Sizzling Colorado Avalanche a ‘Big Problem’ for Several Online Sportsbooks

Written By Ken Pomponio on 05/18/2022
Colorado Avalanche sportsbook liability 051822

It’s full speed ahead for the Colorado Avalanche.

With Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues, the Avs moved to 5-0 in their “16W” quest.

#FindAWay they most certainly have.

Ball Arena has become Puck Arena.

New Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson was among Tuesday’s boisterous crowd.

And Larimer Square is appropriately festooned in Burgundy and Blue.

Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals is set for 7:30 p.m., Thursday.

Avalanche bettors plan to keep firing away. And it’s all aboard the Avs Bandwagon as Colorado chases the Stanley Cup.

Well, with the notable exceptions of several Colorado online sportsbooks.

BetMGM: Anyone but the Avs … please

BetMGM Colorado Sportsbook PR data analyst John Ewing passed along some NHL futures betting insights Tuesday. 

And the raw numbers paint a clear picture of the sportsbook’s liability on the Avalanche.

Some highlights:

  • The Avs opened as BetMGM’s Stanley Cup favorites at +600. They’re still favored at  as of Wednesday afternoon with four teams — the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning — tied for second at +550.
  • As of Tuesday, 26.9 percent of BetMGM’s Stanley Cup title tickets had been placed on Colorado. Florida was a distant second at 10.1 percent.
  • It’s the same story with BetMGM’s handle percentage. The Avs led the way Tuesday at 32.6 percent with the Panthers way behind at 9.3 percent.
  • And, of the four Western Conference semifinalists, the Avalanche easily topped the sportsbook’s lists Tuesday with a 46.3 ticket percentage and 60.3 handle percentage.
  • Colorado, as of Wednesday afternoon, was BetMGM’s favorite to win the Western Conference. Calgary was a distant second at +275.

It’s no wonder BetMGM sports trader Christian Cipollini was short and to the point in his accompanying statement.

“The Avalanche are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup and have been a big problem from a liability perspective since BetMGM posted opening odds,” Cipollini said in the news release. “The sportsbook is cheering for any other team to lift the Cup.”

DraftKings also has Colorado liability; SuperBook in better position

PlayColorado’s top-rated DraftKings Colorado Sportsbook also says Colorado is a futures liability.

“We certainly will be paying out a significant amount of money if the Avs bring home the championship,” DraftKings director of race and sports operations Johnny Avello said Wednesday. “Colorado has been the favorite all year, and the home state has backed them every skate of the way.”

Avello didn’t provide the Avalanche’s percentage of DK’s Stanley Cup handle or total tickets. But  it’s safe to say the sportsbook’s oddsmakers wouldn’t mind Colorado falling in the West semis for the fourth straight year.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Avs were DK’s overwhelming Cup favorite at . They also had odds to win the West.

The Avs’ odds are even less favorable than the prices found Wednesday at the Colorado SuperBook. There, Colorado was +160 to capture the Stanley Cup and -160 to win the Western Conference.

And Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the parent Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, says the sportsbook is actually in good shape regarding its Avalanche position. 

“We’re in a positive situation with the Avs,” said Kornegay, who grew up in Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University. “Since the early part of the season, we’ve been favoring the Avs for the West and the Cup.

“This has put us in an advantageous situation if the Avs were to hoist the Cup once again.”

Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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Ken Pomponio

Ken is a fourth-generation Coloradan and career sports journalist with more than 30 years covering the gamut from the preps to the pros. A lifelong Front Range resident and son of 1960s Denver Broncos season-ticket holders, he is a long-time sports betting enthusiast whose insight and passion shine through in his coverage at PlayColorado.

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