Politics

JONES: Battle of Alberta drawing plenty of betting action


Heading into Game 2 on Friday in Calgary the betting business has offered an entirely new perspective to view the Oilers and Flames

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The smart money is on Calgary.

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The big money is on Calgary.

But the most bets are on Edmonton.

And the most interest is on Calgary-Edmonton.

I suspect most Stanley Cup playoff TV viewers are already well beyond weary with the overwhelming volume of sports betting entities advertising their existence in this initial year of legal single game and proposition sports betting in Canada.

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But think about this as the first Stanley Cup Battle of Alberta gets set to move north for Games 3 and 4.

Lets say you have zero interest in betting a dime. The betting business is still proving to be an intriguing study.

Consider this Edmonton-Calgary series.

It has offered no lack of storylines, but heading into Game 2 Friday in Calgary the betting business has offered an entirely new perspective to view the Oilers and Flames and even compared to Edmonton and Calgary.

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I contacted Adam Burns, manager of BetOnline, to explain the fascinating phenomenon that’s already visible involving these two teams. It was Burns that broke it down for me.

“The sharp bettors and the larger bets are betting on the Flames, but there has been a larger quantity of bets being made on Connor McDavid and the Oilers,” Burns observed.

“Overall, the money is 60-40 on Calgary. But it’s 60-40 on Edmonton with the number of betting slips.

“It is the highest wagered second round series this season,” he added of what’s involved here.

Regionally the numbers are equally interesting.

The Alberta government created a new agency headed by former Edmonton EE football club president and CEO Len Rhodes.

Dan Keane, acting senior director of Gaming, said of the province’s regulated gambling website ‘Play Alberta’ is experiencing it’s own compelling study involving the first Stanley Cup playoff Battle of Alberta since 1991.

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“Edmonton has 72 per cent of the total bets and 69 per cent of the total money wagered on the series,” he said. “For the series opener, legal aged Albertans were backing Edmonton to win Game 1 with 65 per cent of the bet on the long shot Oilers.

“A total of 61 per cent of Play Alberta users took the ‘over,” Keene said of the 6.5 goals in the 15 goal (9-6) game.

The news of the day between the opening two games in Calgary was the announcement of Calgary coach Darryl Sutter as a finalist (and I believe almost certain winner) of the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL coach of the year.

You can dig out all sorts of statistics to illustrate the job the Viking rancher has done with the Flames but there’s none that illustrates it more dramatically than tracking the betting odds during the year.

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People forget that Calgary was a 50-to-1 long shot going into the season and dropped to 55-1 on Oct. 12th. By Dec. 1, the Flames had dropped to 14-to-1 and ended up at 10-to-1.

The Oilers opened the season at 25-to-1 and reduced that to 12-to-1 with their 9-1 jump out of the gate.

Edmonton was 11-to-1 when the Oilers stretched their record to 16 wins and five losses. But the Oilers dropped down to 28-to-1 after their 2-11-2 nose dive. They ended up at 13-to-1.

The series opened with Calgary at 1-to-2 and Edmonton at 7-to-4.

The betting line on the number of games it would take to win the series was interesting.

Flames: In four, 14-2. In five, 4-to-1. In six, 17-4. And in seven, 15-2.

Oilers: In four, 16-to-1. In five 9-to-1. In six, 11-to-. And in seven 6-to-1.

Study that a while and you’ll realize the task ahead with Edmonton having started their fourth straight Stanley Cup playoff series by losing Game 1.

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