There are a few surprises in early NHL futures action

Jan 11, 2013 |
By: Jon Campbell
The Oilers' youthful roster is attracting a lot of early Stanley Cup futures money.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Oilers' youthful roster is attracting a lot of early Stanley Cup futures money.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
It didn't take long for NHL bettors to pick their darling underdog to win the Stanley Cup this season. And that dog's name is Edmonton.

I spoke to five different sportsbooks this week - online, offshore and Las Vegas - and the Oilers were the one common denominator among them all when it came to teams seeing the most futures action so far.

"Edmonton was 35-1, then 25-1, now 22-1," says Aron Black, trades manager at bet365.com. "They are a very young team, but they have some really good young talent. They had good performances both in the AHL and at the juniors from some of their players."

A lines manager at Sports Interaction said Edmonton is the favorite futures bet from their players "by a wide margin". They have the Oilers bet down to 18-1 as a result.

The short schedule was the reason a few bookmakers cited for the Oilers drawing so much attention in spite of the fact they finished second-last in the league last year. They were the 15th youngest team in the NHL last season, but their brightest stars - Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and 2012's No. 1 draft pick, Nail Yakupov - are 22 years old or younger.

The Minnesota Wild is another popular play at several books, including the Las Vegas Hotel where they're set at 30-1. The Wild made the biggest splash in free agency this offseason by signing sniper Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million deals. LVH oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said the Carolina Hurricanes are another popular long shot among their bettors at 30-1.

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are set as the favorites at just about every book, with 8-1 on both teams being the best I've seen at the LVH.

Vancouver (10-1), Boston (10-1) and Chicago (12-1) were among the other teams that sportsbooks said are taking the most early futures action.

Note: I will be talking more NHL futures and odds on TSN Radio's Inside The Lines Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET. Tune in online here.
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