The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals are set, and many bettors are adding to the excitement by putting some money on the outcomes. With a new U.S. betting environment, Americans have many options now in placing those wagers.
Here’s what you should know about placing those NHL futures wagers before the puck is dropped.
Understanding Stanley Cup betting
First, let’s define a futures wager. These are made on the result of certain event or contest to happen in the future.
Fans enjoy these wagers because they offer a chance to cheer for a team (or a few) in the long run. They also have a chance at a nice payout for a smaller wager. In this case, a bet on a certain team to survive the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup.
In the NHL, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. Making a futures wager on one of those 16 teams is easy, both in a live sportsbook and online.
A sportsbook in a casino will have futures odds usually listed on a large screen somewhere in the sportsbook. These should be easy to find, but staff at the betting windows can help.
Where bettors can find odds for mobile betting?
Those betting using mobile options can simply navigate to the hockey section of the betting app to find Stanley Cup futures.
Bettors looking to place those Stanley Cup wagers may want to check out the odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. The site offers plenty of options in betting for the Stanley Cup winner as well as wagering on individual matchups.
DraftKings Sportsbook also offers a nice betting experience and all the futures action a hockey fan might want. For both sites, simply click on “hockey” and then the “futures” tab to make a selection. There are some great bonus offers at both FanDuel and DraftKings for those looking to get in on the action.
How do futures odds work?
Now that you know where to go, how do you go about making that wager? Let’s look at an example using a $100 futures wager:
- FanDuel Sportsbook opened the Tampa Bay Lightning as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +195. A bettor putting $100 on Tampa would win $195 (and get the original $100 bet back) if they won the title.
- If the DraftKings book had the Dallas Stars with futures odds of +400, it actually pays at 4 to 1 (400 to 100). So a $100 wager on the Stars in this scenario would win $100. It’s that easy.
Why do odds change during a season or in the playoffs?
While a team might start off with certain odds, they can change at any time. The Colorado Avalanche may start as a +2600 underdog (with a $100 wager to win $2,600), but that can change later. Several factors could be in play making those lines move.
- Futures odds are a fluctuating market. A team may have a surprising Round 1 upset victory and played well. That may spur oddsmakers to move those lines down.
- Odds are adjusted based on a team’s performance, injuries, opponents, and more during the season and postseason. As teams are eliminated in the playoffs, futures odds can be adjusted.
- Sportsbooks also adjust odds based on betting patterns. A large amount bet on a certain team may force oddsmakers to lower odds to reduce exposure to potential losses should that team pay off.
NHL futures betting history
Winning the Stanley Cup isn’t easy. Teams must survive three playoff rounds before battling it out in the finals. That comes after an 82-game regular season with plenty of skating, checking, and road trips.
The goal is to be one of the eight teams in the postseason from each conference and then see what happens. The Vegas Golden Knights made an historic run to the finals as an expansion team in 2018. But who were some of the biggest longshots in history to win the Cup?
- 2012 – The L.A. Kings entered the playoffs as an eighth seed and were 20-1 to take home their first title in 44 years. As the L.A Times notes, the team caught fire “… thanks largely to their remarkable 10-1 road record, tying a league record for the most road wins in a postseason. And while winning 16 of 20 playoff games, the Kings outscored their opponents by an impressive 57-30.”
- 1995 – The New Jersey Devils were a fifth seed when the playoffs started. The team struggled a bit during the regular season, which was shortened to 48 games due to a lockout. The Red Wings looked like an unstoppable force and few in the media predicted Jersey would win. But the Devils completed an unlikely 4-0 sweep.
- 1986 – With a team full of rookies including goalie Patrick Roy and forward Claude Lemieux , the Montreal Canadiens shocked the hockey world with a 4-1 finals victory over the Calgary Flames.
No doubt, bettors took home a nice score on these futures wagers.