One season begins as another prepares to end this weekend, but sports bettors will play the odds on both leagues. The NHL season finally begins after an arduous lockout, at the same time that the NFL conference championship games will determine which teams are going to the Superbowl.
The excitement over the NHL’s return wasn’t entirely anticipated – many gaming analysts expected fans to remain angry over the lockout for some time. However, Canadians by and large are ready to move on now that the action is back on the ice instead of in the board rooms.
January 19 is opening night and five of Canada’s seven hockey teams will faceoff for the first time since last April. The Ottawa Senators will travel to Winnipeg to take on the Jets, while the Toronto Maple Leafs will go to Montreal for a classic archrival battle with the Canadiens. The late game features the Vancouver Canucks hosting the visiting Anaheim Ducks, and sportsbetting sites have placed favoured betting odds on all three home teams.
GEObet, an online sportsbook that collectively represents Canada’s First Nations gambling sites, is offering gamers a special incentive as part of compensation for the shortened season – bets on Canadian teams that lose in overtime will be refunded. Saturday’s schedule ensures that sports bettors who bet $50 or under will win their money or have it refunded to their account within a 24 hour grace period. GEObet has also placed odds on what teams are favoured to win the Stanley Cup – the only Canadian team on this list is Vancouver with 10-1 odds, trailing only the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers.
The NFL divisional championship games take place on Sunday, and bookmakers have their predictions ready to go. The consensus amongst most analysts is that the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots will face each other in the Superbowl, giving both teams the odds to win the NFC and AFC championships respectively this weekend. The 49ers offense has been a force to be reckoned with all season long and is still running strong through the playoffs, while the Patriots under Tom Brady are once again considered the strongest team in the league.
A weekend of beginnings, endings, championships, and rewards – and sports bettors are eagerly anticipating high stakes action.