The Colorado Avalanche played 56 regular-season games and, before Tuesday night, another eight playoff games. They were Stanley Cup favorites when BetMGM put out the odds before the season, and they were Stanley Cup favorites before the puck dropped on Tuesday.
One mistake in overtime of their 65th game flipped the Avs' odds of winning a championship and changed the entire outlook for the NHL season.
The Vegas Golden Knights, who were down 2-0 in the series and down 2-0 into the third period of Game 5, rallied to win Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the series. After Vegas tied the game in the third period, Mark Stone snuck behind the Avs and his breakaway goal 50 seconds into overtime shocked Colorado.
That one play shuffled the Stanley Cup odds.
A new favorite to win Stanley Cup
The Avalanche looked like a great bet to win it all just a few days ago. They won Game 1 against Vegas 7-1 in one of the most dominant exhibitions of hockey you'll see. Then they won Game 2.
Give Vegas a ton of credit. It took Games 3 and 4 at home, then came back to pull off a monumental Game 5 win. The odds to win the Stanley Cup looked totally different on Wednesday. Not only were the Avalanche not the Stanley Cup favorite anymore, they didn't even have the second-best odds.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, last season's champs, advanced past the Carolina Hurricanes with a win on Tuesday night. That coupled with the Golden Knights' win pushed Tampa Bay to the pole position in the Stanley Cup odds, with Vegas just behind.
If you believe in the Avs — and there are plenty of reasons to — you won't have a better opportunity to bet them to win it all.
Avalanche now underdogs to make conference finals
The Avalanche, who less than a week ago were up 2-0 in the series against Vegas and an overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup, are +230 to win the series. Colorado is a +115 underdog at BetMGM for Game 6 on Thursday night.
Again, less than a week ago, many hockey observers were wondering if Colorado could be stopped. Even during the second intermission on Tuesday night, the Avalanche were still on a nice path to win a Stanley Cup. Before Tuesday, the Avalanche were +225 favorites to win the Cup, with Tampa Bay next at +250 and Vegas next at +375.
There's a chance the Avalanche lose to a very good Vegas team on Thursday night, or in Game 7, and their season will be over in the second round. But if they win Game 6, their odds to win the series and the Cup will look like they did before Game 5. The Avs wouldn't be a sure thing to win it all even if they advance, but you'd like having a +400 ticket on them to win.
The NHL postseason is exciting for the very same reason it's killing Avalanche fans. Fortunes can change dramatically on one play. In these NHL playoffs, one breakaway goal by Stone changed what we thought we knew for an entire season, and it changed who we think might win the 2021 Stanley Cup.
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