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Conn Smythe Odds Favor Makar, MacKinnon Entering Stanley Cup Finals

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NHL Hockey

Jun 15, 2022 · 7:58 AM PDT

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar skating back to the bench
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (8) following his goal in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Conn Smythe odds heavily favor Colorado players as the Avs get set to face Tampa Bay in the finals
  • Makar leads all remaining players in both points-per-game and time-on-ice
  • Below, see the updated Conn Smythe odds and betting analysis

The Stanley Cup finals get underway tonight with Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche. With Colorado favored in both the Lightning vs Avalanche series odds and the Tampa Bay vs Colorado Game 1 odds, it comes as no surprise that the Conn Smythe odds also heavily favor Avs players.

2022 Conn Smythe Odds

Player Odds
Cale Makar (D, COL) +185
Nathan MacKinnon (F, COL) +220
Andrei Vasilevskiy (G, TB) +425
Nikita Kucherov (F, TB) +450
Steven Stamkos (F, TB) +1300
Gabriel Landeskog (F, COL) +2000
Victor Hedman (D, TB) +2100
Ondrej Palat (F, TB) +2400
Mikko Rantanen (F, COL) +2500
Nazem Kadri (F, COL) +3000
Darcy Kuemper (G, COL) +3500
Anthony Cirelli (F, TB) +7000
Brayden Point (F, TB) +7500
Devon Toews (D, COL) +10000
Corey Perry (F, TB) +10000

Odds as of June 15, 2022, at Barstool Sportsbook. See available Barstool Sportsbook promo code.

The Conn Smythe-Winner Will Come from the Winning Team

The Conn Smythe has been handed out 53 times since 1965. Only five times in the history of the award has it been won by a player on the losing team. Since 1987, that’s only happened one time (Anaheim’s JS Giguere in 2003).

This year,  no player has a statistical edge great enough to warrant winning the Conn Smythe if his team loses the finals. That means the first step to handicapping this prop is handicapping the series.

The average Stanley Cup odds have Colorado at -175 and Tampa at +150. Taking out the vig, the implied probability of the finals odds give the Avalanche a 61.4% chance to win, leaving 38.6% for Tampa Bay.

Makar Has Statistical Lead Entering Finals

Makar has been nothing short of phenomenal throughout Colorado’s run to the finals, picking up where he left off in the regular season. Now, not only is he a big favorite in the Norris Trophy odds, he’s also the Conn Smythe favorite for playoff MVP.

It’s important for bettors to remember that the Conn Smythe takes into account a player’s body of work throughout the playoffs, unlike the NBA Finals MVP. So what has transpired in the first three rounds of the postseason is very relevant. And as the table below shows, among the players who are still alive in the postseason, Makar has been the best of the bunch, statistically.

Conn Smythe Favorites Head-to-Head Stats

Player Games Goals Points TOI +/-
Cale Makar 14 5 22 27:04 +11
Nathan MacKinnon 14 11 18 21:06 +12
Nikita Kucherov 17 7 23 20:59 +4
Steven Stamkos 17 9 15 18:37 +4
Gabriel Landeskog 14 9 17 20:38 +14
Victor Hedman 17 2 14 24:30 +3
Ondrej Palat 17 8 16 16:41 +9
Mikko Rantanen 14 5 17 20:16 +2
Nazem Kadri 13 6 14 17:16 +7
Anthony Cirelli 17 1 5 20:07 0
Brayden Point 7 2 4 19:10 -6
Devon Toews 14 5 13 25:50 +9
Corey Perry 17 5 8 12:21 -1

That said, the table above only compares skaters. The X-factor here is the man who won the award just last season: Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The Russian has taken a small step back compared to last year’s playoffs, but has still been excellent between the pipes.

In his 2021 Conn Smythe postseason, he recorded a .937 SV% and 1.90 GAA. This year, he’s sitting at a .928 SV% and 2.27 GAA entering the finals.

2022 Conn Smythe Best Bet

As mentioned above, the current odds to win the series give Tampa a 38.6% chance to win the Cup. Vasilevskiy’s +425 odds put his implied probability at 19.05%. That means, if we accept that Tampa’s implied probability is accurate, Vasilevskiy would have to win the Conn Smythe at least 49.4% of the time that Tampa wins the series in order to be worth a wager.

In reality, I think that drastically undervalues the Russian’s chances of winning if he backstops the Bolts to a third straight Cup.

It’s highly likely that the Avalanche are going to control the majority of play throughout the series and generate significantly more shots on goal. If Tampa wins, the box score is going to make it look like Vasilevskiy stole some games. And that’s the kind of narrative voters love.

His stats heretofore in the postseason, while not as spectacular as last season, are a good enough foundation to build on.

Pick: Vasilevskiy (+425)

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