We are almost halfway through the season but there is plenty of value to be had betting futures. Read on as handicapper looks at the Wester Conference Futures for some betting value.
Yesterday we looked at the Eastern Conference futures possibilities and today we finish up with the wide open West.
We'll use our current power rankings to determine what teams we might want to look at first and where we can find the best current odds.
On the top of my Western Conference ranking is the defending Western Champion, San Jose Sharks. As I mentioned yesterday, I try to stay away from predicting Stanley Cup rematches but if the season ended today I would have to say that both the Penguins and Sharks were headed for another meeting.
I really look for teams that can put quality depth on the ice and the Sharks fit the bill. San Jose averages 30.9 shots per game (8th) but has yet to fulfill their offensive potential. They rank 6th in missed shots per game indicating that they have plenty of room to improve on offense. Right now you can get them at a reasonable 16/1 at SportsInteraction.
Behind the Sharks are the Columbus Blue Jackets at 8/1. The Blue Jackets have managed points in a league-high 78% of their games. They are headed for a high seed because their team is just as deep as the Penguins featuring one of the best goaltenders in the game, Sergei Bobrovsky who easily leads the NHL in wins (21).
At 8.5 to 1 is the Minnesota Wild who is mostly a finesse team but they are fast and know how to skate the open areas make themselves offensively accessible. No defensive pairing has been better than Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon.
The Chicago Blackhawks who are always a popular futures bet are also sitting at 8.5/1. If the 'hawks could ever shore up their penalty kill they would be rated much higher in my rankings.
You may want to take a chance on the Nashville Predators sitting at 22/1. They have been a disappointment this season at 15-13-5 but still are plenty deep and are 7-0 when leading after the first period. Their problem has been winning games that are grinders but who knows what the trade deadline may bring as far as reinforcements.
I'm still not completely sold on the Edmonton Oilers as they need some more seasoning but if you would like a Canadien flavor to your future bet you can still get them at 16/1 which is more than fair for a long shot.