Conn Smythe Trophy betting: Is there more to add to your MVP portfolio?
Six weeks ago, we looked at the math in the Conn Smythe betting market before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We listed 23 players who had shorter odds than 50-1, and now just two remain from those atop the oddsboard - Jack Eichel and Mark Stone.
Everyone else on the Golden Knights and each member of the Panthers has seen an increase in their chances to win playoff MVP. Of course, because the Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded for a players' body of work during the entirety of a postseason, previous contributions should be a factor in voting, and therefore, the odds.
Conn Smythe Trophy odds
The most notable thing from the players listed above is the dichotomy between the players of each team. The Panthers have two main candidates - one in net and one top contributor amongst Florida skaters. The gap from Matthew Tkachuk at +375 to the next most likely Panther (Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe) is a chasm that's filled with Golden Knights, as six different Vegas players are still legitimate options.
The favorite among the Golden Knights - Eichel - leads the team in scoring with 18 points but didn't score a goal in their previous series. It will be a challenge to get to 27 points - the total Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin scored in 2017 and 2018. However, five other forwards since 2011 have won the award with 25 points or less.
This is important if you like the Golden Knights, because it means that anyone from the following list could catch fire and sway the voters with a big series:
- Jack Eichel: 6 goals, 12 assists
- Jonathan Marchessault: 9 goals, 8 assists, 3 game-winning goals
- Mark Stone: 6 goals, 9 assists, 1 game-winning goal
- Ivan Barbashev: 6 goals, 9 assists, 1 game-winning goal
- William Karlsson: 10 goals, 4 assists
- Chandler Stephenson: 8 goals, 6 assists, 3 game-winning goals
As far as opportunity is concerned, just two-and-a-half minutes of average ice time separate those with the most and least of this group. If they're all just as likely to add to their resume, why not take a stab at the longest shot, or shots, of the group?
By now, perhaps you know that we're betting on the Panthers to win the series on the slightest of edges for an underdog in a series that we have as at least a toss-up, but that isn't without respect for the Golden Knights. In fact, their ability to convert even-strength high-danger chances at an absurdly high rate this postseason might translate to Sergei Bobrovsky's candidacy taking a hit in higher-scoring games.
That would make us feel good about Tkachuk - a player we added after Round 1 at 20-1, who is the Panthers' most valuable skater with four high-profile game-winning goals. He will likely lead the playoffs in scoring.
If you've bought into Tkachuk along the way, you can effectively corner the market on Panthers with a play on Bobrovsky. But if the Golden Knights are more your flavor, making low-stakes/high-payout bets on under-the-radar candidates is worth a shot.
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.