P. J. Go | Fri 20/07/2018 - 07:26 EDT

NHL Season in Review: Biggest Bets that Cashed in 2017-18

NHL Season in Review: Biggest Bets that Cashed in 2017-18
The NHL remains one of the most unpredictable leagues and the Capitals just proved it this season. Long considered "choke artists", they couldn't win as Stanley Cup faves in seasons' past but did it this season when they were seemingly overlooked. The unpredictability of the NHL makes it one of the best to bet on for Futures and a few bettors came away rich by nailing these bets.

2017-18 Biggest NHL Bets That Cashed

Picking the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup is one thing. But putting your money on them to win it all is another. A few bettors left Vegas with bucket loads of cash as the Capitals finally finished the job and won it all amidst fans and pundits betting against them. But Washington winning the Stanley Cup wasn't the only big Futures bet that won.

Here are a few other lucrative bets that cashed (New odds courtesy of Sports Interaction).

Washington Wins the Stanley Cup (+1400)

It finally happened and right when almost everyone counted them out. The Washington Capitals opened the season at +1000 to win the Cup but fell to as low as +1400 as the season progressed. They won the division despite having their worst season defensively in a decade and had a rough road to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Capitals opened the Stanley Cup Playoffs against sexy underdog picks, Columbus. They lost the first two games and it seemed like they were once again destined for another disappointing playoff exit. But don't tell that to the team who rallied and won the next four games.

In the next round, they finally overcame the monster of the Pittsburgh Penguins also ousting them in six. Then they fought back from a 3-2 series deficit against the Tampa Bay Lightning to win in seven. Washington was the underdog in these two series.

Once again facing adversity, Washington overcame a game one defeat against Vegas and won four straight to capture the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup.

They have similar odds to defend their cup for the 2018-19 season.

Vegas Wins the Western Conference (+5000)

They fell short of winning the cup but the Golden Knights still became the greatest expansion franchise and made a few sharps a lot of money. The Knights were +10000 to win the cup to start and were +5000 to come out of the Western Conference. They cashed on the latter.

The Knights more than defied expectations and potentially reinvented the league. Led by head coach Gerrard Gallant, the Knights finished in the top-six in wins (fourth), scoring (fourth), and goal differential (sixth). They finished with the second-most wins at home, a success that continued in the playoffs.

Despite pundits continually doubting them through the postseason, Vegas made it look easy sweeping Los Angeles in the first round and beating San Jose and Winnipeg in six and five games, respectively. Marc-Andre Fleury was unbeatable in net and Vegas has a well-balanced scoring attack.

With Vegas now wiser to their own team, the Golden Knights are now among the favourites to win the cup entering the 2018-19 season.

Vegas Wins the Pacific Division (+3300)

It's no joke when the Knights clinched the division a day before April Fools with a win over the Sharks. Vegas was predicted to finish near the bottom of the division with the California trio: Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose battling it out for first along with Edmonton.

Vegas proved they were "forreal" by winning the division by at least eight points ahead of second-place, Anaheim. The Knights dominated the division with a 20-6-3 record with only San Jose doing better. They also won the second-most games against the conference with 33 (only Nashville had more). 

The Knights had a bit of luck as well as Edmonton and Calgary, two former playoff teams, underachieved while Arizona was a lottery team for most of the season. But beating out an ultra-competitive division to win their first-ever division title is just another achievement for the Knights' legendary season. 

A Left-Wing Player Wins the Conn Smythe (+1750)

Since the Conn Smythe trophy became an official award in 1965, only one left-wing player won the prestigious award: Bob Gainey in 1979 for the super-stacked Montreal Canadiens. Ovechkin became just the second player all-time to win as a left-winger. 

Ovechkin was a man on a mission and lived up to his promise of the Caps, "not sucking again" this season. But he had some serious competition going against fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov who led the postseason in points with 32 and goaltender Braden Holtby, who had a 2.17 GAA and 0.922 SV% with a 16-7 record.

Winning the Conn Smythe is icing on the cake for Ovechkin who achieved the final thing he needed to cement his legacy as an all-time great. He became just the fourth player after Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Mario Lemieux to win at least three Hart trophies and a Conn Smythe. 

The "Great 8" now has a solid claim not only as the greatest Russian player but also the greatest left-wing player.

Best Sportsbooks for NHL and Hockey

Now begins the long wait for the next NHL season but hockey-obsessed Canadians will continue to pay attention to the latest offseason developments. Sports networks like TSN and Sportsnet will have the latest while online sportsbooks, will continue to operate and serve Canadians on all things hockey.

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