The NHL playoffs are down to just eight teams. By the end of Monday night, it could be seven if the Tampa Bay Lightning complete the sweep of the Florida Panthers. The other three series are currently at 2-1, with the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche holding the advantage.
the The Colorado Avalanche are the current favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +155. The Tampa Bay Lightning are -110 out of the East, making them the favorite to represent the conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. While these teams are favorites for a reason, it’s hockey and anything can happen in the playoffs. Bet Future of the Stanley Cup can be fun and profitable, but there are two teams you absolutely shouldn’t bet on in this market, and it might not be for the reason you expect.
Correlation with Conn Smythe Winner
Hockey is the ultimate team sport. You probably can’t win the playoffs in this league without elite talent, good goaltending and depth in your lineup. The best teams are the ones that can beat you with any number of players or any style of play.
Take for example the Colorado Avalanche, who are +155 favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Currently, they have five players with odds of 20 to 1 or better to win the Conn Smythe, which is awarded to the playoff MVP. Nathan MacKinnon is their star forward and he has +600. Cale Makar, arguably the best defender in the sport, also has +600. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is 16-1. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is 16-1, while Mikko Rantanen, their top regular-season point producer, is 20-1.
Any of these players could win the Conn Smythe and it wouldn’t be too surprising. You can even add names like Nazem Kadri (66 to 1) or Devon Toews into the mix. They have plenty of players who can impact a game, and that’s a big part of why they’re favorites to win it all.
The same applies to Tampa Bay. Goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy (+950), defender Victor Hedman (12 against 1) and forwards Nikita Kucherov (+950) and Steven Stamkos (14 to 1) are all among Conn Smythe’s favorites. Brayden Point is 50 to 1, and that price would be much lower if he weren’t currently injured.
Even if you look at teams like the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes, there isn’t a clear Conn Smythe favorite on any of those teams. If they win the Stanley Cup, there is no certainty as to who would win the playoff MVP. You can say about six of the eight teams remaining in the playoffs. However, there are two teams that should win the Stanley Cup, there is no doubt who would win the Conn Smythe.
McDavid and Shesterkin would be Conn Smythe’s locks
The Edmonton Oilers took a 2-1 lead over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night thanks to a hat trick from Evander Kane. While Kane scored the goals, two of them were tap-ins of nice setups from Connor McDavid. McDavid had three assists on Sunday night, earning him an absolutely incredible 17 points in his last six playoff games.
In ten playoff games, McDavid has 23 points. His teammate Leon Draisaitl has 19 points while no one else in the league has more than 15 points. For comparison, the last forward to win the Conn Smythe was Ryan O’Reilly in 2019. He had 23 points in 26 games in four postseason rounds. McDavid tied that total in just 10 games and less than two rounds.
If you think the Oilers have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup and are considering backing them at +800 odds, that would be a stupid mistake. McDavid is currently 12 to 1 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. There’s no world where the Oilers win the Stanley Cup and McDavid doesn’t win playoff MVP. During the broadcast of Sunday’s game, ESPN announcers openly discussed the possibility of McDavid winning the award even if Edmonton doesn’t take it all. While that’s rather unlikely based on precedent, it underscores just how dominant McDavid was.
Betting on Edmonton to win the Stanley Cup and on McDavid to win the Conn Smythe is essentially the same bet. The only difference is we pay 12 to 1while the other is +800.
The same can be said of the New York Rangers and Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers are currently down 2-1 in their series against the Carolina Hurricanes, despite the fact that Shesterkin has allowed just three goals in regulation time in three games. Carolina has just five goals in the series; one was in overtime and the other in an empty net.
The Rangers got their first win of the series on Sunday afternoon. Shesterkin made 43 saves and allowed just one goal in a game where Rangers were outscored 44-33 and Carolina had a 2.7-1.8 advantage in expected goals at 5-5, according to MoneyPuck.com.
the Rangers shoot 20-1 to win Stanley Cup and I don’t see them overtaking hurricanes. However, if you think Rangers have another series up their sleeves and can pull off a miracle, I’d still pass the price 20-1. Igor Shesterkin is 40 to 1 to win the Conn Smythe and that’s a much better bet.
Shesterkin bailed out Rangers throughout the season. He will almost certainly win the Vézina, which is awarded to the best goaltender in the league. Rangers have been luckier and more downcast throughout the season, but Shesterkin has helped lift them to seventh best in the league.
Just like McDavid, there’s no world where the Rangers win the Stanley Cup and Shesterkin doesn’t win playoff MVP. The Rangers are the worst team remaining in this playoff in terms of puck possession and shot generation. They will have to win three out of four games against Carolina, one of the best teams in the league in this regard.
If they pull off another unlikely comeback in the series, they’ll likely have to beat back-to-back defending champions in the conference finals. Finally, they would get one of the West’s four offensive Dynamos. The remaining four Western Conference teams finished in the top 7 in the league in goals per game.
Rangers are 20-1 to win the Cup for a reason. They are not very likely to win it. However, if they do, it will be because Shesterkin carried them and ended some high profile offenses along the way. Do you prefer a ticket that pays 20 to 1 or a ticket that pays 40 to 1?
You can debate whether the Oilers or Rangers have a realistic chance of winning the Cup. All I’m saying is that if you have identified these teams as teams you want to bet on, grab the extra value with a McDavid or Shesterkin to win the Conn Smythe ticket instead. They are basically the same thing.