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NHL Season Odds and Cup Futures

The first games of the 2010-11 NHL season will get underway this Thursday with games in North America as well as a game in Finland, leaving little time left to get in on the Stanley Cup futures action.

Now is the time to place your bets on which team you think will take the Cup in 2011. Last year’s NHL playoffs were full of surprises, especially in the Eastern Conference, and teams that were in the mix last year will be looking to make amends for their disappointments.

The obvious favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2011 are the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks. Gone are Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, Adam Burish, John Madden, Antti Niemi, and Colin Fraser, but the big names from last year’s run are all still there. Despite the changes the Hawks are favored at 6/1 to repeat as champs at Bovada.

The offensively-geared Washington Capitals are listed at 13/2 to win the Cup this season, despite being ousted in the first round last year. The Caps were exposed as a team that does has difficulty playing their game when their ice space is taken away from them.

Not a lot was done to remedy their lack off two-way play in the offseason, and even at 13/2 the Caps look like they need more time before they will get close to the Cup again.

Next is the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Like Chicago, the Pens have made most of their roster changes in the area of support players, and have managed to hold on to their big-name talent for another season. The Pens will pay 7/1 to take back the Cup this year, and with a clutch player like Sidney Crosby leading the way, 7/1 looks like this year’s best bet Bovada.

If you’re partial to the Western Conference you can bet on the Vancouver Canucks at 8/1. The Canucks have continued to improve over the last couple of seasons and are expected to make a run at a championship this year. Bookmakers even have the Canucks paying less to win the Cup than the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.

The Red Wings will pay 11/1, while a bet on the Sharks to win the 2011 Cup pays 14/1. The Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins come in at 14/1 as well, and close behind them are New Jersey at 15/1 and the L.A. Kings at 16/1 Bovada.

The rest of the teams will pay at least 25/1 or better, and if you believe in miracles the biggest dogs in the league are the New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets who will both pay 100/1.