After a relatively boring Super Wild Card weekend, we head to the NFL Divisional Round where the favourites could once again dominate. The chalk went 5-1 last week with the only upset coming by way of San Francisco over Dallas, the closest matchup per the NFL betting odds. Our parlay got snapped before it got started and we went 3-3 as we look to tighter games this week.
NHL 2021-22 Picks Update: Buy The Canucks Now!
We are just about one-third into the 2021-22 NHL season as we turn our calendars to 2022. With most Canadian teams having hit the 30-game mark, we can give an update on where each of the seven franchises stand. The Toronto Maple Leafs still lead the way but one team in particular, the Vancouver Canucks, is red hot. Is it worth investing in this resurgent franchise?
We still have plenty of hockey left to play but so far, the divide is widening between the contenders and the pretenders. The Toronto Maple Leafs lead all Canadian teams by a wide margin per the latest Stanley Cup Final betting odds.
Since we did our preseason preview, several teams have risen and fallen. The Vancouver Canucks have been on a tear since switching to Bruce Boudreau behind the bench while Ottawa and Montreal appear to be headed for the NHL Lottery as we look at the table:
|2022 Stanley Cup Odds|
Toronto Maple Leafs
2021-22 NHL Betting Picks: Bet on the Canucks
Going as high as 125-1 on the updated NHL betting odds, the Canucks have a lot of value, especially in comparison to Winnipeg and its divisional peers. Sure, the Canucks are still out of the playoff picture. But under Boudreau, whose teams have consistently averaged over 100 points in a season, the Canucks may just sneak into the playoffs.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) December 30, 2021
Once in the playoffs, it could be any team’s game, especially teams with a hot netminder. That’s where Thatcher Demko comes into the picture. The American has been nigh-unbeatable under Boudreau with a 6-0-0 record, a 95.8% save percentage thanks to allowing just eight goals on the 192 shots he faced.
As far as betting on longshots to win the Cup, you can do worse than the Canucks.
SBR’s Pick – Canucks – To Win Stanley Cup (126.00). This may seem like a losing bet, but tell that to folks who bet 2019, St. Louis Blues, when they were last in the conference. You know what they have in common? A coaching change and a goalie that can steal games. Now is the time to bet on the Canucks while they still have these odds. Once they close the gap, their odds will shorten considerably.
Best of the Rest: Odds on the Other Canadian Contenders
As much as we love a feel-good story like the Canucks, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. There are a few other Canadian teams who have a realistic shot at winning the Stanley Cup:
Toronto Maple Leafs
The much-maligned Maple Leafs remain the odds-on favourites to end Canada’s Stanley Cup drought despite their own playoffs drought: Toronto has yet to win a playoff series. But there are plenty of signs that point to this season finally being the season Toronto goes deep into the playoffs.
For one, its divisional rivals are missing too many key players. Tampa Bay has remained elite but is missing its top scorers plus its entire checking line. The Bruins have not been the same juggernaut since losing in the Stanley Cup Finals while Florida has started to slow down since starting the season on fire.
SBR’s Pick - Maple Leafs – To Win Stanley Cup (8.00). Few teams have been as consistent as the Leafs. They lead the league in 5-on-5 scoring chances and have the second-most non-shootout wins (20). Most notably, Jack Campbell is the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy. If he can keep this up, no team will want to play Toronto. The playoff demons are exorcised this year.
No Stanley Cup contenders’ list is complete without the best hockey player in the world. Connor McDavid’s Oilers have started to slow down but are still within striking distance of the Pacific Division’s top-three. At the least, Edmonton should clinch one of the wild card spots.
Edmonton has plenty of issues: goaltending, defence, and scoring depth. But the team still leads the NHL in power-play percent (PP%) and has the best PP differential at +13. This team may just be one big trade away from having a Vancouver-like resurgence.
SBR’s Pick - Oilers – To Win Stanley Cup (23.00). Seeing over 20-1 on Edmonton to win the cup is eye-popping. The Oilers are just a tier below the Tampa Bays and Colorados of the league. We’re still not as crazy about this number as Vancouver’s, but keep an eye out and see if it lengthens.
Opposite of Toronto and Edmonton is Daryl Sutter’s crew: the Flames combine the best parts of Sutter’s era of hockey with today’s generation. Blending size and physicality with speed and skill, the Flames have been this season’s most surprising team and the most recent hockey betting odds still have them as longshots.
Calgary plays elite hockey on 5-on-5 and special teams and is third overall in goal differential. Most notably, the Flames have one of the best road records, which could prove the difference in the playoffs. Jakob Markstrom is also making a case for the Vezina. Here’s hoping they do not run out of gas.
SBR’s Pick - Flames – To Win Stanley Cup (26.00). What separates Calgary from the rest of the teams here is their style of hockey: they can grind it out and get physical, which is what you need in the playoffs. Toronto and Edmonton may get outgrinded in the playoffs, but Calgary won’t.
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