Can we predict the Stanley Cup winner so early in the season? With the help of betting odds and trends starting to appear at sportsbooks, we might as well give it a try.
NHL regular season is running at full speed with three more months into play before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on April 15. NHL odds have already moved considerably, though, so we can spot some trends that may reveal the Stanley Cup winner that early or, at least, give us a hint of the teams we should cheer for.
Washington Capitals have been doing great. They find themselves at the top of sportsbooks’ tables, posing as favorites to win the cup. Their odds have been on a steady decline since the season’s start in October.
Note though that the chart shows activity long before that, since betting on the 2015/16 NHL season was available since July 2014! That historical data can be useful when trying to pinpoint highs and lows in the betting trends. For instance, Bet365 had priced them at 4.10 (+310) on May 7, 2015, printing the lowest low at the chart above. As their Capitals’ odds are currently at 5.00 (+400), I’m reluctant to back them at this time. A bounce off that key support level is likely, which in turn will mean subpar performance in the next games.
I’ll be waiting for odds to either drift to 10.0 (+900) completing a pullback and hoping for a downtrend resume, or drop below 4.00 (+300) before I trust Washington with my money.
Blackhawks, despite trailing to just Capitals at odds of 7.00 (+600 at Bet365), are a whole different story. Right off the start of the season, their odds began climbing and didn’t stop to until December. After hitting 16.0 (+1500), odds started dropping and the trend reversed, we might say. They are now trading below that point marked by the season’s opening odds.
However, looking all the way left of the chart, we see that in the 2014-2015 season their odds continually found support at about 7.00 (+600). Also note that as they progressed in last season’s playoffs, their odds momentarily spiked up to that support level, converting it into a resistance level before the Chicago team went on and won the Cup.
Thus, given the significance of that price level, I won’t rule out an uptrend resume. Perhaps Blackhawks will prove me wrong and go in full throttle until playoffs, which would push odds further below. Yet, at this time of writing, I would avoid betting on Blackhawks while odds are trading so close to the support level.
Los Angeles Kings & St. Louis Blues
Moving down in the odds table, we meet Kings and Stars. Kings’ chart looks promising, as odds have penetrated the support level at 12.00 (+1100) and they are now seemingly pulling back towards it. I wouldn’t mind backing them nowadays due to the momentum and including Kings in my NHL picks for the 2015/16 Stanley Cup. Yes, the ’14 support at similar levels shouldn’t be ignored, but the same can be said for the resistance-turned-support-turned-resistance again, as indicated at the chart.
Blues, on the other hand, presents a different chart than the ones we have been analyzing. Its analysis requires a different approach, as the odds are trading inside a channel. That channel is defined by the upper band at 18 (+1700) and the lower band at 9.00 (+800) or so. There are two strategies here that handicappers can follow.
One is to wait for a breakout at either direction and bet accordingly. For instance, should St. Louis’ odds drop below 9.00, back them. Should they move above 18.0, lay them. Easier said than done, of course, in the heat of the battle.
The other strategy is to bet that the odds will continue moving sideways inside that channel That means we bet on Blues when their odds approach 18.0 (+1700) and lay when they are close to 9.00 (+800).
To tell you the truth, though, I’d bet against Blues due to the summer’s breakout towards 25.0 (+2400) odds and the ascending slope I’ve drawn on the chart.