The 2019-20 Stanley Cup Final odds now greatly favor the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they lead the Dallas Stars 2-1 heading into Game 4. Captain C Steven Stamkos returned for the Lightning Wednesday, scored his first goal in his first game since Feb. 25, and the Lightning won handily, 5-2. Game 4 takes place Friday at Rogers Place in Edmonton with puck drop set for shortly after 8 p.m. ET.
This page previews the Game 4 betting odds and lines from the top US sportsbooks. We’ll assess the series thus far, look at the updated odds to win the Stanley Cup Final, highlight some of the best NHL betting sites, and break down all the ways to bet on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Stanley Cup Final Game 4 odds: Lightning vs. Stars
Stamkos scored the Lightning’s second goal of the game less than 90 seconds after RW Nikita Kucherov opened the scoring 5:33 into the first period. The Stars would get on the board mid-way through the first, but Tampa Bay scored thrice in the second frame to seal the win. Dallas added a third-period goal from D Miro Heiskanen.
It was an aberration for Stars G Anton Khudobin. He allowed all five goals on 29 shots before being pulled in favor of Jake Oettinger for the third period. Oettinger would stop all three shots he faced in the final 20 minutes in his second appearance of the postseason. Stars G Ben Bishop hasn’t played since Aug. 31 in a loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Eastern Conference champion Lightning entered the series as moderate favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They’re the odds-on favorites with their first lead of the series and the series is now expected to end in five games by the odds at DraftKings Sportsbook. Their odds to win the Cup range from -410 at FanDuel Sportsbook to -560 at DraftKings.
The Lightning are more modest moneyline favorites for Game 4. The puck line (spread) is strongly juiced toward the Stars covering the +1.5 and either losing by a goal or winning outright as the official home team. The vig is on the Over on another projected goal total of 5.
Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 24 shots in the Game 3 win. His team did a good job once again of keeping the puck at the other end of the rink. Tampa Bay has outshot Dallas 99-73 through three games.
With the lopsided score a contributing factor, Wednesday’s third period consisted of a parade to the penalty box. There were a total of eight roughing minors, three misconducts, and three other minor penalties doled out in the final 20 minutes.
Stamkos said after the game it was too early to tell if he’d be able to play Friday’s Game 4. He logged just 2:47 of ice time Wednesday. No other changes will be expected for the Lightning. Stars RW Alexander Radulov left the game in the third period and is uncertain for Game 4. Khudobin is expected back in net, but it’s possible Bishop makes his return for one of the games in the Friday-Saturday back-to-back.
ALSO READ: Betting picks for the Stanley Cup Final
Stanley Cup Final series odds 2020
Best NHL betting sites
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.
If sports betting isn’t legal in your state yet, daily fantasy sports is another great way to have some skin in the game. Sign up for an account at DraftKings and get $25 free.
How to bet the NHL
Betting on the NHL, and hockey, in general, is somewhat of a cross between baseball and basketball betting. It’s similar to basketball in that it can be slightly more predictable, particularly over the long term when looking at the proper statistics and trends. It leans toward baseball in following suit with generally modest odds and lines, and like with starting pitchers, the lines hinge on the projected starting goaltenders. The terms and bet types remain the same as in the other main sports.
- Moneyline: The most straightforward and common bet type; pick the team to win the game, either in regulation, overtime or a shootout. Odds will generally range from -250 to +250 but can extend closer to -500 or +500 in rare cases. A late goalie swap can drastically change the odds, and likelihood of a team winning.
- Puck line/Spread: Much the same as run lines in baseball betting, the standard puck line is set at +/- 1.5 goals. The favorite must win by at least two goals, while the underdog needs to stay within one in a loss or win outright. Any game going to overtime would be a win for the underdog regardless of the final outcome.
- Total: The total, or Over/Under, is most commonly set at a base of 5.5, though as with all hockey odds, the projected goalie matchup is the biggest factor. A pair of backups starting against each other would usually boost the line to 6.5, while a pair of elite goaltenders could drop the number to 4.5.
- Alternate lines: The alternate betting lines are more valuable in hockey than nearly all the other main sports. Buying yourself a goal against either the spread or total can greatly raise your chances of earning at least a small profit. Boosting your odds to a puck line of -2.5 or a total of 7.5 can return a much great profit with the increased risk.
- Props: Hockey prop bets range from which team will score first to whether or not certain players will score a goal in the game. Rather than backing an underdog on the puck line in what’s expected to be a tight game, look for whether or not the game will go to overtime at much more profitable odds.
- Futures: Stanley Cup futures typically come out immediately after the prior NHL season wraps up in June. From then until the trophy is awarded the odds are regularly updated based on team expectations, performance, and public betting action. Injuries, trades and winning or losing streaks also carry great weight. Be sure to incorporate advanced statistics and know which teams are over-performing and who could enjoy a late-season surge in order to capitalize on long odds. Futures are also available for player awards and stats, and conference and division winners.
How do Stanley Cup futures work?
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.
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 $400. 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 Cup Final. 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 Cup Final 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.