NHL Stanley Cup betting: Odds favor Penguins in hockey's final four

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The past four Stanley Cup champions comprise the 2013 Final Four and the Pittsburgh Penguins sit atop the NHL future odds list, ahead of the Bruins, Kings and Blackhawks.

No team has won the Stanley Cup twice in the past nine seasons, but that will change in a couple of weeks or so as the four remaining teams all have a Cup on their resume.

The NHL is down to its version of the Final Four, after the Chicago Blackhawks outlasted the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series Wednesday night.

Interestingly, the last four teams remaining in this Spring's Stanley Cup playoffs are also the last four teams to win the Cup. And the Stanley Cup odds at sportsbooks such as Bodog favor the team that won four years ago - the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In the East, the top-seeded Penguins and the fourth-seeded Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup champions of two seasons ago, will meet to decide one spot in the Stanley Cup finals.

In the West, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, who entered these playoffs as a five seed, will take on the top-seeded Blackhawks, Cup champions of three seasons ago, to decide the other Finals berth.

As of Thursday, Bodog was listing Pittsburgh at -190 to win that Eastern Conference Finals series, with Boston getting +165, while Chicago was lined at -150 to win the West Finals, with LA getting +130.

The Pens and Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday and Monday in Pittsburgh, before moving to Beantown for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Friday.

In the early Game 1 betting, Bodog had chalked the Penguins at -170, with the Bruins getting +150.

Pittsburgh swept three games from Boston this season by scores of 3-2, 2-1 and 3-2.

The 'Hawks and Kings will play Games 1 and 2 of their series in Chicago Saturday and Sunday, before moving to LA for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Thursday.

In early Game 1 betting on the Western Finals, Bodog was listing the Blackhawks at -150, with Los Angeles getting +130.

Chicago took two of three games from LA during the regular season, outscoring the Kings 12-9, bringing hockey wagering strategies for playoff action into full focus.

Finally, in the betting on who will win this season's Hart Trophy as most outstanding player, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who ranked third in points and fourth in "plus/minus," topped Bodog's board at a price of -225, followed by Washington's Alex Ovechkin at +300 and the Islanders' John Tavares at +450.

Watch NHL playoffs odds here daily at SBNation.

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