Panthers open as favorites to win Stanley Cup

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Generational players Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are making their Final debuts, and the Edmonton Oilers have a chance to lift their first Stanley Cup since the days of Mark Messier.

However, it’s the Florida Panthers, making their second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance, who enter the series as favorites.

Florida opened at -125 to win the Cup, with Edmonton coming in as +105 underdogs, per ESPN BET odds.

While the Panthers were not favored amid a crowded field entering the playoffs at 10-1, they took on favorite status several times, with the first coming during their second-round series against the Boston Bruins. They attracted the second-largest percentage of bets (15.6%) and fourth largest of handle (15.1%) at ESPN BET.

The Oilers entered the postseason at +750 to win it all and were favorites May 6-8, then again May 24 at +185 odds. Edmonton opened the NHL season at +800 to hoist the Stanley Cup and moved to as long as 22-1 at some books after a disastrous start in late November.

It took 14.8% of the tickets and 16.2% of the money at ESPN BET at the start of the postseason.

The New York Rangers — the betting public’s darling and the biggest liability across multiple sportsbooks — were eliminated by Florida in the Eastern Conference finals.

“One thing about Canadian teams is that we’re usually in a good [liability] position on them because they haven’t won the Cups,” DraftKings director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello told ESPN at the start of the playoffs. “The Panthers were never that high [in the odds] this year … So we’re actually in OK shape with them.”

Despite being on the underdog Oilers, McDavid is the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoffs MVP at +200 on ESPN BET. Aleksander Barkov (+400), Sergei Bobrovsky (+400) and Matthew Tkachuk (+600) follow for the Panthers, with Draisaitl (+650) and Evan Bouchard (+700) rounding it out for the Oilers.

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