Stanley Cup Betting Preview: What To Expect From Vegas vs Florida

Stanley Cup Betting Preview: What To Expect From Vegas vs Florida
By Cecil Peters
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The NHL is about to take center stage in the Sun Belt as the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights prepare for the Stanley Cup final. The best-of-seven series begins Saturday night in Las Vegas and Ontario sports betting operators will be ready for some serious action for one of the biggest sporting events in Canadian betting.

To no surprise, Vegas has been installed as the series favourite at all major sportsbooks. Florida is used to entering series as the underdog; the Panthers have been plus money for every seven-game set thus far. Florida leaned into that status, using an “us against the world” mentality to beat Boston, Toronto and Carolina in previous rounds.

Vegas has earned the right to be series favorites with convincing series victories over Nashville, Edmonton and Winnipeg. The Golden Knights, in just their sixth season of existence, are -125 at DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario to take the Cup for the first time.

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Stars To Watch in Stanley Cup Final

Vegas goaltender Adin Hill has been exceptional since coming into the postseason. He took over in net for the Golden Knights when Laurent Brossoit, who started the first eight games of the postseason, left Game 3 of the second-round series against the Oilers with an injury.

Hill (7-3 with a 2.07 goals against average in the playoffs) will need to be at his best facing off against current Conn Smythe favourite Sergei Bobrovsky in the Florida net.

Bobrovsky is +215 to be the playoff MVP at NorthStar Bets Sportsbook Ontario, slightly ahead of teammate Matthew Tkachuk at +375 (Vegas forward Jack Eichel is also +375). Bobrovsky and Tkachuk have clearly led the way for Florida and if their team wins the Cup, one of them will hoist the trophy. Vegas has more options to choose from for playoff MVP and the odds reflect it with Eichel, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Hill all between +375 and +1300.

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How Both Teams Got Here

Florida has used an aggressive forecheck and patient defense to advance to the final, frustrating opponents along the way. The Panthers swept the Hurricanes in four straight games in the Eastern Conference final but every game was close, including two overtime victories. Timely scoring from Tkachuk was key, as he had the game winner in three of the victories.

Vegas has used a strong, structured team game to reach the final with each player fully buying into coach Bruce Cassidy’s system. Every night a new line can step up, as evidenced by the first period in the decisive Game 6 of the conference final, when the fourth line scored twice to set the tone. Vegas is favored to get off to a strong start again in this series – the Golden Knights are -135 at BetMGM Sportsbook Ontario in Saturday’s Game 1.

Eichel has been exceptional at both ends of the ice and was a big factor in the series against Dallas even without scoring a goal. Marchessault provided the timely scoring against Edmonton, with Karlsson stepping up to supply it against the Stars.

Both teams have been exceptional defensively with the goalies playing well when there have been occasional lapses. Vegas has been able to spread the minutes around quite evenly among its defensive pairings. That’s a huge advantage over Florida, which tends to ride its top guys quite heavily.

The depth on the back end for Vegas should come into play if the series goes to six or seven games, though the Panthers have dispatched their past two opponents in five games or less.

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More 2023 Stanley Cup Betting Odds

The over under has been set at 5.5 with Caesars Sportsbook Ontario for the first game of the series. With the strong goaltending and defensive play of both teams, that’s no surprise. That low number likely will remain for every game unless the first couple of games hint towards a high scoring series.

When Game 1 begins, Florida will be ending an 11-day layoff, so some early rust is to be expected from the East champions. But once both teams settle in, we should expect a tough, competitive series showing off these two southern teams.

One thing is certain – for the third time in six years, the Stanley Cup will go to a franchise that has never won it. The Washington Capitals etched their names on the great trophy for the first time in 2018 and the St. Louis Blues followed suit in 2019. Both the Golden Knights (2018) and Panthers (1996) have lost in the Cup final once before.

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Cecil Peters
Senior Betting Analyst

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports teams in Canada, with a focus on Toronto's favorite players and teams including the Raptors, Blue Jays & Maple Leafs.

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