Stanley Cup Odds: Panthers Are the Favorites in an Open Field

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
Stanley Cup Odds: Panthers Are the Favorites in an Open Field

We're through two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and four teams are still going strong in the Conference Finals.

Now that we know who the final four teams are, we can get an accurate assessment of their chances of winning the Stanley Cup.

Let's take a look at the remaining teams and their Stanley Cup odds according to the NHL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook:

Stanley Cup Odds

Florida Panthers+230
Dallas Stars+240
Edmonton Oilers+270
New York Rangers +380

Florida Panthers (+230)

Last season's Eastern Conference champions are now the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season. The Florida Panthers had a good regular season and got to the Conference finals with relative ease.

The Panthers won in Round 1 in five games and prevailed in six games in the second round. They finished the regular season with 110 points, tied for the fourth-most in the NHL.

The underlying data for Florida was a strong point during the regular season as they controlled 54.86% of the expected goals (xG) at five-on-five.

That percentage has gone down to 50.22% in the playoffs, but it has to do with facing tougher competition. Their power play is also down a hair from 23.8% in the regular season to 22.0% in the postseason.

A big reason for their run last season was Sergei Bobrovsky. He saved 16.3 goals above expected in last season's playoffs, nearly double that of any other goaltender. This year, he hasn't been quite as good, but he's still saving 0.237 goals above expected per 60 minutes.

Florida doesn't have many weaknesses, so they are deserving favorites, although this field is pretty wide open.

Dallas Stars (+240)

The Dallas Stars got through the gauntlet that was the Central Division, and it wasn't easy. The Vegas Golden Knights were the Wild Card in this quadrant of the bracket, and that series took seven games. The Stars also had a tough series against the Colorado Avalanche that went six games.

That made Dallas' path to get here the longest and most difficult of any of the four remaining teams, but they certainly impressed in those games. They have a 55.47% xG rate at full strength -- which is the best in the playoffs.

Many people liked Dallas heading into the season, and a big part of that was because of Jake Oettinger in net. Oettinger had a shaky regular season but has upped his game in the playoffs. He saved 0.037 goals above expected per 60 minutes in the regular season and now has saved 0.375 per 60 through the first two rounds.

It's somewhat surprising that the Stars got to this point with Jason Robertson having just three goals in 13 playoff games. Robertson was third on the team in goals with 29. That could mean that there is room for improvement for one of Dallas' best players. At the same time, the Stars likely need to get Robertson going if they want to win the cup.

Another concern for one of the Stars' best players is the injury to Roope Hintz. Hintz missed the last two games against Colorado and is considered day-to-day heading into this series.

Dallas is similar to Florida -- not a lot of flaws and a deep roster at most positions. Their could be some value in betting on them to win the cup now, as they will have a nice rest advantage moving into the upcoming round.

Edmonton Oilers (+270)

The Edmonton Oilers snuck by in Round 2, and they may have left people less impressed than they were heading into the previous round

The Oilers went seven games against a Vancouver Canucks team that was down to their third goaltender. Edmonton was able to get the job done in the end, but a quicker series could have given them more rest headed into this round.

There are question marks in goal for the Oilers. Stuart Skinner has allowed 0.215 goals above expected per 60 minutes this postseason, the second-worst mark for any goalie that's played at least five playoff games.

Another concern about Edmonton is their five-on-five play -- something that was a concern in last year's playoffs, as well. They've generated just 2.41 xG per 60 minutes at five-on-five, which is ninth in the playoffs. That's a bad sign for their matchup against the Stars, a team that has allowed the second-fewest xG per 60 at full strength in the playoffs.

Edmonton has the top-end talent to drive them forward. The top four point scorers in the playoffs all play for the Oilers, and that doesn't even include Zach Hyman, who has the most goals in the postseason.

While the Oilers have shown this year that they can -- at times -- be the best team in the league, the last series worries me too much to back them at this number.

New York Rangers (+380)

Last but certainly not least is the New York Rangers. They won the Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the regular season but are underdogs in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Panthers.

The Rangers won their first seven playoff games this season. After winning their first three games against the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2, New York lost two straight and was trailing 3-1 in the third period of Game 6 before a miraculous comeback win, a victory that ended the series.

The knock on the Rangers is that they aren't as strong of a five-on-five team as the other remaining squads. Their five-on-five xG% was 20th in the league while the other remaining teams were all in the top five.

New York does have some things that can help them overcome that. Igor Shesterkin has been excellent in the playoffs and could be considered the best goalie in the playoffs. They also are very good on special teams, with the third-best power play and second-best penalty kill in the postseason.

The fact that the Rangers have home ice advantage the rest of the way makes them an interesting bet at these odds. It would be nice to be getting a little longer odds on the team that is considered the biggest underdog to win the Cup, but this +380 number is enticing for a team that is 8-2 in these playoffs.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.