With 83 points in 45 games, Connor McDavid not only leads the NHL scoring race but is also on pace to score a career-best 151 points. It would be the first time someone hit the 150-point milestone since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.
As such, the NHL odds heavily favor McDavid to win his third Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP even if the Oilers remain a mediocre team.
Connor Bedard has 5 Points and a Hat Trick in his first game since the WJC lol
— Nathan “Grav” (@NathanGraviteh) January 9, 2023
McDavid vs the Field
McDavid’s current Hart Trophy odds have an implied probability of around 73 percent. That means McDavid will be going home with the NHL’s most prestigious individual award more than seven out of 10 times. But these online sports betting lines seem steep given that Edmonton is far from a sure bet to make the playoffs.
Edmonton is at -200 to make the playoffs but currently sits fifth in the Pacific Division and is in the last wild card spot with a slight point percentage edge over Colorado. Most likely, the only way McDavid wins the award is if Edmonton can hang on to a playoff spot.
McDavid also led the NHL in scoring in 2018. In fact, his 108 points were the most anyone scored since 2012. But the Oilers failed to make the playoffs and he failed to win the Hart Trophy. Instead, it went to his old former teammate Taylor Hall, who scored 15 points fewer (93) but led the New Jersey Devils to an improbable playoff spot.
Thus, there is still a decent shot that either Nikita Kucherov (+1200) or David Pastrnak (+1500) wins the award. These forwards are also scoring at a 100-point pace and both Tampa Bay and Boston, their respective teams, are in a better position than Edmonton.
The Lightning is fourth in the NHL in point percentage while Boston leads the league. The latter also has the best goal differential in the NHL at +66.
Should Edmonton continue to struggle and fall out of the playoff picture, expect McDavid’s odds to lengthen considerably while Kucherov and Pastrnak could move into become the favorites on the sportsbook?
Thompson and Other Longshot Bets
There is still plenty of hockey to be played so it’s possible for any of the outside contenders to make a run in terms of the odds. When Hall won the Hart, the Devils were a .500 team prior to the All-Star break. But the team got hot thanks to Hall and he won the award.
As such, we won’t rule out the likes of Tage Thompson (+2000) or any Avalanche stars like Mikko Rantanen (+2500) or Nathan MacKinnon (+6000) to win the award. Connor Hellebuyck, representing the Winnipeg Jets, may also have value at his ridiculous line of +10000.
Thompson has become a force this season and has the Buffalo Sabres fighting for a playoff spot. The 6-foot-7 center has 31 goals (58 points) in 41 games for Buffalo. He’s started to cool off a bit, but if the Sabres are to make the playoffs, it will be on his back.
Tage Thompson simply can’t help himself, he has to create sick plays. pic.twitter.com/7PZPZyFJ7r
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 11, 2023
As for Rantanen and MacKinnon, the two may siphon Hart Trophy votes away from each other. It’s kind of what they did in 2018 when the latter finished as a finalist. But with Colorado currently out of the playoff picture, a hot run from either of the two could improve their odds tremendously.
Meanwhile, Hellebuyck is this year’s Igor Shesterkin. The goaltender should be the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy but could also get Hart Trophy votes thanks to Winnipeg’s much-improved standing.