Stanley Cup Final: Odds, predictions, and best bets for Golden Knights vs Panthers
The Vegas Golden Knights are Western Conference champions for the second time in their six-year history after defeating the Dallas Stars 6-0 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Vegas will face the Florida Panthers, who swept the Carolina Hurricanes to advance to the Final for first time since 1996. Neither team has ever won the Stanley Cup. Read on for odds, predictions and best bets.
The Panthers barely made the playoffs, but they managed to squeak in thanks to a Chicago Blackhawks (+385) win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (-520) on April 11th. Florida is not your typical eighth seed, though. The Panthers won the Presidents’ trophy in 2021-22 and retooled after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round. It took a while for the Panthers to gel under new head coach Paul Maurice, but they have, and they’ve been upsetting teams ever since. Boston, Toronto, and Carolina were all favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but since losing three out of the first four games against the Bruins in the first round, the Panthers have lost just one game.
Florida creates chaos with their aggressive forecheck. Players like Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, Aleksander Barkov, and Carter Verhaeghe have elite offensive abilities, but the real key has been goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner’s career has seen more ups than downs over the last few years, but he was arguably the best goaltender in the world at one point and he’s playing like it right now. Bobrovsky has posted a .935 save percentage and, according to stats website Evolving Hockey, the veteran goaltender has saved the Panthers approximately 21 goals above expected which puts him in an elite class with the greatest playoff performers of all time.
Vegas Golden Knights
One year after missing the playoffs, the Vegas Golden Knights won the Pacific Division. In round one, they beat goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets in five games, then they eliminated the Edmonton Oilers, who were the Stanley Cup favorite, in the second round. And, while it is concerning that the Golden Knights lacked the killer instinct needed to finish the Dallas Stars off in four or five game safter going up 3-0 in the series, their performance in Game 6 of the Western Conference final made a statement. Vegas owned a whopping 78 percent of the expected goals and won the game by a score of 6-0.
The Golden Knights have gotten great goaltending from Adin Hill, who has saved the team about 10 goals above expected, but the team’s defensive efforts in front of him has contributed to his success. The Golden Knights rank third in the playoffs in expected goals against per 60 minutes. Vegas has had good results on offense, too. The Golden Knights have scored four or more goals in 11 out of 17 games this post season and their play at even strength is a big reason why they are where they are. Vegas has outscored teams 3.5 – 1.6 (68.5%) at even strength thanks to good defense and regular contributions from players like Jonathan Marchessault, Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson, William Karlsson and trade deadline acquisition, Ivan Barbashev.
Florida Panthers Win Series (+110)
4 Games (13/1)
5 Games (+750)
6 Games (+475)
7 Games (+550)
Vegas Golden Knights Win Series (-130)
4 Games (11/1)
5 Games (+550)
6 Games (5/1)
7 Games (+425)
Series Total Games
4 Games (6/1)
5 Games (+275)
6 Games (+205)
7 Games (2/1)
Stanley Cup Final Predictions and Best Bets
Vegas has good goaltending and scoring, just like Florida, but the Panthers have been outplayed in most of their postseason games and they’re too reliant on Bobrovsky. The Golden Knights have shown weakness, too, but they’ve played with a lead a lot in the playoffs and that’s tough to do. Not to mention, Adin Hill is doing a pretty good impression of Bobrovsky right now.
Here are my projected odds for the series:
Florida Panthers Win Series: 40.3% (+148)
4 Games: 5% (19/1)
5 Games: 9.1% (10/1)
6 Games: 13.2% (+658)
7 Games: 13% (+669)
Vegas Golden Knights Win Series: 59.7% (-148)
4 Games: 8.8% (+1036)
5 Games: 16.2% (+517)
6 Games: 16.7% (5/1)
7 Games: 18% (+456)
Series Total Games
4 Games: 13.8% (+625)
5 Games: 25.3% (+295)
6 Games: 29.9% (+234)
7 Games: 31% (+223)
Best Bet: Vegas Golden Knights Series Winner (-130)
Vegas depth is going to be hard to contend with and, according to my hockey betting model, the value is on them to win the Stanley Cup as it suggests the Golden Knights should be priced at -148 to win the series, not -130.
Check out the VSiN Hockey Betting Podcast throughout the Stanley Cup Final, including a special one-hour episode on Thursday, June 1st.