Stanley Cup Betting

How to bet and odds on the 2021 Stanley Cup

Few sports see its level of play rise as high in the postseason as hockey does. The NHL shines during the Stanley Cup playoffs as players put it all on the line to win a title.

With legal sports betting now live in Virginia, you can get in on all the Stanley Cup betting you want. From year-round futures odds to game-by-game and in-game betting throughout the finals, Virginia sportsbooks have you covered.

On this page we’ll explain how Stanley Cup odds work, the best sportsbooks in Virginia to bet on the Stanley Cup, the best current Stanley Cup odds and more about your favorite local team, the 2017-18 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

2021 Stanley Cup playoff odds

See below for the real-time odds for each NHL team to win the Stanley Cup this season. Odds are directly from the top Virginia online sportsbooks; click on any odds to claim your welcome bonus and register a new account.

Why do Stanley Cup odds change?

Stanley Cup future odds let you bet on any team to win the Stanley Cup in a season. Virginia sportsbooks open the futures odds market in the offseason, which means you can bet on who you think will win the Stanley Cup all year long.

Of course, those odds are adjusted throughout the year. Team-altering offseason trades and free-agent signings force sportsbooks to change the odds in the offseason and, once the season starts, injuries, trades and the play on the ice will impact the odds almost daily.

Significant betting on one team or another may also impact the odds. Ssportsbooks try to set and adjust Stanley Cup odds to a point where they will attract an equal amount of betting across the board. Once the playoffs begin, teams that are eliminated are dropped and the odds shrink for remaining contenders.

Finally, the futures market closes and morphs into game-by-game Stanley Cup final lines when just two teams are left to battle for the NHL’s biggest prize.

The NHL in Virginia

Virginia is the most populous state without a major pro sports franchise. However, the NHL’s Washington Capitals have their headquarters and practice facilities at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in the Ballston neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia.

There was a bid to bring an NHL expansion team to Norfolk in the late 1990s, but the NHL chose Columbus, Ohio and the Columbus Blue Jackets instead.

Washington Capitals Stanley Cup odds

The Washington, D.C.-based Caps play in the NHL’s East Division. The team plays home games at Capital One Arena in Washington’s Chinatown neighborhood and has since 1997.

Ted Leonsis and his company Monumental Sports & Entertainment own the team and have since 1999.

The Capitals were founded in 1974 as an expansion team. Success has followed the drafting of Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin in 2004. The 2009-10 team won the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the most regular-season points. The team won it again in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

The Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in 2018. Ovechkin won the Rocket Richard Trophy in the 2017-18 season after leading the league in goals for a record-tying seventh time. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In March 2020, the 2019-20 NHL season was suspended as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Capitals advanced to the revised Stanley Cup playoff schedule that began in August 2020 but they were eliminated by the New York Islanders in the first round.

Betting on the Capitals to win the Stanley Cup will likely be a favorite of Virginia bettors given their recent run of making the postseason regularly.

How do the Stanley Cup playoffs work?

The Stanley Cup playoffs are how the NHL decides its champion. It’s a “single-elimination” tournament featuring four rounds of best-of-seven series between the top 16 teams in the league. For 2021, that means the four top teams from each division.

The league seeds the teams according to record. The best team in each division faces the bottom team in the first round, and then it’s No. 2 vs. No. 3. The winners advance, and the top-seeded teams continue to face the lowest remaining seeds for the second round. For the third round, the four remaining teams are re-seeded according to their regular season records and play to see which two teams advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

With the new divisional format for 2021, it’s possible that two teams that traditionally play in the same Eastern or Western Conference, could face off for the Cup in the Finals.

Greatest moments in Stanley Cup history

1951 — Barilko scores OT winner

The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1951. The Stanley Cup finals were a five-game affair with all five games going to overtime.

Bill Barilko scored the overtime winner for the Leafs in Game 5 to give the team the cup win over a rival Montreal Canadiens squad. It marked the Leafs’ fourth championship in five years, but they wouldn’t win another for more than a decade.

Barilko died in a plane crash that summer. His body was not found until 1962, 11 years later, the next time the Leafs would win the Stanley Cup.

1960 — Habs win fifth-straight in Rocket’s final game

The Montreal Canadiens won their fifth straight Stanley Cup in 1960. The Canadiens took care of a storied rival Toronto Maple Leafs team in four straight in the Stanley Cup Final. The Game 4 win was Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s last NHL game.

The Canadiens remain the only team to ever win five-straight titles.

1970 — Bobby Orr flies through the air

The Boston Bruins swept the St. Louis Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final to win the cup.

Bruins legend Bobby Orr scored the overtime game and series winner in Game 4 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

Orr was tripped on his way to the net and appears to fly through the air and raise his arms in victory after putting the puck in the net, making for one of the most iconic replays and photos in NHL history.

1971 — Rookie Dryden wins Conn Smythe

Rookie goalie Ken Dryden backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup win in 1971.

Along the way, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Amazingly, Dryden had only played a total of six NHL games before the playoffs began.

The Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games in the finals. Dryden went on to win five more Stanley Cups with Montreal in his eight NHL seasons.

1980 — Islanders begin ’80s dynasty

The New York Islanders won the first of four straight championships in the 1980 Stanley Cup Final.

Bob Nystrom’s overtime goal in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers helped the Islanders rip off the “chokers” label and kick off the NHL’s next dynasty.

Top five NHL teams with most Stanley Cups

Here’s a look at the top five winning teams in Stanley Cup history:

1. Montreal Canadiens (23)

The Montreal Canadiens have won more Stanley Cups than any other NHL franchise at an incredible 23. That’s 10 more than any other NHL franchise.

However, the Canadiens have not won a cup since 1992-93. The Montreal Canadiens’ Stanley Cup wins came in the following seasons:

  • 1923-24
  • 1929-30
  • 1930-31
  • 1943-44
  • 1945-46
  • 1952-53
  • 1955-56
  • 1956-57
  • 1957-58
  • 1958-59
  • 1959-60
  • 1964-65
  • 1965–66
  • 1967-68
  • 1968-69
  • 1970-71
  • 1972-73
  • 1975-76
  • 1976-77
  • 1977-78
  • 1978-79
  • 1985-86
  • 1992-93

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (13)

The Canadiens’ biggest Stanley Cup rival is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have won 13 titles. However, the Leafs have not won since 1967, marking an NHL record 52-season drought.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup wins came in the following seasons:

  • 1917-18
  • 1921-22
  • 1931-32
  • 1941-42
  • 1944-45
  • 1946-47
  • 1947-48
  • 1948-49
  • 1950-51
  • 1961-62
  • 1962-63
  • 1963-64
  • 1966-67

3. Detroit Red Wings (11)

The Detroit Red Wings are close to the Leafs with 11 Stanley Cup wins. The team’s last Stanley Cup win came in the 2007-08 season.

The Detroit Red Wings’ Stanley Cup wins came in the following seasons:

  • 1935-36
  • 1936-37
  • 1942-43
  • 1949-50
  • 1951-52
  • 1953-54
  • 1954-55
  • 1996-97
  • 1997-98
  • 2001-02
  • 2007-08

4/5. Boston Bruins (6) and Chicago Blackhawks (6)

Both the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have six Stanley Cup wins. The Bruins last won in the 2010-11 season, ending a 39-year Stanley Cup drought. The Blackhawks last won in 2015, marking the team’s third title in six seasons.

The Boston Bruins were Stanley Cup winners in the following seasons:

  • 1928-29
  • 1938-39
  • 1940-41
  • 1969-70
  • 1971-72
  • 2010-11

The Chicago Blackhawks were Stanley Cup winners in the following seasons:

  • 1933-34
  • 1937-38
  • 1960-61
  • 2009-10
  • 2012-13
  • 2014-15

Biggest upsets in NHL playoff history

The following five teams defied all odds to become playoff series winners and belong on any list of the biggest upsets in NHL playoff history:

2011-12 Los Angeles Kings

As back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Vancouver Canucks were considered favorites to win it all, that is until they ran into the Los Angeles Kings, who bounced them out of the first round of the playoffs with a 4-1 series victory. The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup as a No. 8 seed.

2009-10 Montreal Canadiens

The Washington Capitals were considered Stanley Cup favorites after winning the Presidents’ Trophy. However, they failed to stop Montreal from winning Game 1 of their first-round series, and from coming back from being down 3-1 after Game 4.

Montreal was actually the first No. 8 seed in NHL history to come back from being down 3-1. Unfortunately, the Canadiens lost to Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference finals.

2002-03 Minnesota Wild

The 2002-03 Colorado Avalanche were led by superstars Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy. The Wild were a no-name team that had made the NHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Minnesota came back from being down 3-1 in the series and won Game 7 in overtime in Colorado.

1981-82 Los Angeles Kings

The Edmonton Oilers lost just 17 regular-season games heading into the NHL playoffs. The Kings had a losing record and squeaked in.

Marcel Dionne helped the Kings beat Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, et al., grabbing series momentum in the Miracle on Manchester, a Game 3 comeback that started with the Kings down five goals to nothing, marking the largest comeback in playoff history.

2005-06 Edmonton Oilers

The Detroit Red Wings were considered Stanley Cup favorites after winning the Presidents’ Trophy behind the play of stars like Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios. The Oilers hadn’t won a single playoff series in the previous eight years.

After they split the first four games, goalie Dwayne Roloson led the Oilers to a Game 5 win that included a winning goal with a little over a minute to play.

Unfortunately, the Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.

FAQ

How do Virginia Stanley Cup odds compare to Vegas odds?

Virginia sportsbooks will set NHL Stanley Cup futures odds based on the same criteria as Las Vegas sportsbooks. That means they’ll both take team history, recent performance, roster moves, and statistics into account. It also means the Stanley Cup betting lines will be almost exactly the same at first.

However, the betting patterns will most likely be different. That means Virginia sportsbooks and Las Vegas sportsbook will most likely adjust the lines throughout the season differently based on those different betting patterns.

 

How many Stanley Cups have the Washington Capitals won?

The Washington Capitals have just one Stanley Cup win. It came in 2018.

The team launched as an NHL expansion club in 1974 and made the 1998 Stanley Cup Final, where it lost to the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings four games to none.

When Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin joined Washington in 2004, its fortunes changed. The Caps won the 2009-10, 2015-16, and 2016-17 Presidents’ Trophies before the Stanley Cup win in the 2017-18 season. Ovechkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.

When does the Stanley Cup futures market open?

The Stanley Cup futures market for the upcoming season will launch even before the previous season is through. Of course, it’ll be adjusted after a Stanley Cup champion is crowned and throughout the offseason alongside any significant roster changes.

That means you can bet on your favorites to win the Stanley Cup next year throughout the offseason, regular season and playoffs. Plus, Virginia sportsbooks will continually adjust the odds throughout the year.

How many games make up the final round in the NHL playoffs?

The NHL playoffs consist of four rounds of best-of-seven series. That means the Stanley Cup Final will take place over as little as four or as many as seven games. The first team to win four games wins the Stanley Cup and is the NHL champ.

How is home ice determined for the Stanley Cup Final?

Whichever team has the best regular season record gets home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final. That means it hosts Games 1 and 2, and possibly 5 and 7.

The other teams hosts Games 3, 4, and possibly 6.

Is it a good idea to bet on a Stanley Cup champion to repeat?

Seven teams have won back-to-back Stanley Cups or more. It’s unlikely this year’s Stanley Cup champion will repeat, but certainly not impossible.

That said, only 20 of the NHL’s 31 teams have won the Stanley Cup, and 14 of those teams have multiple Stanley Cup wins. That means it’s pretty likely next year’s Stanley Cup champion will have won a Stanley Cup before.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the franchise’s second Stanley Cup in 2020.