- Connor McDavid is favored to win the 2020 Hart Trophy at +350
- Reigning champion Nikita Kucherov has the second-best odds (+550)
- Who the best bet is to win the league’s most valuable player award?
The NHL season is just two weeks away and the early 2020 Hart Trophy odds favor players who have been there and done that. The Oilers’ Connor McDavid, the 2016 MVP, is favored to win at +350, followed with last year’s recipient, the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov. Sidney Crosby (Penguins) and Alex Ovechkin (Capitals) round out the top four.
Of note, no goaltenders or defensemen are receiving odds, with Carey Price being the only netminder in the last 16 seasons to win the award. It is also very rare for a player to win back-to-back trophies – more on that later.
Odds to Win 2020 Hart Trophy
|Connor McDavid (Oilers)||+350|
|Nikita Kucherov (Lightning)||+550|
|Sidney Crosby (Penguins)||+700|
|Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)||+1000|
|Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs)||+1200|
|Nathan Mackinnon (Avalanche)||+1200|
|Taylor Hall (Devils)||+1400|
|John Tavares (Maple Leafs)||+2000|
|Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)||+2000|
|Steven Stamkos (Lightning)||+2500|
|Mitch Marner (Maple Leafs)||+2500|
|David Pastrnak (Bruins)||+2500|
|Evgeny Kuznetsov (Capitals)||+2500|
|Brayden Point (Lightning)||+2800|
|Mark Scheifele (Jets)||+2800|
|Patrik Laine (Jets)||+3500|
*Odds taken 09/17/19.
Last Five Hart Trophy Winners Have Been First-Timers
If you’re into trends, then consider players who haven’t won the Hart Trophy yet. The last five winners have all been first-time NHL MVPs.
As mentioned, the top-four betting favorites (McDavid, Kucherov, Crosby, Ovechkin) have all won at least one Hart Trophy before. Since 1997-98, only Ovechkin and Crosby have won multiple Hart Trophy awards.
Last Five Hart Trophy Winners
Only Two Players Have Won Back-to-Back Hart Trophies in Last 31 Seasons
At first blush, Nikita Kucherov as the second-favorite at +550 might look like good value, given that he’s improved his point totals significantly each of the last four years (66 pts, 85 pts, 100 pts, and then 128 points in his Hart Trophy winning campaign last year).
But historically, winning back-to-back Hart Trophies is a monumental task. Only two players have done it in the last three decades (Dominik Hasek, 97-98; and Ovechkin, 08-09).
Intriguing Dark Horse Pick to Take Home the Hart
The second-pick in the 2016 draft, Patrik Laine, looked to be headed for super-elite status following 36 and 44-goal seasons in his first two years, but shockingly struggled last year, dropping to 50 points. His odds to win the Hart Trophy have plummeted to +3500 amid uncertainty over whether he’ll sign a new contract.
How about Patrik Laine taking one timers from fans? What a legend. pic.twitter.com/nTyQtZDphN
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) January 24, 2019
In his first two years, however, Laine had the second-most goals in the NHL (two behind Ovechkin). He has a ridiculous amount of talent and, if the streaky Finn can find more consistency in his fourth season, those odds might be looking mighty fine.
Auston Matthews the Best Value Pick to Win Hart Trophy
If the Maple Leafs are able to get over the hump and slay the rival Bruins and Lightning to win the Atlantic Division, captain-in-waiting Auston Matthews will likely play a huge role in that.
"The biggest thing is for him to be healthy … Last season he was better in the playoffs than the yr before in the playoffs. That shows (he's) moving forward. He's an unbelievable player."
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) August 15, 2019
In his three seasons his points per game totals have incrementally improved. In total, he’s averaged better than 0.5 goals per game in this first three seasons (111 G in 212 GP) and he has a reasonable chance to hit that magical 50-goal plateau if he can shake the injury bug that’s seen him miss 34 games combined in the last two seasons.
On top of that, he plays for massive east-coast market, which would help his candidacy since seven of the last eight winners have played in the East.
Pick: Auston Matthews (+1200)
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