Favorites, Darkhorses, and Longshots: Who Are Your Best Bets?

Posted by Ari in Frozen Assets,Uncategorized on April 9, 2009 — 10 Comments

Though a low seed has not won a Stanley Cup in over ten years, underdogs have still been able to make it to the finals, most recently the Edmonton Oilers as an eight seed in the 2005-2006 season.

This week I will divide the teams into four groups, and select one team from each group as having the best value.

The Favourites: San Jose, Detroit, Boston, Washington, New Jersey

Ari’s Pick: Boston (+700)

I don’t think Boston is the team most likely to win the Stanley Cup, but I prefer their odds to the odds on the San Jose Sharks (+400) the team I think is most likely to win the Cup. Detroit and Washington have issues in net, and New Jersey is slumping at the wrong time. The Bruins, like the Sharks, are a complete team and will probably have an easier road to the Cup than their Western Conference opponents.

The Second-Tier: Calgary, Chicago, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh

Ari’s Pick: Carolina (+2500)

The Canes have been on a tear. They have won 9 in a row, including a 9 goal outburst against the hapless Islanders in their last game. The Canes are getting solid offensive production and excellent goaltending from Cam Ward. The Canes’ recent play, and the fact they have the highest odds of all the teams in this group, make them the best value.

Teams the Favourites Want to Avoid: Columbus, Anaheim

Ari’s Pick: Anaheim (+4500)

Between Columbus at +4000 and Anaheim at +4500 I prefer Anaheim. They are hot at the right time and one of the most physical teams in the league. Their physical play could be a problem for the Red Wings or Canucks over a seven game series. They also have excellent depth at forward and defense and will be aided by the return of Francois Beauchemin, originally thought to be gone for the season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery earlier this season.

The Longshots: Montreal, New York Rangers, Florida, Buffalo, St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota

Ari’s Pick: St. Louis (+8000)
While I doubt any of these teams will advance past the first round, the team with the best chance is probably the New York Rangers, but they are only available at +5000. St. Louis has a young, confident team and they have played well. Despite numerous injuries and a mid-season goaltending change, the Blues control their own destiny to make the post-season. From there, anything can happen, but probably won’t.

Who do you think is the best bet out of these four categories?

  • Only thing going against the Canes might be their momentum. Last ten years of Stanley Cup Winners and their play over the last 10 games heading into the playoffs.

    Team | WN% – Last 10 | WN%-Season | Difference

    1997-98 Red Wings | 60% | 54% | +6%

    2007-08 Red Wings | 70% | 66% | +4%

    1998-99 Stars | 60% | 62% | -2%

    2000-01 Avalanche | 60% | 63% | -3%

    1999-00 Devils | 50% | 55% | -5%

    2003-04 Lightning | 50% | 56% | -6%

    2006-07 Ducks | 50% | 59% | -9%

    2005-06 Hurricanes | 50% | 63% | -13%

    2002-03 Devils | 40% | 56% | -16%

    2001-02 Red Wings | 10% | 62% | -52%

    Average | 50% | 58% | -8%

  • So as of right now;

    Boston – 70%
    Washington – 60%
    New Jersey – 30%
    Philadelphia – 60%
    Carolina – 90%
    Pittsburgh – 70%
    Montreal – 50%
    NYR – 50%

    San Jose – 70%
    Detroit – 60%
    Calgary – 40%
    Chicago – 70%
    Vancouver – 50%
    Columbus – 50%
    Anaheim – 80%
    St. Louis – 70%

  • Bob Roberts

    Faves — Det/SJ (tie)

    2nd Tier — Car/Pit (tie)

    Avoid — Ana

    Longshots — StL

    Best bet — meaning who’s most likely to win the Cup? — Det/SJ.

    But I don’t think either of those two will, even though they’re the faves.

  • Ari


    Do you think those numbers are significant? I don’t know?
    The best teams in the league may have already clinched their division/playoff position, and are easing up as they heal and get ready for the post-season.

    I don’t think the Canes’ strong play will be a detriment going into the post-season, but it may not have that much of a strong effect.


    Come on – no ties – especially between Detroit and San Jose. Who would win that potential Conference finals match-up?

  • No gurantees of course. But the stat seems to indicate that for the past ten years the teams in cruise control, winning 5 or 6 of the last 10 in a season stand a good chance to win the Cup. Does this mean that the Canes can’t win, of course not. Although Ward might be feeling some fatigue having played like 30 games in a row.

    If forced to pick I’d say;

    Favorites: Detroit
    2nd Tier: Calgary or Pittsburgh
    Avoid: Anaheim
    Longshots: St. Louis

  • Wild aren’t even going to make it and I would take the Devils off the favorites list because they have played horrible as of late.

  • Bob Roberts

    Re: Det/SJ — I don’t think either of these teams will win the West which means they can’t win the Cup (we are picking the Cup winner here, right?), but I don’t think any of the other 3 “Faves” will either, so my answer has to be “None of the above” if the question is “Who do you think is the best bet out of these four categories?”

  • Bob Roberts

    Re: Car/Pit I’ll go with Pit.

    No ties for David either, right?

  • Can I push?? hehe

    If they have a healthy 2nd and 3rd line then I think Calgary is deep and tough enough to make it. If not then I would go with Pittsburgh.

  • Ari

    I think Calgary’s D is too banged up to make a run.