by OddsShark (@OddsShark)
Oddsmakers at the outset of the NHL season sent mixed signals when it came to setting odds for the Edmonton Oilers – and ultimately the pessimistic view prevailed.
The Oilers were actually fairly high on the Stanley Cup odds board in October, listed at +1800, ninth-highest of the 31 National Hockey League teams, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. But they were essentially seen as a toss-up to be one of the 16 teams to qualify for the postseason, listed at -120 (bet $120 to win $100) to make the playoffs and -110 to miss the playoffs.
For a team with relatively low odds to win the Stanley Cup, the Oilers had a modest over/under of 90.5 in their point projections. They were also priced at +550 to win the Pacific Division, with the San Jose Sharks (+240) and Vegas Golden Knights (+260) pegged as favourites.
Ultimately, the Oilers finished on the UNDER for their point total, ending up with a 35-38-9 record for 79 points. An in-season coaching change from Todd McLellan to Ken Hitchcock sparked a brief rise, before a 1-8-3 stretch from January 19 to February 19 effectively dashed their playoff hopes. The finish left the Oilers with an average of 82.5 points over the four seasons comprising the Connor McDavid era.
Speaking of McDavid, the franchise centre began the season as the +333 favorite on the NHL betting lines to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player, topping a futures board that also included the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (+600) and the Toronto Maple Leafs tandem of Auston Matthews (+1000) and John Tavares (+1000).
McDavid had another spectacular season with 41 goals and 116 points across 78 games and has been named one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, which he won in 2017. But the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov (+1500 in the opening odds) is widely considered the favourite to win the award when it is presented in June. Crosby is also a finalist.