||+7500||+8000|
As of June 13, SuperBook vice president of risk management Jeff Sherman reported no major action so far. The book’s earliest liabilities were the Knights, Rangers, and Avalanche.
The Knights had produced the most tickets bet and the Avalanche was the top team in money wagered. Of course, Senators fans may want to take note of those 300-1 odds. A $400 wager like Berry’s would produce a $120,000 payday. That would really be a longshot.