John Carlson Continues to Dominate 2020 Norris Odds; Any Value Betting on a Longshot Like Josi or Pietrangelo?

Washington Capitals' defenseman John Carlson
John Carlson's 2020 Norris Trophy odds have fallen from -550 to -450 over the past month, but the Washington Capitals' blueliner is still the runaway favorite. Photo by Michael Miller (Wikimedia)
  • John Carlson remains a prohibitive favorite in the Norris Trophy odds
  • Roman Josi is 11 points back of Carlson in the NHL scoring race
  • Can any defenseman challenge Carlson for the Norris?

John Carlson is still being listed as the runaway favorite in the 2020 Norris Trophy odds despite Predators’ blueliner Roman Josi closing the gap in the NHL defenseman scoring race.

Carlson’s odds have fallen slightly from -550 to -450 over the past month, while Josi’s odds have climbed from +750 to +250.

Is Carlson the sure-fire Norris winner or is there value betting on another player to win?

2020 Norris Trophy Odds

Player (Team) Odds
John Carlson (Washington Capitals) -450
Roman Josi (Nashville Predators) +250
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) +500
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning) +600
Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche) +2000
Keith Yandle  (Florida Panthers) +3300

Odds taken Feb. 3

Carlson Still Runaway Favorite

John Carlson is still the prohibitive favorite to win the 2020 Norris Trophy. The Washington defenseman sits 10th in the NHL scoring race with 62 points in 53 games. Carlson’s odds have likely fallen because he hasn’t scored a goal since December 20.

Carlson is still the heavy favorite because he’s the No. 1 defenseman on one of the best teams in the NHL. Carlson possesses elite offensive skills and is going to continue piling up points playing with superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The PHWA Midseason Awards is typically a good predictor of who will eventually win, as six of the eight midseason winners last season went on to win the actual trophy. This year, Carlson received a whopping 91 first-place Norris votes at midseason, while runner-up Roman Josi received 11 first-place votes.

Can Josi Catch Up?

Roman Josi has some intriguing Norris Trophy value at +250. All the stats will tell you that the Nashville blueliner is actually a better defenseman than Carlson. He currently sits 11 points back of Carlson in the scoring race with two games in hand.

Not only has Josi surpassed Carlson in goal-scoring with 14 goals, but the Swiss blueliner’s impressive 53.46 CF%, 34.38 xGA and plus-22 rating is better than Carlson’s 49.39 CF%, 37.06 xGA and plus-18 rating. Josi is also averaging almost a minute more of ice time (26:02) than Carlson and doesn’t have talent like Ovechkin and Backstrom to work with.

What Josi has working against him is that no player has ever won the Norris on a non-playoff team. The Predators are currently four points out of a playoff spot but they’ve played the fewest amount of games (51) of any team in the conference. Considering Josi leads the Preds in scoring by 14 points, the blueliner carrying his team into the postseason would make for a great Norris storyline.

Pietrangelo a Big Riser 

One player that is really shooting up the Norris Trophy odds is Blues’ rearguard Alex Pietrangelo. The St. Louis captain was as long as +3300 just a month ago. Pietrangelo has as many goals as Carlson (13), but his 43 points set him quite far back in the scoring race.

Part of the reason for Pietrangelo’s rise is that previous front-runner Dougie Hamilton is now out indefinitely with a broken leg. Pietrangelo has fantastic underlying metrics, but he barely generated any Norris buzz at the midpoint and likely won’t have the flashy numbers required to impressive voters.

If it weren’t for Carlson and Josi also having strong defensive stats to go with overly impressive offensive numbers, Pietrangelo would be a great longshot bet for the Norris this season.

Betting Advice

There isn’t much value in betting Carlson to win the Norris right now. The better value lies with Josi. Although Carlson has an 11-point lead in the scoring race, it’s worth noting that only three of the past ten Norris Trophy winners were the leading scorer among defenseman that season.

As long as Carlson keeps up his ridiculous scoring pace, he’ll win the Norris. But Josi has been better in almost every other statistical category and has actually racked up more points than Carlson since the start of the New Year.

The Norris isn’t all about points and there’s value in betting on Josi continuing his dynamic season, leading Nashville into the postseason and capturing his first-ever Norris.

Pick: Roman Josi (+250)

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