What a history the Stanley Cup has. Originally known as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup , it was actually awarded to Canada’s leading amateur ice hockey club, initially in 1892, and it wasn’t until 23 years later that two professional associations agreed to pit their respective champions against each other for the right to win the Stanley Cup. Since 1947, the trophy, replete with many engraving mistakes, has been ice hockey’s most coveted
The Stanley Cup dominates north American ice hockey and, not surprisingly, Stanley Cup betting is enormously popular – and not just in the US and Canada.
Last season’s final between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks attracted an enormous volume of Stanley Cup bets, although neither side was favoured when the play-offs started.
Washington, who finished 33 points ahead of Philadelphia in the eastern conference were rated odds-on to take the Cup by many online bookmakers. Their results suggested they were the team to overhaul, yet they fell at the first hurdle to the Montreal Canadiens, so upsetting the Stanley Cup betting odds and ensuring that many a bet on the Stanley Cup outcome came to an abrupt (and losing) conclusion.
In the western conference, Chicago finished second to the San Jose Sharks and their starting Stanley Cup odds suggested they were in with a great chance of making the final. Indeed, immediately prior to the play-offs, one of the highlights of north America’s sporting calendar, Stanley Cup betting revolved around San Jose, Washington, Chicago and New Jersey’s chances of winning the trophy.
Predictions that Philli would make such impressive progress, their Stanley Cup betting odds shortening all the time, were laughed at. Yet after they thumped New Jersey and scraped past Boston, Stanley Cup betting trends changed. Suddenly, betting on the Stanley Cup was all about who could beat the guys from America’s industrial heartland.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks made steady progress, winning their opening pair of play-off fixtures 4-2, their fluent play one of the highlights of the hockey season. Naturally, their Stanley Cup odds shortened too, though their semi final clash with San Jose was always a tough call. At least it was before the game started. One online bookmaker made the Sharks the clear favourites, pricing them at odds-on to not only win the semi, but to take the sought-after Stanley Cup too.
How wrong they were. The Stanley Cup odds underwent a radical overhaul once Chicago dished out a 4-0 hammering to their rivals. Significantly, there was a surge in live Stanley Cup betting when Philadelphia met the Canadiens in the other semi final.
It became evident that there was no such thing as a sure-fire Stanley Cup bet when against the odds, the Flyers romped to a 4-1 victory. This wasn’t supposed to happen, although the canny predictor who had foreseen a victory for the underdogs was now laughing after capturing lengthy Stanley Cup odds against Philli capturing ice hockey’s most coveted crown.
Online Stanley Cup betting moved into ‘crazy’ mode before the Flyers – Blackhawks showdown earlier this year.
“The internet drives ice hockey betting,” says the CEO of one UK-based online odds comparison service. “Stanley Cup bets are traditionally popular with bettors who fancy a decent return, especially from correct score markets, because the odds are so attractive. This year, no-one expected Philadelphia to enjoy such a great run, so anyone who risked a Stanley Cup bet on them, especially on each-way terms, is sitting pretty.”
When the Flyers took on the Blackhawks, the odds-on favourites to lift the Stanley Cup, so the volume of Stanley Cup bets surged. But not just because this was such a massive game; fixtures such as this will always appeal to punters, but widespread internet access, combined with the ready availability of generous free bets persuaded even more punters than usual that a bet on the Stanley Cup was worthwhile.
Eventually, Philadelphia’s run came to an end; they could no longer replicate the results of earlier rounds and the Blackhawks took the Stanley Cup. At least those who had secured a free bet had not seen their own money go down the tubes, but they had enjoyed a great run with someone else’s cash!