The matchup for the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals is set. The two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning faces this year’s favorite, the Colorado Avalanche.
The seven-game series got underway on Wednesday night, with each contest airing on ABC.
Despite the fact that Tampa earned the last two titles, Colorado enters as a decent favorite. The Avs have been highly regarded and atop the futures list at West Virginia sportsbooks all season long.
While odds vary across different operators, the consensus shows Colorado with the advantage, listed at around -180.
Avalanche-Lightning Stanley Cup preview
This series appears as if it will be a good one to watch for casual NHL fans. Both sides provide a lot of star power and players who score in bunches.
The Lightning is an underdog, but that’s tough to say with much confidence after it took the Eastern Conference for the third straight year. After finishing the season with just 110 points (tied for fourth in the conference), this veteran group flipped the switch for the postseason.
Tampa climbed out of a 3-2 series deficit in the opening round against Toronto. It carried this momentum into the next round against the Panthers, where it swept its Florida rival.
The red-hot New York Rangers held serve at home in the first two tilts, only for Tampa to win four consecutive and move on. It is 10-2 in its last 12 overall.
Colorado set itself up for a more advantageous road to the finals with a tremendous regular season. It won the Central Division with 119 points, coming up just short of the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Avs swept their first series with Nashville, then beat St. Louis. The Blues wound up being their toughest opponent, grabbing victories in Game 2 and Game 5 to force a sixth contest.
Even though the series came with a lot of anticipation, Colorado defeated Edmonton in another sweep. Hockey enthusiasts got to see the Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Avs’ Nathan MacKinnon square off for only four games.
Hopefully, this upcoming series will provide a few more tilts and opportunities for some spectacular play.
Stanley Cup odds at WV sportsbooks
During the regular season, Tampa and Colorado met twice. The Avs took home a win both times; however, each game was a tight affair.
Colorado bested its opponent way back in October by a final of 4-3. Playmaking defenseman Cale Makar ended things in the sixth round of the shootout for the win.
Then in February, the Avs won again, this time on their home ice. They prevailed 3-2 following a scoreless third period.
WV sportsbooks give respect to the West champs and their resume for the season. At DraftKings WV, the Avs are available at -175 to win the series, compared to the Lightning at +150.
These odds look similar to those for the first game on Wednesday night. There, the online sportsbook shows Colorado at -155 at home, with Tampa’s odds at +135.
Naturally, the Avs are laying the puck line (-1.5), with odds of +160. Tampa is receiving the spread at -190.
The game total is currently positioned at six goals. The odds are leaning toward the over, with it at -120, as opposed to the under sitting at even money (+100).
There are a bunch of additional ways to wager on the Stanley Cup Finals, too. Every individual game includes a wide range of prop and parlay options, along with plenty of other markets for the series.
Many of these are constantly updated throughout, so now isn’t the only time you have to act.
Various options like the series spread, total games and the exact series outcome are offered through DraftKings.
Betting on the Conn Smythe Trophy with BetMGM
The Conn Smythe Trophy goes to the MVP of the playoffs every year, with a player on the winning side receiving the nod most times. Someone on the losing team has earned the award five total times, but not since 2003.
Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere won it that year after his magical postseason run fell short against the New Jersey Devils in seven games.
The Lightning feature two different recipients in defenseman Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy from the last two seasons. Both are once again key components of this Tampa squad and are among the favorites to claim the trophy again.
Vasilevskiy is tied for the top contender on his team, according to BetMGM Sportsbook WV, although he trails two Colorado players, MacKinnon (+200) and Makar (+175).
Besides its goaltender, Tampa has a few others in the MVP discussion prior to the series. Forwards Nikita Kucherov (+400) and Steven Stamkos (+1400) are next, with Hedman in the next tier down at +2000.
The only others inside of those odds are the Avs’ Mikko Rantanen (+1600) and Gabriel Landeskog (+2000).
This series will likely come down to whether Colorado’s offense can continue cruising or Vasilevskiy will keep stopping everything. While Tampa can certainly score, its offense should have a difficult time keeping up with the Avalanche if Vasilevskiy isn’t on his game.
The series hopefully will provide a lot of tight contests, but bettors don’t have to worry. BetMGM offers Stanley Cup Finals Overtime Insurance, a promotion refunding your initial wager up to $25 if your moneyline pick loses in OT.
This deal is available for every game of the Stanley Cup. If your team goes down in overtime, BetMGM credits your account with your money back through a free bet.