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The Colorado Avalanche completed their sweep of the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night in the Western Conference Finals when Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:19 into overtime. As a result, they claimed the Clarence Campbell Bowl as Western Conference champions. Colorado touched but did not pick up the trophy, for those who care about those kinds of things.
Winning the conference is certainly an accomplishment for any team. Colorado is headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. However, it's hard to say that this wasn't expected and it's certainly not a surprise. Colorado has been the Stanley Cup favorite since the preseason, which of course means they were also favored to win the West.
Throughout the course of the season at BetMGM, bettors have rode with the chalk and now they're cashing in with the Avalanche. Colorado winning the conference was a bad result for the sportsbook, and if it wins the Stanley Cup, it'll get worse. The Avalanche are currently -200 to win it all.
Avs were a very popular bet to win the West
The Avalanche opened the season as a short +220 favorite to win the Western Conference. By the start of the playoffs, they were down to +130. By round two, they were less than even money. They were -250 favorites to win the conference finals. Colorado has been the favorite since the jump, and as it turned out, it was justified.
At BetMGM, nearly 42% of bets placed this season backed Colorado to win the Western Conference. Edmonton received just over 19% of the bets. Calgary, St. Louis and Minnesota received between 7-10% of the bets. No other team received more than 5% of the action.
If you look at the season-long betting based on the amount of money wagered, it's even more staggering. Nearly 62% of the money bet was backing Colorado. No other team got over 14.4% of the money. Only Edmonton, Calgary and Minnesota received more than five percent of the betting handle.
The Avalanche got things done for their bettors in the conference finals. Colorado has a 12-2 record in these playoffs, sweeping two of their first three series. They'll be substantial favorites in the Stanley Cup Final as well.
Colorado has been considered one of the best teams in the league for a few seasons now, but it often takes teams a few years of playoff disappointment before they get over the hump. Tampa Bay lost in the Cup finals in 2015 and then lost in the conference finals in 2016 and 2018 before finally winning the Cup in 2020. Avalanche fans and bettors are hoping this is the year Colorado defeats their own demons.
Rangers are a liability for oddsmakers
The Eastern Conference is yet to be decided, as the New York Rangers have a 2-1 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference finals. However, the Lightning are -175 favorites to even the series on Tuesday night. Despite that, the Rangers are currently -150 favorites to end up winning the series. New York has home-ice advantage and hasn't lost a home game since Game 1 of the first round.
Both Tampa Bay and New York were the two most popular bets to win the conference in the futures market, both in terms of number of bets and the money wagered. The Rangers have received more individual bets, but the Lightning have received more money.
However, it's the Rangers who pose the larger liability for the sportsbooks. New York opened at 12-to-1 to win the conference, while the Lightning were just +350. The Rangers have had longer odds than the Lightning every step of the way, including at the start of this series, where Tampa Bay opened as a -175 favorite.
The Rangers will be a tough out as long as Igor Shesterkin keeps playing the way he's currently playing. In this series, Shesterkin has a .943 save percentage. Since getting pulled in Game 4 of the first round, Shesterkin is 9-4 with a .940 save percentage. Goaltending is king in the NHL playoffs, and nobody is currently playing at the level of the Rangers' netminder.
Avalanche are a popular Cup bet
No matter who comes out of the East, the Colorado Avalanche will be favorites in the Stanley Cup Final. Currently, Colorado is -200 to hoist Lord Stanley's trophy.
Throughout the course of the whole season, the Avalanche have received 26% of the bets and 32% of the betting handle to win the Cup. Tampa Bay is second in both categories, receiving 9.6% of the bets and 11.5% of the money.
The Avalanche are heavy favorites to get it done, and they are receiving a ton of support from the betting public. They've looked extremely impressive through three rounds, but the last four wins are the toughest to get.
The Rangers are currently +375 to win it all, while the Lightning are +450. No matter who Colorado's opponent will be in the Finals, oddsmakers will be rooting for them as the Avalanche are the biggest liability for the sportsbook currently at BetMGM.