Stanley Cup Playoff Betting Trends: Rangers and Oilers Getting Action

New York, New York is proving to be the bettors’ kind of town.

The New York Rangers are the biggest futures liability for DraftKings as the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs hit full second-round stride.

It’s not simply betting odds that fuel the action, according to Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings.

It’s mystique.

“We’re down to eight teams and you can make an argument for all of them, but bettors always love the Rangers,” Avello told Gaming Today.

“I don’t care how their season is going, they are going to be a popular team nationwide. When you then add that they are very good this year, that has made bettors come out even more.”

Gamblers jumped on New York’s Stanley Cup futures at +1800 early in the season and bit even at + 1400 when the Rangers unfurled a nine-game early-season win streak. New York tallied an NHL-best 114 points and notched a playoff-opening sweep of the Washington Capitals.

Bettors then gained unexpected value as books favored the Carolina Panthers slightly for the second round that began on Sunday. The Rangers were +120 for the series and managed to hold off Carolina 4-3 in Game 1. They then won a double-overtime 4-3 thriller on Tuesday night.

New York stands at -280, with Carolina at +235, for the best-of-seven series resuming on Thursday in North Carolina.

“The team itself is pretty solid,” Avello observes. “They are balanced and they are disciplined.

“Do they have a team that is good enough to go all the way? Yes, they do. But are they much better than the Dallas Stars (113 points), Carolina Panthers (111), Florida Panthers (110), and Boston Bruins (109)? I don’t think so.

“This is wide open and should be a dogfight. That’s what makes the NHL what it is in the postseason.”

Elsewhere around the circuit, Avello said the Bruins are playing with a chip on their shoulder in facing the Florida Panthers, whom they torched 5-1 in the series opener.

“They are frustrated over what happened last year,” he noted of Boston amassing the most regular-season points in NHL history (135) only to squander a 3-1 first-round series lead against the Panthers. Boston lost two of the last three games in overtime.

In the Western Conference, Avello added that the Edmonton Oilers’ star power of Connor McDavid (132 points), Leon Draisaitl (106), and Zach Hyman (54 goals) have also sparked betting interest. This has been especially noteworthy with the Edmonton games starting around 10 p.m. on the East Coast. The Oilers make bettors want to stay up late.

The Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks as a significant favorite despite Vancouver amassing more regular-season points.

The Colorado Avalanche, who have been under the radar, rallied from a 3-0 hole to top the Stars 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday and have won five straight.

More: NHL Odds | Best NHL Betting Apps | Best NHL Betting Promotions

In-Game Betting Now Rivals Pre-Game Totals

When we first interviewed Avello about betting trends four years ago, in-game betting comprised about 15% of the overall action. It was expected to climb steadily and has.

Avello says in-game wagering now is in the ballpark of 50/50 with pre-game betting handle, at least for hockey.

That’s a monumental upgrade. It’s likely that pre-game wagers have held their ground and that this signifies a substantial betting spike.

“A big key to that is all the components that we have put up there,” Avello noted. “You can build your own in-game parlay all throughout the game. There is a multitude of scoring props. It’s not just a goal total and a side, but there’s an excellent menu of bets.”

Gamblers have also increased their knowledge of these options. They get a sense of game flow and can bet which team will score next. They can bet on whether to lay 1-2 goals midway through the contest.

Possibilities are extensive.

“It also helps us that the games are laid out and scheduled well,” Avello said. “We notice that as there are less games, there are more wagers being made and bigger wagers too. They can put all that money into one game if they like because it is isolated. It’s important that the NHL at least has one game every night and that when it has more, the games don’t go off at the same time.

“As the playoffs get to the third round, it’s likely that they will continue to be isolated and also not be up head-to-head with the NBA.”

Avello said NHL betting handle doesn’t match the NBA, which is one of the premier action sources across all sportsbooks. Positioning is thus key.

Gamblers Consider One-Game Bets That Differ From Series Trend

The Rangers vs. Hurricanes series has been perceived as a long, nail-biting series filled with one-goal games.

There have already been two 4-3 games won by the Rangers.

Game 2 indicated that the book was all over a trend that looked set to materialize until Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin stood on his head with 54 saves.

Despite trailing in the series 1-0, Carolina was installed as a -122 Game 2 road favorite against the team with the most points in the NHL. On the road against a Rangers team that entered 5-0 in the postseason. And on the road, where Carolina had been 4-12.

But the book knew something. Carolina was also a high +210 on the puck line, projecting a one-goal game here.

That’s exactly what occurred. What could not be projected was Shesterkin’s acrobatics.

Carolina outshot New York 57-39 and played well enough to win, but the Rangers managed to steal it.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

Get connected with us on Social Media