Early Leans Based on NHL Odds to Win Western Conference

David Lawrence

Thursday, August 6, 2015 5:40 PM GMT

Let's dive into the NHL odds focusing on the Western Conference, now that we’re through all of the craziness of the 2015 offseason, with the huge wave of movement via trades and transactions.

 Current NHL Odds To Win West

 2014 Preseason Odds To Win West

Chicago Blackhawks 13/4

Anaheim Ducks 19/4

Los Angeles Kings 19/4

Minnesota Wild 13/2

Nashville Predators 13/2

St. Louis Blues 13/2

Winnipeg Jets 8/1

Calgary Flames 10/1

Dallas Stars 28/1

Edmonton Oilers 33/1

San Jose Sharks 33/1

Colorado Avalanche 45/1

Vancouver Canucks 45/1

Arizona Coyotes 100/1

Chicago Blackhawks 4/1

Los Angeles Kings 11/2

St. Louis Blues 11/2

San Jose Sharks 7/1

Anaheim Ducks 7/1

Colorado Avalanche 8/1

Minnesota Wild 8/1

Dallas Stars 17/1

Edmonton Oilers 28/1

Arizona Coyotes 28/1

Winnipeg Jets 28/1

Vancouver Canucks 28/1

Calgary Flames 50/1

Nashville Predators 50/1

 

Comparing the odds to last season, it’s pretty clear that teams like the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild offered good value as NHL picks. The Wild kicked it up a notch midseason after acquiring Devan Dubnyk and outperformed their 8/1 odds. They didn’t cash, of course, but they made a good run. Anaheim was also an underrated team that finished atop the West before venturing all the way to the Western Conference final.

Teams that underperformed were the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, both of whom didn’t even make the playoffs, and the St. Louis Blues, who once again entered the season among the favorites, performed well in the regular season and then flopped in the playoffs. Now let’s move on and take a look at who’ll outperform and underperform this season:

 

Outperform: Colorado Avalanche
A couple of years ago, the Avs were one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Last year, they fell off the map. While they’re at 45/1 and expected to finish in the basement again, I think they’re better than that. Their forward rotation is very solid with Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Carl Soderberg and Alex Tanguay and their blue line should be strong too with Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Francois Beauchemin and Brad Stuart leading the way. This team will have a bounce-back year and is worth a look for an over play on the regular season point totals.

 

Underperform: Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are still a star-studded team but it’s hard to invest money in them right now. First off, you’re getting no value. Secondly, it’s so hard to win back-to-back Cups in the NHL and this team has played a ton of hockey in the last few seasons. Remember, they won the Cup, went to the Western Conference finals, then won the Cup again in each of the last three years. They’ve lost some key depth players in Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya, and while they’ll simply reload as per usual, I don’t see this team as a good bet.

 

Outperform: Los Angeles Kings
In my eyes, the LA Kings are the most complete team in the conference next to the Chicago Blackhawks. However, you get a little bit of value here with them at 19/4. I love their forward rotation with Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Marian Gaborik, Milan Lucic, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. Remember, this is team that typically plays great defense but labors to score. The offense doesn’t look like it’ll be a weakness any longer.

 

Underperform: St. Louis Blues
I’ve been on the Blues for the last couple of seasons expecting them to take that next step but it hasn’t happened. There’s no reason to believe this is the year. This is a team that seems to have a mental hurdle when it comes to the playoffs and there is no reason to believe they get over it this time around. Coach Ken Hitchcock enters the season in a lame-duck situation as the team was already considering firing him in the offseason. This squad lacks leadership and moxie to get them over the top. It’s really hard to find a good reason to bet them at 13/2.