The Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice hockey supremacy in North America, is one of the most famous trophies in the world.

Awarded to the National Hockey League (NHL) championship winners every year, the cup dates all the way back to 1892.

It was commissioned by Lord Stanley of Preston, the then-Governor General of Canada and was intended as a challenge cup for Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey clubs.

However, with the birth of the NHL in 1917, the Stanley Cup gradually became the exclusive championship trophy of the league.

When Did The NHL Begin?

All sports have their origin story and the NHL is no different. The league started with just four teams, but has since expanded to 32, across the US and Canada.

This expansion brought about a significant transformation in the sport’s competitiveness and popularity.

The Stanley Cup playoffs, the annual tournament to decide the league champion, have become a high-stakes, high-drama event, drawing millions of viewers worldwide.

The 2023/2024 season is no different and just as competitive with every team hoping to make it to the playoffs.

But just who do the bookies think is in with the best chance of lifting the Stanley Cup in July 2024? All of the NHL odds below.

NHL Outright Winners 2024 Odds

(odds correct as of December 5th 2023)

Team Odds
Vegas Golden Knights 9/1
Colorado Avalanche 9/1
Carolina Hurricanes 9/1
Toronto Maple Leafs 9/1
Boston Bruins 9/1
New York Rangers 9/1
Dallas Stars 11/1
Florida Panthers 14/1
Los Angeles Kings 14/1
New Jersey Devils 14/1
Edmonton Oilers 18/1
Vancouver Canucks 20/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 20/1
Winnipeg Jets 25/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 33/1
Detroit Red Wings 40/1
Washington Capitals 50/1
New York Islanders 50/1
Calgary Flames 50/1
Seattle Kraken 66/1
Philadelphia Flyers 66/1
Ottawa Senators 66/1
Buffalo Sabres 66/1
Nashville Predators 66/1
Minnesota Wild 66/1
St. Louis Blues 66/1
Arizona Coyotes 80/1
Montreal Canadiens 150/1
Anaheim Ducks 150/1
Columbus Blue Jackets 250/1
Chicago Blackhawks 250/1
San Jose Sharks 1000/1

How Does A Team Make The Playoffs?

The NHL’s regular season is typically held from October to April, with each team playing 82 games. It’s an even split with 41 games at home and 41 games away.

The season standings are based on a point system so a team gets two points for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout, and zero points for a straight loss.

With two conferences (Western and Eastern), the top eight teams from each, based on the standings, advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The NHL playoffs consist of four rounds, each of which is a best-of-seven series. So in order to move forward, a team must win four out of a possible seven games in each round.

Do that and you move to the next round. The losing team is eliminated from the playoffs.

The final team left standing is crowned the Stanley Cup champions.

In 2023 the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights beat the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers by four games to one.

It was their first championship win in their sixth season, though neither team in the final had ever won the Stanley Cup.

Betting On The NHL

Betting on the NHL is a unique experience, largely due to the nature of the sport and the league’s structure.

The NHL is known for its parity, meaning the difference in skill level between the top and bottom teams is often smaller than in other sports.

Unlike most other sports, where there is clearly a much better team playing a weaker team, NHL games are more competitive.

This gives the underdog a more realistic chance of winning, adding an element of unpredictability and excitement to betting.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are famously intense and games are often decided by fine margins. It’s one of the rare sports where long-shot bets can pay off handsomely.

Things To Take Note Of…

If you want to bet on the NHL there are a few things to remember before you choose who to back.

The recent performance of a team can be a strong indicator of how they might perform in upcoming games.

A team on a winning streak might carry momentum, while a team on a losing streak might be struggling with confidence.

The health and availability of key players, especially star forwards or defensemen, can significantly impact a team’s performance.

An injury to a key player can change the dynamics of a team, affecting their chances in upcoming games.

The goalie is often considered the most crucial player in hockey. A goaltender in top form can single-handedly win games, especially in the playoffs.

Betting on teams with the best goalies can be a wise strategy, particularly in tight, low-scoring games.

While home ice advantage in the NHL is not as pronounced as in sports like basketball or football, it still plays a role.

Home teams are familiar with their surroundings and have the support of their fans, which can provide a psychological edge.

However, this factor should be weighed alongside others, as some teams perform exceptionally well on the road.

Iconic Moments and Legendary Teams In The NHL

The history of the Stanley Cup is filled with remarkable feats and legendary teams.

The Montreal Canadiens hold the record for the most Stanley Cup championships, having won it 24 times.

Their dominance in the mid-20th century, including a streak of five consecutive wins from 1956 to 1960, is a testament to their prowess.

Another notable team is the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, led by the great Wayne Gretzky.

They won the Cup five times in seven years, showcasing a brand of fast, offensive hockey that revolutionised the game.

Memorable Upsets and Big Wins

The Stanley Cup playoffs are known for their unpredictability and dramatic upsets.

One of the most memorable was the victory of the 8th-seeded Los Angeles Kings in 2012, who defied the odds to win their first Cup.

Similarly, the St. Louis Blues’ 2019 triumph was a fairy tale, as they went from last place in the league in January to champions in June.