The 2021 KHL season started on September 2 with a showdown between the leading teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences last season – with Ak Bars Kazan defeating CSKA Moscow 3 – 2. The two sides also currently have the shortest 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup Odds of emerging victorious in this year’s tournament.
Formerly the Russian Superleague, the Kontinential Hockey League (KHL) was founded in 2008. Alongside its Russian teams, it also features teams from Belarus, China, Finland, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. There are two conferences of two divisions each, with the best of seven playoffs at the end of the regular season to decide the winner of the Gagarin Cup. And after the NHL, the league is one of the most popular hockey leagues to bet on in the world.
KHL is starting to see an influx of foreign players
Stretching from Europe to Asia and featuring some of the world’s top players, the KHL is a league you should know a little about. While predominantly Russian, the league includes teams from other countries, such as Finland’s Jokerit, Latvia’s Dinamo Riga, and Chinese outfit Kunlun Red Star. In drawing up this season’s fixtures, the league has tried to be considerate of clubs having to travel longer distances. In 2021, every club will have a three or four-day break after visiting the Far East.
Rivalries in the KHL can be geographical, but some have carried over from the days of the Russian Superleague. This season, watch out for clashes between SKA and CSKA, Ak Bars and Salavat Yulaev, Traktor and Metallurg, and the Moscow derbies involving Dynamo, Spartak, and CSKA. You can also read more here about pre-season 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup odds KHL Betting: CSKA Moscow leads Russian dominance.
And the absorption of European teams, along with the overall pace of expansion, has also led to large numbers of foreign players on the Russian based teams. Once a rarity, Canadians, and Americans are becoming more prominent. On many teams, English is spoken as a second language. The more this becomes the case, the more players from countries such as Canada, Finland, and Sweden go to the KHL to play. Mike Keenan might be the most famous non-Russian KHL coach to NHL fans, but he’s not the only one.
Where to find 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup odds
As the KHL is such a popular league, you’ll find a wide variety of betting options on it. Just as many as you’ll find for the NHL, in fact. There are the basics – money line, puck line, and over/under. But there are plenty of other options too, such as winning margin and highest-scoring period markets. You can bet on what team will score 3 goals first – or bet on ‘neither’ if you think it’s a 2-1 type of game.
And then, of course, there’s the live betting. Depending on where you bet KHL online, you will find various player prop markets. Similar to soccer betting, you can bet that a player will score anytime, the first goal, the last goal or that they won’t score at all. For 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup odds on a range of great live-action, you can’t go wrong with 888Sports.
The KHL also presents many opportunities for value betting if you study the form, and keep yourself updated on the latest news. You can, for example, look for underdogs who perform well on the road. Anything that applies to NHL in general works well at KHL, so go with the data – you may even see less variance. You’ll find plenty of wagering action at our trusted online gambling sites in the USA.
Previous Gagarin Cup Winners since its inaugural year:
|2009||Ak Bars (Kazan)|
|2010||Ak Bars (Kazan)|
|2011||Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)|
|2015||SKA (Saint Petersburg)|
|2017||SKA (Saint Petersburg)|
|2018||Ak Bars (Kazan)|
2021 KHL Gagarin Cup odds have CSKA Moscow front runners
When the 2020 playoffs were canceled, CSKA were looking like they could go all the way. After finishing top of the regular-season table, the Army Men swept Torpedo in the first round, conceding just three goals in four games. As a result, the team was awarded the Russian Championship by the Russian Hockey Federation. The side has also defeated the nearest 2021 Championship rivals Ak Bars 5 in their last six regular-season home games.
And if you’re looking for live wagering on player prop markets, Anton Slepyshev is a player to watch. He had his best ever KHL season last time out, compiling 45 (18+27) points in the regular season and adding 5 (2+3) as CSKA swept Torpedo in the first round of the playoffs. In 2020-21, Slepyshev should be well placed for a spot on the first line. After trying his hand in the NHL with Edmonton during a three-year stint between 2015 and 2018, the former Salavat Yulaev and Metallurg Novokuznetsk man now has a terrific opportunity to build on last season’s results and establish himself as a genuine KHL star.
Defending champions, expectations for the team this season are sky-high. A hard salary cap has forced CSKA to cut several big names from the roster this season, however. The Army Men have a new look line up, and much depends on how quickly head coach Igor Nikitin can get them to gel. But for now, at least, 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup odds have them as favourites.
Eastern Conference winners Ak Bars Kazan also strong contenders
The most successful team in the KHL era, Ak Bars Kazan 5 finished top of the Eastern Conference last year, nine points clear of their nearest rivals Barys. After a narrow loss to CSKA in their opening game of the season, they found their form and never looked back. With 44 wins in 62 games, they were only one point behind Continental Cup winner CSKA 4 when the playoffs were halted.
For many, 37-year-old Danis Zaripov has been the face of the franchise, with an unprecedented five Gagarin Cups. And three of them with Kazan. But when considering player markets, you should also keep an eye on Justin Azevedo. The Canadian shot to prominence back in 2014 when he inspired Lev Prague to the final before losing out to Metallurg Magnitogorsk. A year later, he was back in the final with Ak Bars, only to lose again. But in 2018, he finally got his hands on the cup. And typically, he’s at his best in post-season. Even if the regular season numbers look a little ordinary, Azevedo is still a big player for the big games.
With three Gagarin Cups and a runner-up finish in the KHL era, Ak Bars have the kind of pedigree that commands respect. Last year it seemed coach Dmitri Kvartalnov may well lead them to yet another trophy in his first season since arriving from Lokomotiv. And with the nucleus of last season’s roster still intact, along with some impressive new signings, they’re a good bet this time around for sure. So now the action is underway, find 2021 KHL Gagarin Cup outright odds for all the contenders, along with and plenty of live betting opportunities at online sportsbooks in the USA.