With the NHL regular season coming to a close, we’re running out of time to find value on the board in NHL Hart Trophy odds.
And according to the best NHL betting sites, one man is pulling away from the pack of about five legitimate contenders.
Online sportsbook [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog] has released full NHL Hart Trophy odds with Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews grabbing the top spot at -400. He’s followed by Connor McDavid (+400) and Jonathan Huberdeau (+1500) to round out the top three.
Check out the rest of the NHL Hart Trophy odds contenders below, or head over to our Vezina Trophy Odds, Norris Trophy Odds or Stanley Cup odds pages to bet on some of the other top prizes in hockey as we head toward the playoffs.
Who Are The NHL Hart Trophy Odds Favorites?
Odds as of April 14 at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]
Does Matthews Really Deserve The Hart Trophy?
In short, yes. And this is coming from a writer who’s a Montreal Canadiens fan.
Matthews has been spectacular this year. There will be detractors who will point to the fact that he plays with one of the elite playmaking wingers in the world in Mitch Marner, and others will simply say Connor McDavid is better.
But Matthews’ goal-scoring prowess in combination with strong defensive play should put him above the rest in the eyes of Hart Trophy voters.
Matthews is on pace to score more goals this season (he has 58 with nine games to go as of writing) than anyone since the 1995-96 season, including besting Alex Ovechkin’s career-best 65 in 2007-08.
Matthews’ 43 even-strength goals are already tied for the 14th most all-time in a season (tied with Ovie’s career best) and he’s got a good shot of beating Steven Stamkos’ mark of 48 to move into the top 12 all-time in that category.
It’s simply one of the best goal-scoring seasons in NHL history and really can’t be overlooked by voters. When you add in his solid defensive play (something that McDavid, Draisaitl and others can’t match), it’s easy to see why Matthews is the heavy favorite in NHL Hart Trophy odds.
NHL Hart Trophy Odds: Other Favorites
Connor McDavid (+400)
If there’s one player who could supplant Matthews at this point, it’s probably McJesus.
Now, I don’t think McDavid should win the Hart, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see some voters who don’t care much for analytics (or the Leafs) vote for the guy many still believe is the best player in the league.
McDavid will likely finish with about 10 to 12 more points than Matthews this year and should have right around 50 goals (he’s at 42 with nine games to play), but he simply hasn’t produced to the same degree as Matthews at even strength and doesn’t play defense at the same level.
It’s Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau who actually leads the league in even-strength points (79) and he’s lapping the field in primary assists with 36 (next most is 23) at evens. But Gaudreau is a long shot here at +2000 and is far from a lock to actually finish as a Hart Trophy finalist.
McDavid’s bid is based largely on his reputation and point total, but we don’t think it will be enough considering the work of his peers.
Igor Shesterkin (+2000)
There was a time when we would have argued that Shesterkin deserved to be right there with Matthews at the top of the list in Hart Trophy odds, but with his play dipping slightly down the stretch and Matthews on a torrid pace, the Rangers netminder has fallen down the list quite a bit.
There’s no doubt that Shesterkin is a worthy MVP candidate and has carried the Rangers to the playoffs, but is his great season Hart Trophy-worthy? In some years, yes, it would be. And if Matthews wasn’t having an all-time goal-scoring season, we would argue he should be the favorite. But a .934 save percentage for a good-not-great team isn’t quite enough when put up against Matthews’ accomplishments on a better team in a tougher division.
Shesterkin is a lock in NHL Vezina Trophy odds, but we’re doubtful he has the momentum at the end of the season to win the Hart.
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Jun 27, 1:28pm