Oilers settle in as betting underdogs to win the Stanley Cup

The Oilers have already defied the odds by even reaching the Stanley Cup Final, but will once again be underdogs when they face off with the Panthers.
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

Prior to the 2023-24 NHL regular season, the Edmonton Oilers were picked by many to win the Stanley Cup. This extended to the various betting companies around North America and beyond.

However, now that the Oilers have actually made it to the Stanley Cup Final, it's a different story. The majority of sports media outlets are picking the Florida Panthers to win it all, with it being a similar story on the betting side of things.

Among those who have the Oilers as underdogs to claim the Holy Grail, include FanDuel and DraftKings. Both of them have the Panthers as -130 to win it all, while putting the Oilers at +108 and +110 respectively.

This extends to game one specifically, with puck-drop set for 6 pm MT on Saturday night, at Amerant Bank Arena in Florida. Both FanDuel and DraftKings have the Oilers as 1.5 underdogs to win the game.

Some hope for the Oilers - betting and otherwise

What's interesting though, is that FanDuel has three Oilers as the most likely to lead the series in overall points and it isn't even close. Connor McDavid is +120, Leon Draisaitl is +320 and Evan Bouchard is +850, before we finally come to a Panther, with Aleksander Barkov at +1300.

Of course we appreciate that McDavid, Draisaitl and Bouchard are already ranked one, two and three respectively, for most points so far in this season's playoffs. However, despite the Panthers being betting favourites to win it all, the individual player odds allude to the potential -- and hope of many -- for a close series.

Some people will understandably point towards the Panthers winning both games versus the Oilers during the regular season, by a combined score of 10-4. (5-3 and 5-1 respectively.) However, it's worth noting that Calvin Pickard started both games, as opposed to Stuart Skinner.

As we all witnessed on Sunday night, Skinner had his best ever playoff game in an Oilers uniform and indeed probably his best game full stop during his time in Edmonton. You figure with him between the pipes and playing at the top of his game, there should be no more five-goal games in the near future for the Panthers.

Strength versus strength

Away from actual odds, albeit something which will still influence what people decide to bet on, special teams will play a pivotal role in the outcome, with the Oilers having the most efficient power play unit during these playoffs. And with the Panthers having compiled the most penalties (along with the New York Rangers thus far), McDavid, Draisaitl and company should have plenty of opportunities to take advantage.

At the same time however, all of those penalties have given the Panthers plenty of opportunities to practice at being down a man. Consider that they have the second-best penalty kill unit during these playoffs. (Behind none other than the Oilers mind, who are currently on a run of 28 successive penalty kills.)

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Let's be clear -- and objective -- in stating that we fully appreciate why the Panthers are favourites to lift the Stanley Cup, while also acknowledging the familiar saying that the house always wins. However, if anyone can overcome the odds, it's the team which contains the likes of the best player in the game, another who's in the top 5-10, the best offensive blue-liner this season and the playoffs' leading goalscorer, in Zach Hyman.

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