Oddsmakers, pundits, and fans believe that the Hart Trophy is basically a three-horse race between the last three winners: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Leon Draisaitl.
McDavid is once again the clear favorite at Caesars to win the NHL’s award for the most valuable player at +300, while Matthews, the reigning MVP fresh off a 60-goal campaign, is right behind him at +400. McDavid’s running mate, Draisaitl, is the only other player in single-digits, at +800.
While it’s very likely that one of those three players will win the award, that doesn’t mean you can’t find betting value on a couple of players a little deeper on the board. When betting futures, if you don’t love one of the favorites, it makes sense to take a couple of live long shots who have the ingredients to cash in.
Here are three players worth considering:
Hart Trophy betting odds and value picks
Cale Makar, Avalanche (15/1, BetMGM)
Chris Pronger was the last defenseman to win this award, back in 2000, but if there’s going to be a player to break that streak, it’s Makar.
Four months removed from being named MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Makar enters 2022-23 as the +125 favorite to win his second-consecutive Norris Trophy. While that number has no value, backing the 23-year-old to win the Hart does. Makar posted 115 points in 97 games (including playoffs) in 2021-22, making him a legitimate threat to become the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to crack the 100-point plateau.
Jack Eichel, Golden Knights (75/1, BetMGM)
There has been plenty of drama surrounding Eichel over the past 18 months, but he’s finally healthy and happy in Vegas, where he’ll be counted on to produce as a No. 1 center.
Eichel was better than a point-per-game player in his last two healthy seasons in Buffalo, where he had no supporting cast. Surrounded by better players and playing for a team that should be in the playoff mix, Eichel is a good bet to put up some crooked numbers and re-enter the conversation as one of the league’s best players. He’s mispriced at 75/1.
Betting on Sports?
Nikolaj Ehlers, Jets (300/1, BetMGM)
A regular on “most underrated player in the NHL” lists, Ehlers is poised for a star turn. The 26-year-old Dane missed a chunk of time last season with an injury, but he still managed to post 28 goals and 55 points in 62 games on a team that turned into a bit of a mess due to off-ice drama and inconsistent play.
With the Jets playing for a new coach and slated for a spot on the first line next to 47-goal scorer Kyle Connor and point-per-gamer Mark Scheifele, there’s a chance for Ehlers to make a Jonathan Huberdeau-type leap in 2022-23.
We’ve seen long shots such as Taylor Hall win this award in recent history, so if you’re looking for a lottery ticket, you could do a lot worse than chucking some beer money on Ehlers and hoping he soars to a new level. He checks all the boxes for someone to come from the back of the pack and be in the running for the award.