Does being a hub city matter?
Some oddsmakers seem to think so.
While Stanley Cup odds vary depending who is setting them, there are some bookies listing both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers near the top of the odds lists.
Toronto and Edmonton are reportedly going to be the NHL’s two hub cities, with games being played at Scotiabank Arena and Rogers Place until the second round of the playoffs. From there, it’s likely that Edmonton will host the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final too.
Will it matter where the games are played? There will be no fans in attendance, no travel for the road teams, and even the hosts will have to stay in a hotel.
And yet, both the Oilers and Leafs saw an improvement in their odds of winning it all. The Leafs in particular shot way up in the last month according to the average odds from online sportsbooks, compiled by Sports Betting Dime.
On June 2, when Toronto was a long shot to be named a hub city, the Leafs were at +2500. One month later, they’re listed at +1800. Edmonton was a hub city contender throughout, but still saw their odds improve from +2500 to +2200.
Oddsmakers at Sports Interactions appear to believe it will play a factor. The Oilers have the fifth-best odds of winning the Stanley Cup, ahead of the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, and Dallas Stars — four teams that are getting a bye to the first round of the playoffs.
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+500|
|Vegas Golden Knights||+625|
|St. Louis Blues||+925|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1000|
|New York Rangers||+4000|
|New York Islanders||+5000|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+5000|
Like the Oilers, the Maple Leafs will need to win a qualifying round series just to get into the final 16, yet they’re favoured ahead of the Flyers and Stars as well.
No other qualifying round teams other than Edmonton and Toronto have stronger odds than a team with a bye.
Four other Canadian teams are in the mix of course, with the Vancouver Canucks given the 12th-best odds, followed by the Calgary Flames (13th), Winnipeg Jets (16th), and Montreal Canadiens (23rd).
The Tampa Bay Lightning (+500), Boston Bruins (+550), Vegas Golden Knights (+625), and Colorado Avalanche (+725) are currently the top favourites to win the Cup.