Accuscore's KHL 2018/2019 Outright Predictions and Picks

There are some minor differences between the odds and the Accuscore simulations of KHL 2018/2019 season and here are a couple of selections with great value to be made before the season! Click HERE to get back to Accuscore's KHL Season Preview 2018/2019

GAGARIN CUP WINNING ODDS (by Oddsportal 08/30/2018)

 

RANK

WESTERN

ODDS

RANK

EASTERN

ODDS

1

CSKA

4.2

3

Ak Bars

6.5

2

SKA

4.25

4

Ufa

20

8

Lokomotiv

30

5

Omsk

22

9

Dynamo M

34

6

Avtomobilist

24

10

Jokerit

35

7

Magnitogorsk

25

13

Spartak

101

11

Traktor

50

17

Sochi

130

12

Torpedo

60

19

Minsk

150

14

Sibir

120

20

Vityaz

201

15

Kunlun

120

21

Slovan

201

16

Niznekamsk

120

23

Severstal

250

18

Barys

130

24

Riga

350

22

Amur

250

     

25

Admiral

500

Top of the Western Conference

As similar as the Accuscore predictions are compared to the odds, there’s still a couple of discrepancies that catch the eye. In the West, CSKA and SKA are the most likely top teams, but in Accuscore it’s the SKA taking the pole position. They have extremely strong and deep team, albeit losing their no.1 goalkeeper Mikko Koskinen, superstar Ilya Kovalchuk and rock-solid defenseman Yegor Yakovlev to the NHL. The replacements include Swedish international goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg, NHL returnee Nail Yakupov and a handful of quality players from other KHL-teams. It remains to be seen if the team will actually play better without the influence of Ilya Kovalchuk, but in Accuscore simulations SKA is the biggest favorite to win the Gagarin Cup this season. SKA to win the title receives odds as high as 4.25 | +325 at the moment and is worth a shot

The top challenger CSKA made it to the finals last year and only narrowly lost to Kazan. However, the team has gone through some major changes during the summer. They’re now without four of their top-6 scorers and defensive leader Bogdan Kiselevich. Their replacement players are top notch, headlined by Canadian forward Linden Vey, who averaged over a point per game last season with Barys Astana. A bunch of NHL caliber players, namely centerman Jannik Hansen, defender Klas Dahlbeck and winger Anton Slepyshev complete the top notch roster. CSKA is not far behind SKA, but they have a tad more uncertainty with the new acquisitions.

Dynamo Moscow, saved from the brink of going under by some unknown dealings before last season, were crippled by sudden changes to roster and didn’t have the greatest of runs being left out of the playoffs. The team has now gotten considerably stronger, with household names such as Dmitri Kagarlitsky, Miks Indrasis and Patrick Zackrisson – all in top-15 of KHL scoring last season – joining in, not to mention Vadim Schipachyov, who scored 25 points in 22 games for SKA after returning from ill-fortuned trip to Vegas. The core of the team is strong and gritty, with defensive mentality which makes them extremely hard to beat. With the excellent additions Dynamo just might challenge the big boys once again and their odds for winning it all are attractive at amazing 34.00 | +3300!

 

Top of the Eastern Conference

The East is a bit more even considering the top teams. Last season’s surprise winner Ak Bars Kazan relied mostly on their defense and excellent goaltending, while exhausting the opponents with physical play and steamrolling with four lines. They only had two players featured in top-30 of the regular season scoring race, but improved considerably when it actually mattered in the playoffs. They’ve not suffered any major losses to their roster, except for reliable defender Atte Ohtamaa, but have added some quality in form of NHL defender Paul Postma, AHL returnee defender Andrey Pedan and reliable scoring forward from Sochi, Pavel Padakin. While Kazan is still strong enough to be considered contender, repeating the last season’s feat looks unlikely and the simulations predict some difficulties in the regular season already.

Metallurg Magnitogorsk stumbled last season against Kazan and left a lot to be desired. They’ve reacted accordingly and added a huge amount of quality in the roster while keeping most of the core intact. Workhorse center Jan Kovar left for NHL and breakthrough goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov went the same way, but the no.1 keeper Vasili Koschechkin is still with the team and seems to only get better. The new arrivals pale in comparison to no team in the league: Nikolai Kulyomin, Viktor Antipin, Iiro Pakarinen and Dennis Rasmussen have all had some success in the NHL, while offensive defenseman Maksim Matushkin dominated the Finnish Liiga last season. In Accuscore simulations, Magnitogorsk is likely to take the Eastern Conference by storm and is the biggest favorite heading to the playoffs as well. They’re only ranked 7th overall by the oddsmakers, so while Magnitogorsk winning it all might be a long shot, it’s easily worth taking with odds of 25.00 | +2400

 

Dark Horses emerging from the East

The challengers in the West are the usual suspects. Salavat Yulaev Ufa had some issues last season, but boast a quality roster with not too many radical changes. They’re likely to make it to the playoffs easily and challenge Magnitogorsk for the Eastern conference championship. Ufa has very balanced roster with top-notch quality up front, such as Linus Omark, Vladimir Tkachyov and Teemu Hartikainen with Philip Larsen leading the defensive troops. They lost 20 games last season – more than any team making the playoffs in the West and that’s something they’re looking to remedy. Acquisition of Juha Metsola from Amur to guard the net is the first step, but work is needed in the defense overall. Ufa has been known of their run & gun playing style, which might change a bit under the new head coach. Ufa’s odds to win the Gagarin Cup hover around 20.00 | +1900, which seems high for 2nd favorite of the East.

Completing the challenger group in the East are Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg and Avangard Omsk. While Omsk has lost a plethora of their better players, they’ve made quality acquisitions to fill the gaps. The names such as Maxime Talbot, David Desharnais and Kris Versteeg make sure Omsk will be fighting for the top spots in the East once again. Dominik Furch left and the replacement Karri Rämö got injured, so the goalkeeping situation is a bit of a mystery despite duo of Alexei Murygin and Igor Bobkov having potential to capture the no.1 job in the top team. If the top players succeed in their new environment, Omsk is also a remarkable contender for the Gagarin Cup. The odds of 22.00 | +2100 are probably justified because of the question marks and the strength of the opposition this season, but take it under consideration if looking for dark horses.

Talking about dark horses, there’s one team that seems to have gotten a lot stronger after a surprisingly successful season last time around. Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg had a good run last year and were close to upsetting Magnitogorsk in the playoffs. Encouraged by fine performance, Avtomobilist has made some interesting acquisitions during the offseason, without actually losing any key core players. Nigel Dawes and Dan Sexton, placed 3rd and 7th respectively in regular season scoring last season, bring in a massive amount of offensive talent to the team that already scored most goals in the East. Their talented defense is likely to perform better with clearer roles set and Jakub Kovar is one of the better goalkeepres in the league. While Avtomobilist is some way off the top duo in the west, SKA and CSKA, they have the hunger of a smaller team and are an excellent choice for that dark horse bet to make pre-season. Odds of 24.00 | +2300 seem like a great deal and we’ll go for it!

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