Avalanche Are Once Again Stanley Cup Favorites. Can They Deliver?

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/06/2021 - Last Updated on October 13, 2021
Colorado Avalanche 2021-22 Stanley Cup favorite

The talent is undeniable, up and down the roster, offense and defense.

Yes, depth is a mild concern, but it’s nothing major.

The goaltending should be an upgrade, but there’s some trepidation.

Add it all up, and once again, it’s all there for the Colorado Avalanche on a shiny silver platter. Once again, they’re the favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2021-22.

The question, the only question, is whether the Avalanche can finally deliver.

No matter the sportsbook you visit, Colorado is the Stanley Cup betting favorite.

The Avs’ season officially begins next Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As Jay Croucher, the head of trading at PointsBet Sportsbook, said to PlayColorado:

“We think they’ve obviously got the best shot. But I think that they’re never going to be favored over the entire field, just because the nature of hockey is extremely random. And that’s how you get a team like Montreal in the Stanley Cup Finals last year. So it’s a good bet to bet against the favorite winning every season. But this Avs team is obviously stacked, and we think that they’ve got a better chance than anyone else.”

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Colorado Avalanche futures odds

For Colorado to hoist its third Stanley Cup, it needs to break through that blasted second-round wall. In each of the last three seasons, the Avs have gone home with a bitter taste in their mouth. The most recent loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights last season still hasn’t gone away.

Now having gone through seeing their season ended way before they expected, yet again, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar and the rest have to turn that disappointment into motivation that this will not happen again.

 

Colorado isn’t just favored to win the Stanley Cup.

The rest of the Avalanche betting odds follow the same path for the Western Conference and the Central Division. Colorado is also the favorite to win the Presidents’ Trophy again at .

“I think the key to the team is really just having better luck in the playoffs, because they’ve got the best team with all the players that you mentioned,” Croucher said. “I think that the reason they lost last year was because they gave up that 2-0 lead to Vegas in Game Five, and then Game Six just doesn’t break their way.

“So I think that for a team as good as that, it’s just a matter of getting to the playoffs and then hoping that things go your way a little bit more than they did this year. But, outside of goaltender, which can be slightly upgraded, they don’t have any weaknesses.”

Avalanche players favored for awards

The Avalanche players’ future markets are similar to the team’s at PointsBet:

  • MacKinnon’s Hart Trophy odds are at .
  • Makar’s Norris Trophy odds sit at . Makar is the current favorite, by the way.
  • New goalie Darcy Kuemper’s Vezina Trophy odds are at .

There is still some angst in Colorado corners around Kuemper now being the goalie and Phillip Grubauer now being with the Seattle Kraken. However, the Avs now have a goalie who can steal games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. With the talent in front of him, Kuemper could be the piece that finally gives Colorado the nudge it needs to break through that wall.

“Grubauer is a strange one, because in the first three games against Vegas in that series, I think he was probably just about their best player,” Croucher said. “Particularly that Games Two and Three were games Colorado had no right being in, and Grubauer had an out-of-body experience. But then he fell off a cliff towards the back end of the series and didn’t play well.

“And I think the perception of him is that he’s never quite been elite. And with Kuemper, maybe they get a little bit more upside there, but I don’t think the goaltender is necessarily the problem. They just need it to be good enough, because the rest of the team is so loaded. So if they just get consistent seven, eight out of 10 performances at goaltender, then they should have more than enough to win.”

Avs’ success in the Stanley Cup playoffs could come down puck luck

The hardest trophy to win in sports is the Stanley Cup. And talent alone will not get it done. As Croucher mentioned, Colorado needs a little more puck luck. At the same time, especially in the Stanley Cup playoffs, teams make their own puck luck.

What was apparent in the series loss to Las Vegas was that the Avalanche got complacent. After going up 2-0 in the series, Colorado lost its sense of urgency and aggression and was thoroughly dominated for the rest of the series.

There’s no question the Avs are hardened; now it’s a matter of ensuring that disappointment doesn’t happen again.

“I think there’s a lot of recent precedent where that is kind of how it has worked in the NHL where Tampa Bay kept on running into brick walls,” Croucher said. “They obviously get embarrassed by Columbus and then come back and win the Cup the following year. When the Avs lost to Dallas, they’re probably a little bit ahead of schedule just with how well they played that year. And then last year was definitely disappointing, where they didn’t get as far as probably the expectations were heading into the playoffs.

“I think if they get there again, they’ll be the favorite entering the playoffs so long as they’re healthy, just because of the superstar talent. They’ve got the second favorite for the Hart trophy in MacKinnon. They’ve got the favorite for the Norris in Cale Makar. They’re going to have elite players in Landeskog and Rantanen on that frontline. There’s no team that measures up to them just in terms of talent.”

PointsBet sees big Avalanche betting numbers

While the last three years have ended in bitter fashion, there’s excitement around this team. And that excitement has led to enthusiasm to bet on the Avs. That’s still the case even though most of the fans in Colorado still can’t watch the games given the ongoing dispute among Comcast, DISH and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

“Our handle in Colorado on Avs games is four times bigger than the average than all other NHL games within Colorado,” Croucher said. “So there’s definitely a huge amount of support and betting interest in the team.”

Tampa Bay, Las Vegas other Stanley Cup favorites

What’s somewhat surprising is that the two-time defending Stanley Cup Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t the favorites to repeat. This is a team that is pretty much the same this season as the one that just won the Cup.

The other serious threat to the Avs, at least in terms of NHL betting odds, is Vegas.

“I think that’s exactly right,” Croucher said. “We see the top tier of contenders as Colorado, Vegas and Tampa. And then there’s a definitive drop-off from there to that next tier of Toronto, Boston, Carolina. I think in terms of what Avs fans should be looking at, if you just start within their division, I think Minnesota is a young team with a lot of upside. And they obviously gave Vegas quite a scare in the first round last year. So I think that that’s another team to watch. They’re probably not quite the top tier. But if the Avalanche want to win the Cup, Vegas and Tampa Bay are the two biggest threats.”

As the 2021-22 season draws closer, it’s clear that it’s all there for the Avalanche to win their third Stanley Cup.

The question now is whether Colorado can finally deliver.

As Croucher said:

“The Avs are not just the best team and the betting favorite, but they’re also an extremely watchable team with a lot of offensive firepower. I think it’ll be a big year of interest in the Avs, both in the city and from a betting perspective.”

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly Broncos segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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