NHL Futures (2/11/14)

By John Ewing
Most of the NHL’s finest players are in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. With the NHL on hiatus, it is a perfect time to simulate the NHL Playoffs and find value in hockey futures. Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv.

To set up our NHL Playoffs we used our rest of season projections to determine which teams would make the postseason. As a result a team like Detroit that is currently in the postseason if the playoffs started today, misses out. Also, seeding is a little different as we project certain teams to finish stronger than their current record.
After 50,000 simulations of our most likely NHL Playoffs, the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup. The Blues win 23.9% of all simulated tournaments. In the most likely Stanley Cup Finals, the Blues defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Stanley Cup winner is most likely to come from the Western Conference as the conference’s top three teams (Blues, Blackhawks, and Ducks) win 52.8% of all simulated playoffs.
To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the Stanley Cup and compare that to our projected odds that they win the Cup. For example, St. Louis is listed at 11/2 to win the championship, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Blues they would need to win it all 15.4% (which is 2/(11+2)) of the time. We project St. Louis to win it all 23.9% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at 11/2 odds.
St. Louis Blues (39-12-6, 84 points, 1st in Central)
Current odds: 11/2, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 15.4%
St. Louis wins the Stanley Cup 23.9% of the time
The Blues have won three of the last four games before the break and trade rumors have St. Louis as possible landing spot for both Ryan Miller and Ryan Callahan. The Blues already feature one of the deepest teams in the NHL with 10 Olympians.
Chicago Blackhawks (35-11-14, 84 points, 2nd in Central)
Current odds: 6/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 14.3%
Chicago wins the Stanley Cup 17.2% of the time
The defending champions are tied for sending a league-leading 10 players to the Olympics. There is a lot of talent on this roster and Chicago has a legitimate chance to be the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since Detroit in 1997-98.
Pittsburgh Penguins (40-15-3, 83 points, 1st in Metropolitan)
Current odds: 6/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 14.3%
Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup 21.9% of the time
The Penguins are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference and the most likely team of all the playoff contenders to reach the Stanley Cup (Penguins 43.6%, Blues 38.3%).
Below are the odds for each team to win the Stanley Cup. Plus, odds needed to place a wager and our projected odds for each team.
Team Stanley Cup Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Blues 11/2 15.4% 23.9%
Blackhawks 6/1 14.3% 17.2%
Penguins 6/1 14.3% 21.9%
Ducks 7/1 12.5% 11.7%
Bruins 10/1 9.1% 7.9%
Sharks 10/1 9.1% 5.1%
Kings 16/1 5.9% 1.7%
Avalanche 20/1 4.8% 1.4%
Rangers 20/1 4.8% 2.1%
Maple Leafs 20/1 4.8% 0.6%
Flyers 22/1 4.3% 0.1%
Lightning 22/1 4.3% 3.1%
Canadiens 28/1 3.4% 1.0%
Blue Jackets 40/1 2.4% 1.9%
Wild 40/1 2.4% 0.3%
Stars 75/1 1.3% 0.5%