There’s life beyond Stanley Cup futures this season for New Jersey online hockey bettors.
And it could not have come at a better time.
The sluggish start by the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders won’t disconnect them from the sportsbook prop board, as it would have in other years.
DraftKings Sportsbook has kept them relevant with a new wagering menu that includes updated season point totals and odds to make the playoffs.
Odds move up and down like the stock market, giving bettors the chance to time a wager.
That’s more important than ever to New Jersey hockey gamblers who follow teams that did not exceed .500 at the one-third mark, or the end of the first period, in their seasons.
The Flyers’ odds drifted from DraftKings’ fifth-best to win the Stanley Cup, +1500, to a whopping +15000, 150-1 by mid-December. They suffered a 10-game winless streak and replaced Alain Vigneault as coach with Mike Yeo.
The Devils reached a slide of 2-7-1 after losing to the Flyers Tuesday night.
The Islanders, saddled with a 7-12-5 start, sit below both teams in the standings. And the Islanders odds at NJ sportsbooks are +7000 to win the Stanley Cup. That possibility looks remote.
But all three teams have found other ways to reach the betting board.
Odds to make the playoffs at DraftKings Sportsbooks
So here’s one of the big questions at this point of the NHL season: what are the Flyers, Devils and Islanders chances of making the playoffs?
Here is a look at the current odds from DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Maple Leafs – 5000
- Lightning -4000
- Hurricanes -3000
- Capitals -2000
- Rangers -750
- Flyers +650
- Devils +750
- Islanders+ 450
Forr comparison purposes, the Flyers’ odds not to make the playoffs are -1000. The Devils’ odds of watching the postseason from home are -1200.
And here’s a look at current point-total props:
- Flyers 83.5 with both sides at -110.
- Devils 79.5 with the under at -125 and the over at +105
- Islanders 85.5 with the under at -120 and the over at +100.
NHL betting breakthrough
In past years, the playoff and points totals were posted before the season, left up for a few games and taken down.
But this season, DraftKings has left hockey props up, and fine-tuned them.
The Flyers, for instance, were adjusted from 82.5 to 83.5 points after beating the Devils 6-1 Tuesday night for their third straight win.
The Devils plunged from an over-under of 82.5 points to 79.5 points in one day. That’s a significant swing. New Jersey started the season with an over-under of 90.5 points.
This enables some interesting decisions.
Bettors who took the under 90.5 may try to create their own middle. If the total ever drops into the low 70s, for example, they may consider taking the over on that number and try to win the bet twice.
Are the Islanders really this bad?
The books aren’t buying the Islanders’ horrific 7-12-5 start. This is, after all, a Stanley Cup semifinal team that pushed eventual Cup champion Tampa Bay to seven games before losing last year.
The Isles still have highest projected point totals and playoff betting odds of the three teams and are not the value one might expect. The Islanders nonetheless give bettors the chance to buy on the dip.
“We’ve been leaving the totals up this year and seeing how the bettors like that,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayNJ.
“Look, for 10 games the Flyers were awful, but if you were able to take that stretch away, the team is at least respectable. The Devils are respectable too. Both teams are playing in the vicinity of .500,” Avello said.
“When you have a bet like odds to make the playoffs or season point totals, the bettor is looking at something that is achievable for a team. The player may think the team is going to have a better finish or that there is still plenty of time to get it going.
Avello noted hockey betting is good for DraftKings, and said the betting action will pick up a tick as the NFL and college bowl seasons wind down.
“The sport can always do better, as there are things that go on in a game that people just don’t know. If they understand more of those things, they will probably get a little more involved,” Avello said.
Stanley Cup playoff format
Sixteen teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The format is a set bracket that is largely division-based with wild cards. The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs.
The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season record and regardless of division.
It is possible for one division in each conference to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends just three.
The Eastern Conference has two divisions.
Here is a look at the top teams through Dec. 15.
- New York Rangers, 41 points
- Washington Capitals, 41 points
- Carolina Panthers, 39 points
- Toronto Maple Leafs, 42 points
- Florida Panthers, 40 points
- Tampa Bay Lightning, 40 points
Stanley Cup wild card chase
The Pittsburgh Penguins, with 35 points, and the Detroit Red Wings, with 31 points, hold the two wild-card spots.
Behind them are the Boston Bruins, 30 points, and Columbus Blue Jackets, 29 points.
Then come the Flyers and Devils with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
Any hot streak puts a team right into the thick of contention. The Penguins vaulted into a playoff position with five consecutive victories.
Have the Flyers found their spark?
In the midst of their horrific 10-game winless streak, the Flyers fired Vigneault. They had been outscored 36-13 in one stretch, gone 17 games without scoring three goals and have seen a regression in several players.
The Flyers have tallied 15 goals over the last three games.
Yeo lost his first two games before the Flyers defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3, the Arizona Coyotes, 5 -3 and the Devils 6-1 to signal a breakout. The Flyers look capable of pushing above .500 soon.
Here is a look at the current team leaders:
- Goals: Cam Atkinson, 12
- Points: Claude Giroux, 24
- Goaltender wins: Carter Hart, 7
New Jersey Devils: the law of averages unfolding
The team started hot by playing its first five games at home. They are playing more road games and sliding.
The Devils leaders are:
- Goals: Andreas Johnsson, 9
- Points: Jesper Bratt, 24
- Goaltender wins: Mackenzie Blackwood, 5
Islanders flop following UBS Arena debut
They have top personnel, endured a 13-game road trip to start the season and opened a brand-new UBS Arena with a slew of home games. And they have flopped.
They could get rolling at any time. But 51 goals in 24 games? Astonishing.
AP Photo/Derik Hamilton