The NHL Western Conference has been dominant over the last decade in terms of Stanley Cup wins. The Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings have won multiple titles, and supplemented with victories by the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings.
However, as noted in my article about the Eastern Conference, the West doesn’t look as strong this year. Of course this is just my opinion and if you look at the top 10 teams in the league there is an even mix of the two conferences. It might in fact be a case where the East is just finally getting out of the trough of mediocrity that it seemed stuck in. Either way, let’s take a look at some of the betting picks for the NHL Western Conference.
NHL Western Conference – Minnesota Wild
You may be as surprised as I am to see the Minnesota Wild atop the Western Conference, but at 39-14-6 they also sit in 2nd place overall in the league. Led by long time captain Mikko Koivu and star forward Zach Parise, the Wild are on a serious heater and looking to win their second Western Conference.
The Wild are +150 to win the Western Conference and are +450 favorites to win the Stanley Cup. I have to say I think that both lines are too lean to provide value. To have the Wild as favorites over the Washington Capitals or the Pittsburgh Penguins is tough to fathom given the playoff experience and star power of both those teams. This is not to say that Minnesota can’t go all the way this year, but the value is just not there at the moment.
NHL Betting – Western Conference Lines
The perennial favorite Chicago Blackhawks are second in the Western Conference at 37-18-5. With a superstar lineup including Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews, the Hawks always have a chance to go deep every season. A major advantage that this team has is their history of winning in the playoffs including three Stanley Cups in the last eight years.
Currently the Blackhawks are +300 to win the NHL Western Conference and +700 to win the Stanley Cup. On any given night they are a solid online hockey bet and I like their odds better than Minnesota’s. The talent levels are similar, but the Chicago Blackhawks have a ton of playoff experience and that counts for a lot at the end of the day. I think +700 to win the Cup isn’t the worst line I have seen, but it also isn’t screaming out to be jumped on.
Much like the East, take a look at other strong teams in the West for value. The Anaheim Ducks at +1800, the St. Louis Blues at +2000, and the LA Kings at +3000 are all legit teams that could win the Cup. Remember as well that the trade deadline is approaching and some key talent moves might change the balance of power quickly. Overall I would say look at some of these teams for value, do your handicapping, and good luck!