ArticlesVideosExpert PicksPromotions
HomeFree ToolsPremium ToolsOffersAccount
Categories NHL

Longshot NHL Futures You Should Make RIGHT NOW

This NHL season is completely wide open, both in terms of Stanley Cup and awards odds. There really is no telling if someone is going to pull away as the Cup or MVP favorite, and the odds are reflecting that. So since things are so up in the air and the second half of the NHL season has started rolling, why not take some swings at longshots? One team in particular is teeming with value as both a Stanley Cup and Hart Trophy longshot target, and we are going to break down why you should be betting this team right now.

Look for more NHL bets and futures? Make sure to head to OddsShopper’s Positive EV Bets tool to get the best value on the market!

React App

NHL Stanley Cup Longshot: The Canucks Are For Real

One thing that’s quite obvious looking at the odds is that no one has any idea who should be the Stanley Cup favorite at the midway point of the season. The top 10 falls entirely within the +750 to +1400 range.

A lot of that has to do with how tight the standings are at the top, especially relative to last year’s runaway Presidents Cup run from the Bruins. If the season ended today, the Canucks would take home the trophy, with their 68 points barely leading the 67 from Boston and the Jets’ 64. The Canucks also have the league’s highest goal differential at +59 — Winnipeg is second here (+42).

And yet futures bettors are not buying the Canucks (or the Jets really), as they are +1800 to win the Stanley Cup (12th in the NHL).

Look, NHL betting is ruled by star power. The Avalanche and Oilers were among the Cup favorites all of the 2022-23 season even as they both struggled to even come close to expectations. The reasons? Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar for Colorado, and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for Edmonton. Both teams are faring better this year — Colorado is only 3 points behind Vancouver — but these two teams being so far ahead of Vancouver and Winnipeg is a product of their superstars.

The Canucks do not have superstars in terms of the names. They do, however, have a couple of under-the-radar studs who could push for some Hart Trophy recognition; we will give them some shine later.

There is one other thing hurting Vancouver’s reputation. Advanced stats do not like the Canucks. At all. According to Natural Stat Trick, they rank 20th in five-on-five Corsi-For and Fenwick-For percentages — the most cited advanced metrics in hockey. Corsi is a measure of team possession, and Fenwick accounts for unblocked shots a team takes. The teams at the very top of both of these metrics are the Hurricanes, Kings, Oilers and Panthers; all of these are top-11 Stanley Cup contenders according to the odds, and three are top 5.

So what’s the case for the Canucks then? Why even bother betting the Canucks if they don’t pass the eye test with star players or the advanced test with the numbers?

The answer is simple: Hockey is as widely variant a playoff sport as there is; look no further than the Panthers beating the record-setting Bruins in Round 1 last year and making it to the Final as a No. 8 seed.

We just need to hit a team that is going to make the playoffs, get a good run of matchups and then have the depth to keep a hot streak. The Vegas Golden Knights did it last year without any super-duper stars. And do you want to know where Vegas ranked in Corsi and Fenwick during the regular season? 22nd and 21st, respectively.

But the Knights won their division, got a winnable first-round matchup and then smoked some star-laden teams en route to the Cup Final.

The Canucks have the biggest division lead in the NHL at 8 points over the Golden Knights. Even with the Oilers riding a 13-game winning streak, Vancouver has kept them well at arm’s distance and leads McDavid’s squad by 15. This is looking like a playoff lock, and that’s half the battle.

Truth be told, if I am making a pick as to who will win the Stanley Cup, I am probably taking Colorado. The Avalanche have been here before, and Winnipeg’s division lead looks vulnerable. As the odds tell it, however, the Canucks at +1800 versus the +750 the Avalanche see are a way better value. The team with the most points in the NHL being a Stanley Cup longshot? Yes, please.

Best 2023-24 Longshot Stanley Cup Pick: Vancouver Canucks (+1800 at BetMGM)

NHL Hart Trophy Longshot: I Repeat — Canucks Are For Real

Hart Trophy Odds

Just for the heck of it, we’re going to double-down on our Canucks value with the Stanley Cup by targeting a couple of their studs as longshot Hart Trophy plays.

Vancouver has two guys who are odds-on top-10 MVP options, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson — the only other team that can say that is Colorado with MacKinnon and Makar. While that may seem like a deterrent to their cases given they could leech votes from each other, MacKinnon is currently first at +175, narrowly ahead of McDavid at +350.

Odds have somewhat consolidated to three players: MacKinnon, McDavid and Nikita Kucherov. However, no one is pulling away in terms of narrative or production. The Hart winner was fairly obvious at this point in each of the last three seasons — or at the very least, the leader at this time ended up winning comfortably. McDavid cruised twice in that time, and Auston Matthews started pulling away in late winter of 2022 for his MVP win.

The point is that is not where we are in 2024.

Nathan MacKinnon+110
Connor McDavid+250
Nikita Kucherov+380
David Pastrnak+1000
Auston Matthews+1300
Artemi Panarin+1800
Quinn Hughes+3000
Elias Pettersson+3000
Cale Makar+4000
Jack Hughes+5000
Accurate as of Jan. 23, 2024 (from BetMGM)

This race is wide open, and while name recognition certainly gives MacKinnon, McDavid and Matthews an edge (as does the fact MacKinnon has not won yet despite numerous other accolades), there is room for an underdog here. If the Canucks keep this run going and surprise their way to the Presidents Cup — and these other guys or their teams fade — Pettersson and Hughes are probably going to move up the odds board.

As for these players’ cases independent of team success, they are both top 11 in points — their teammate J.T. Miller is actually ahead of both but is well down the odds board. Hughes is the top scoring defenseman in hockey, 3 points up on Makar, and leads the league in plus/minus. Pettersson’s case is not quite as strong, and up until recently he trailed Hughes on the odds board, but ranking sixth in points and 10th in assists on the top team in hockey is going to lead to some recognition.

On an individual basis, the play here is clearly Hughes, especially since he and Pettersson have the same odds right now. A defenseman has not won the Hart Trophy since Chris Pronger in 2000, and Makar’s popularity had him as the frontrunner to get there next, but Hughes has been the best defenseman in hockey this year. A strong finish can catapult him to the top 5, and with such long odds, he is worth a sprinkle.

Best 2023-24 Longshot Hart Trophy Pick: Quinn Hughes, Canucks Defenseman (+3000 at BetMGM)

React App

Featured Articles

Related Articles