Vegas should be favored in Western Conference Odds board not Colorado

NHL Western Conference Odds: Vegas Should Be Favored, Not Colorado

The West is indeed wild, with a number of surprises in the NHL’s Western Conference so far this season. On the positive side, Vegas has bounced back in a big way under new bench boss Bruce Cassidy. The Seattle Kraken have taken a huge step forward thanks to some sound drafting and the play of Calder favorite Matty Beniers. 

On the negative side, Colorado’s injury problems have derailed their season as they sit in the bottom half of the conference standings. The Edmonton Oilers are floundering with their big goalie acquisition this offseason not paying off. And the Nashville Predators have taken a huge step back after an impressive 2021-22 campaign.

Because of all those surprises, positive or negative, there’s some value to be had on Western Conference odds.

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2022-23 NHL Western Conference Odds

Odds to Win the NHL Western Conference in 2022-23
Team Odds
Colorado Avalanche +250
Vegas Golden Knights +350
Dallas Stars +750
Calgary Flames +800
Edmonton Oilers +1000
Minnesota Wild +1100
Winnipeg Jets +1200
Seattle Kraken +1400
Los Angeles Kings +1500
St. Louis Blues +2800
Nashville Predators +4500
Vancouver Canucks +8000
San Jose Sharks +20000
Arizona Coyotes +20000
Chicago Blackhawks +50000
Anaheim Ducks +75000

Odds as of January 5 at Sportsbook

Colorado Avalanche (+250)

I have my doubts about Colorado being the favorite here, mainly because they aren’t in a playoff position right now. They aren’t far off, mind you. Edmonton is only one point ahead of Colorado for the final wild-card spot and Colorado has three games in hand. But with injuries to Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin, the Avs are in a tough spot to challenge for a playoff spot.

I get that Colorado is the defending champion and when healthy, the Avs are a force. But they aren’t healthy and that’s putting them in a hole they might not be able to climb out of when they do get everyone back. They shouldn’t be the favorite here. 

Vegas Golden Knights (+350)

Even with injuries to Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault, the Golden Knights keep on winning. Jack Adams contender Bruce Cassidy has his team buzzing and barely missing a beat with key players out of the lineup.  

When he gets Eichel, Marchessault and Theodore back, this team could easily march to the Western Conference final and win it. At +350, this is a good bet to make. 

Los Angeles Kings (+1500)

The Kings have issues defensively with the sixth-most goals against in the NHL (139). But their offense is making up for that poor defense with 131 goals (T-6 overall). 

Defensively, though, they’ve started to figure it out. Since December 1, they’re up to 16th in terms of goals allowed per game at 3.06. That’s a big reduction compared to the 3.60 goals per game they allowed from October through November. 

If the Kings remember they’re a good defensive team, and it seems that they just might have, they could take the Western Conference this year.

Last 10 Western Conference Champions

NHL Western Conference Champs Since 2012
Year Team Sportsbook Odds
2022 Colorado Avalanche +210
2020 Dallas Stars +700
2019 St. Louis Blues +1300
2018 Vegas Golden Knights +9250
2017 Nashville Predators +800
2016 San Jose Sharks +1850
2015 Chicago Blackhawks +400
2014 Los Angeles Kings +500
2013 Chicago Blackhawks +500
2012 Los Angeles Kings +600

Note the 2020-21 season is not listed as divisions were realigned due to COVID-19.

There have been few upsets when it comes to Western Conference odds. The obvious exception there is Vegas in 2018 at +9250. No one had any clue that the first-year team could go on that Cinderella-like run and win the Western Conference. A team essentially comprised of rejects from their previous NHL clubs banded together and defied the odds.

That type of run, as you can see from the table, doesn’t happen often. So when betting on Western Conference futures, don’t stray too far from the chalk.

How To Bet On Western Conference Odds

This is a bet in which you would look at the Western Conference odds well in advance of the final game of the Western Conference final and back a specific team to win the conference. Let’s say you want to make a futures bet today at your sportsbook of choice. The Western Conference odds might look something like this:

  • Colorado Avalanche +200
  • Vegas Golden Knights +500
  • Los Angeles Kings +1000
  • Dallas Stars +1400

For Western Conference futures, the team with the lowest odds is favored to win, and the rest are underdogs.

Let’s say you feel strongly about the Vegas Golden Knights winning the conference for the second time in franchise history. If you were to bet $100 on them and they ended up winning it, you’d get a payout of $600 – your original $100 is returned along with your winnings of $500. Our odds calculator will show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.

When looking at Western Conference futures, you want to find a team that has three things:

  • An elite goalie: You’re looking for a goalie who can stop the puck at a 92%+ efficiency
  • An elite center: A center who can score 25-30 goals and 80+ points
  • A solid d-corps: You want to find a team whose xGA (expected goals against at 5-on-5) was in the top 10 the previous year.

Find all three in a single team and you have a strong candidate for a Western Conference champion the following year.