• The Tampa Bay Lightning are the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
• They face off against the Montreal Canadiens, who are on a Cinderella run.
• Game 1 sees the Lightning favored with -200 odds to win.
TAMPA, Fla. - The Stanley Cup Final is set to kick off at 8 p.m. EST on Monday and finish off the NHL playoffs.
On one side, the Tampa Bay Lightning - the defending champions - are looking to make it two in a row.
On the other, the Montreal Canadiens are attempting to win the Stanley Cup after entering the playoffs as the team with the worst record remaining.
The dynamics in this series might remind NHL betting fans of the dynamics in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars.
The Stars were a fairly medium team performing at a very high level, but they ran into a brick wall called “talent” when they went up against the Lightning.
The online sportsbooks seem to think something similar will happen to the Canadiens.
Stanley Cup Final Odds - Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 1 Moneyline
- Montreal Canadiens +170
- Tampa Bay Lightning -200
On the moneyline, the Lightning are 2:1 favorites in Game 1, which is a serious upgrade from their odds in any game against the New York Islanders in the previous round.
The Islanders were another team that overperformed with relatively minimal talent compared to the Lightning, but the Lightning overcame them in Game 7.
It wouldn’t be entirely off base to describe the talent disparity in this series as similar, if not more pronounced.
Stanley Cup Final Odds - Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 1 Puck Line
- Montreal Canadiens +1.5 (-165)
- Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5 (+145)
Given the ability of teams like the Canadiens to play the Lightning close, it’s not a surprise to see the Canadiens +1.5 favored over the Lightning -1.5 on the puck line.
Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Anytime Goal Scorer Odds
- Brayden Point (TB) +125
- Nikita Kucherov (TB) +125
- Steven Stamkos (TB) +150
The three top names on the list of anytime goal scorers are all on Tampa Bay: Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
The highest-ranked Habs player on the odds boards is Tyler Toffoli at +225 - well below all three of these men.
This, in some way, reveals the fundamental talent gap in the series - the Lighting have three players who are all more likely goal scorers than the most likely goal scorer on the Canadiens.
It should be clear to any online gambling fan that the Lightning are heavily favored in this series, but the Canadiens have overcome favored teams the whole way.
Can the Canadiens pull off one of the greatest upsets in NHL history?