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We have just two teams left standing on the ice, and they took opposite paths to get to the Stanley Cup Final. One opened with the third-lowest Stanley Cup odds at William Hill and has been the favorite in every playoff series. The other was tied for the 19th-lowest Stanley Cup odds when they were first released and has been an underdog in every playoff series.
Let’s examine the odds and notable wagers on the Lightning and Canadiens heading into tonight’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
After winning the second Cup in franchise history in 2020, the Lightning were displayed at +650 to repeat when William Hill released its 2021 Stanley Cup futures on Sept. 29. Tampa Bay only trailed the Golden Knights and Avalanche, who were +600 co-favorites.
The Lightning were never the Stanley Cup favorite at William Hill Nevada during the regular season, as their lowest odds were +600 from March 12 to April 10. Their highest odds were 10/1, which is where they resided for a mere day: April 29.
Tampa Bay was at +700 heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs (May 14), behind the Golden Knights (+350), Avalanche (+450) and the Maple Leafs (+650). The Lightning ranked fourth in total number of tickets (7%) and third in total dollars wagered (12%) among all Stanley Cup futures bets at William Hill at that time.
That included one Nevada bettor placing $9,000 on Lightning +850, and then laying another $9,000 on Lightning +800 a few days later. If Tampa Bay were to win it all, that bettor would receive a total payout of $166,500.
The Lightning were the series favorites in each of the first three rounds. They were -155 against the Panthers (+135), then -135 against the Hurricanes (+115) and -260 against the Islanders (+220).
The first time the Lightning were sole Stanley Cup favorites at William Hill Nevada was on June 8, when they were moved from +240 to +200 and then again to +190. They were behind the Golden Knights (+200) and Avalanche (+220) earlier that day before landing atop the board.
On the other side, the Canadiens were certainly a surprise to make it this far. Montreal’s Stanley Cup odds opened at 50/1, the same price as the Coyotes, Jets and Sharks. Only nine teams had worse Stanley Cup odds on Sept. 29 than the Canadiens.
On opening night of the NHL season (Jan. 13), the Canadiens moved all the way down to 28/1. After reaching as low as 10/1 from Feb. 18 to Feb. 27, Montreal was back up to 25/1 on March 31 and 40/1 on May 8. Entering the postseason the Canadiens were 50/1, which were the third-highest odds with the Predators and Jets at 60/1 apiece.
The highest their odds reached at any point was 125/1, back when the Canadiens were down 3-1 in their opening-round matchup to the Maple Leafs. Montreal was a +285 underdog in that series against Toronto (-345), +110 against the Jets (-130) and +375 against the Golden Knights (-475).
The Lightning and Canadiens are in familiar positions in the Stanley Cup Final, with the Lightning serving as the -280 favorites and the Canadiens as the +240 underdogs.
There are many William Hill bettors who nabbed the Canadiens at a high price to win the Stanley Cup, including a $2,500 wager at 28/1 ($70,000 winnings) and a $1,000 wager at 45/1 ($45,000 winnings).
Check out William Hill’s Stanley Cup odds on the Canadiens throughout various points of the season below.