In January of 1967, the first Super Bowl was played. Less than four months later, the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup.
There have been 54 more Super Bowls played since then. Leafs fans are still waiting on their next Stanley Cup. They haven’t even been back to the Stanley Cup Final since then.
There’s some hope this season. The Leafs have the best record in the NHL. They moved to 11-2-1 with a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, and lead the NHL with 23 points. Toronto hasn’t won a playoff series since 2004, but perhaps this is the team to finally make a postseason run?
The betting market isn’t entirely convinced that the Leafs are ready to win that elusive first Cup since 1967.
Maple Leafs aren’t close to Cup favorites yet
Despite the Leafs having the most points in the NHL, they are not the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
The top three hasn’t changed since the start of the season. The Colorado Avalanche are BetMGM’s favorite at +700, the Vegas Golden Knights are second at +750 and the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning is third at +800.
The Maple Leafs were sixth at +1200 on Wednesday, and nudged up to +1100 on Thursday at BetMGM.
If you believe if the Maple Leafs to win the Cup, now might be the time to bet them. Their hot start will begin to draw more attention, especially with the storyline of their Cup drought. The young star duo of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner is electric. It’s not a complete team and their 5-0-1 record in one-goal games is unsustainable, but the odds reflect that they’re a talented team with some flaws.
No team has really separated itself, and if the playoffs will be wide open as usual, why not the Leafs? Maybe it’s time to change their history.
Connor McDavid dominating some individual award races
One market that isn’t wide open is for the top individual awards. Those are Connor McDavid’s to lose.
The Edmonton Oilers star is the clear favorite to win the Hart Trophy given to the league’s MVP. He is +200, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche is +600 and Matthews is a distant third at +1100. The race for the Art Ross Trophy, which goes to the league leader in points, is more of a landslide in the betting market. McDavid is a heavy -120 favorite. McDavid led the league with 27 points through Wednesday’s games, though teammate Leon Draisaitl had 25. Draisaitl has +250 odds to win Art Ross, and no other player is under +1000.
There has been a fairly reliable betting trend in the NHL this season. While the old notions of home-field advantage are being tossed aside — road teams actually finished one game over .500 this past NFL regular season — home ice has mattered. Home teams are winning 57.8% of games according to Covers’ season trends. Favorites are an even better bet, cashing at a 66.3% clip. For home favorites, it goes to a dominating 71.2% win rate. Since the most popular way to bet hockey is on the moneyline, you’ll often pay heavy odds to take some of the better teams in the league when they’re at home. But they have been covering at a fantastic rate.
If you do like taking the puck line — the spread of 1.5 that changes the odds for both teams — nobody has been better than the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets. Through Wednesday’s games the Blackhawks were 11-3 on puck line bets and the Jets were 10-2 according to The Action Network’s standings. On the other end is the disappointing Pittsburgh Penguins, who were 1-10 against the puck line through Wednesday.
Like all other sports, this NHL season has been unusual. However, maybe a playoff run by the long-dormant Maple Leafs will be what we remember from it.