In Las Vegas and the sportsbook industry, the good folks must be receiving truckloads of money on the revamped Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup. Despite not winning a playoff game in two years, the Penguins are early favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup.
Whenever it occurs, anyway.
This offseason, the Penguins have changed in small but significant ways. The Penguins have a new third pairing with Mike Matheson and Cody Ceci. The team also has a new third line with Mark Jankowski and possibly Evan Rodrigues. The big Penguins add was RW Kasperi Kapanen, for whom GM Jim Rutherford spent the last bits of the Penguins’ near-term future to acquire.
Oddsmakers don’t set the odds based on a team’s chances but on how to elicit even bets on each side, making the odds even more interesting.
Despite saying goodbye to the 2017 Stanley Cup hero and team heartbeat Patric Hornqvist, the Penguins are a top-5 bet to win the Stanley Cup. According to multiple books, the Penguins are an 18-1 shot to win, and they share the level with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
According to Draft Kings, the Penguins are still a top-10 bet with the Carolina Hurricanes at 20-1.
The Eastern Conference will mix older favorites trying to rebound and young teams finding their way. The Tampa Bay Lightning is still an unfinished product after winning its second Stanley Cup last month. The team has a trio of big-time RFAs, including defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and center Anthony Cirelli.
Until Tampa Bay finds the necessary coins to ink their young stars, the old guard appears poised to fill the favorite role, at least one more time.
The Boston Bruins are prohibitive favorites after winning the Eastern Conference in 2019 and giving Tampa Bay a serious challenge in the NHL Bubble this season. The stacked Colorado Avalanche, which still has cap space, one of the best players in the league (Nathan MacKinnon), is a 7.5-1 favorite in most books.
The 2018 Stanley Cup winner Washington Capitals and 2019 winner St. Louis Blues are 17-1 shots to hoist the 35 pounds of silver. And the Philadelphia Flyers in front of emerging star goalie Carter Hart are a surprising 15-1. Washington and Philadelphia share the Penguins’ short-term outlook with aging top lines and a lack of youth in prime positions.
Washington has also struggled and has not won a playoff series since its celebrated Cup victory. Like the Penguins, Washington has won only one postseason game over the past two seasons.
To show how much money oddsmakers expect to drop on the Penguins, several excellent teams have higher odds. The defending Western Conference champion Dallas Stars are 22-1, the Edmonton Oilers are 23-1, and Eastern Conference Finalist New York Islanders are 27-1.
A long shot that grabbed our attention was the Montreal Canadiens at 50-1.
Anyone who watched Montreal beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2020 NHL postseason and battle in the NHL playoffs should know they have some young players about to take prominent roles and a goalie, Carey Price, capable of a series theft.
If you’re curious, the New York Rangers with top overall pick Alexis Lafreniere is 27-1, and the worst odds belong to the Detroit Red Wings at 300-1.
Matt Murray and the Ottawa Senators are 175-1.
So, would you bet on the Pittsburgh Penguins to win with favorite odds? Obviously, many are.