Four No. 1 picks. Ten head coaches. Three early postseason exits. Sixteen years of disappointment.
But, finally, the Edmonton Oilers got over the hump, blitzing the Calgary Flames with a 4-1 series win in the Western Conference semifinals.
Led by two-time Hart Trophy winner and playoff co-leading scorer Connor McDavid, the Oilers have secured a berth in the conference finals for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.
Stanley Cup Betting
Even with a commanding lead in their second-round matchup, bettors were steering clear of the Oilers, lending their support to the Colorado Avalanche as the preferred Western Conference option in the Stanley Cup futures market.
Worse, the money that the Oilers are attracting is mainly public money. Edmonton is collecting a more significant ticket count than handle, indicating low sums of money, likely coming from the square side of the spectrum.
Only the New York Rangers, who need to win two straight against the Metropolitan Division winning Carolina Hurricanes for a spot in the Eastern Conference Final, have worse odds than the Oilers. Their improved efforts and decisive victory weren’t enough to garner additional support from the betting market, as every other team has a higher ticket and handle than the Oilers.
Oilers Stanley Cup Odds: +550
Edmonton’s success is premised on offense. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl lead the playoffs in scoring, serving as an unstoppable one-two punch for the Pacific Division representatives. The dynamic duo has propelled the Oilers to the most goals at five-on-five this postseason, resulting in the best shooting percentage in the league. Not even the Avs can keep pace offensively with McDavid and company right now.
The Oilers continue to torment their opponents, putting up gaudy offensive metrics. The downstream effect of increased productivity is sustainable output, suggesting that the Oilers scoring outbursts could continue. Edmonton leads the playoffs in high-danger chances at five-on-five and across all strengths, illustrating their dominance under all circumstances.
Across all strengths, the Oilers are averaging 15.1 high-danger opportunities per game, out-chancing their opponents in all but three contests. More importantly, increased productivity hasn’t come at the expense of defensive coverage.
Jay Woodcroft took the reins for the Oilers partway through the season, leading them to a 26-9-3 record in the regular season and two playoff series wins, surpassing their total from the past 16 seasons combined. Improved defensive structure has been one of the most significant changes implemented, with the Oilers allowing fewer quality chances on their own end.
The betting market is overlooking those cohesive team efforts. Edmonton is written on just 3.3% of tickets, representing just 3.1% of the handle. Bettors are quick to dismiss the Oilers ahead of the Western Conference Finals.
The Oilers’ +550 Stanley Cup odds currently available are a lot less appealing than the +2800 available at the outset of the playoffs or the +1800 on the board when the puck dropped on the conference semis.
However, the supporting metrics highlight a team performing better than most of its competitors. Even with the Avalanche on tap, the five-time Stanley Cup champions should continue to assert themselves on both ends of the ice.
Deride the Oilers at your own peril; Edmonton could continue to surprise.