Blackhawks Favorites for Stanley Cup Final

After both teams pulled off an upset victory on the road in Game 7 of their respective conference finals, online sportsbook Bodog opened the Chicago Blackhawks as -150 favorites (bet $150 to win $100) to hoist the Stanley Cup against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are +130 underdogs.

Game 1 gets underway on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, with the Lightning -125 versus Chicago (+105).

The Blackhawks are looking to capture their third Cup in six years and sixth overall following recent wins in 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s only Cup victory took place in 2004 when the Lightning knocked off the Calgary Flames in seven games.

Chicago center Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup playoffs for Tampa Bay that year, and he had an opportunity to win the Cup last year with the New York Rangers but lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

The Lightning have already knocked out three Original Six teams en route to the Stanley Cup Final this year in the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, and the New York Rangers. They went the distance against both the Red Wings and the Rangers, and Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop responded with 2-0 shutouts in each Game 7 to help his team advance.

The last two series were won despite not having home ice, something that may or may not be an edge here against a fourth Original Six team in the Blackhawks.

Chicago has won its last two Cups in Game 6 on the road and proved again in Game 7 of the Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks that the venue is irrelevant to them.

The Blackhawks actually got stronger as the series went on vs. Anaheim even though they lacked defensive depth and were outhit consistently throughout. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford simply played better than counterpart Frederik Andersen, who surrendered four goals or more in each of the last four games.

However, the Blackhawks have struggled against the Lightning over the past few years, dropping six of the previous seven meetings, with five of them decided by just one goal.

And while these two teams have ranked among the league’s best offensively during the regular season and in the playoffs, three of the last four meetings have finished UNDER the total.

Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson leads all players in the postseason with 21 points and 12 goals, with Chicago’s Patrick Kane tied for second in points (20) and goals (10).