What a difference a few games make. Just a week ago, the Carolina Hurricanes were the odds-on-favorites to win the Stanley Cup. After a pair of OT losses and a heart-pounding 1-0 loss in Game 3, Carolina has fallen from +200 to +2000 to win the Cup.
That’s a big drop, but partly because of one of the Conn Smythe Trophy favorites, Matthew Tkachuk.
The DraftKings futures have undergone a dramatic shift since the start of the Conference Finals.
In addition to Carolina almost falling off the board, the Vegas Golden Knights are now heavy favorites at +120. The Dallas Stars have fallen to +750.
Falling behind 2-0 in a series will impact your odds significantly.
The Conn Smythe Trophy will be hotly debated, if not contested, as the Florida Panthers have a pair of heroes, and the Vegas Golden Knights have a lot of heroes without one clear-cut frontrunner to get the little trophy before the big silver chalice.
Last season, Cale Makar won the award as the Avalanche dethroned the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tkachuk has transformed the Florida Panthers. His gritty play kept the team afloat this season, even as their playoff hopes sank in the season’s final week. The Pittsburgh Penguins needed only to beat the two worst teams in the league, the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Panthers’ season would have ended in April.
However, the Penguins’ ineptitude proved to be the Panthers’ gain, and the big stage spotlight shone brightly on Tkachuk. He scored the OT winner in Games 1 and 2 to stake Florida to a 2-0 lead.
Tkachuk isn’t alone in the MVP talk. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been a brick wall since reclaiming his net against the Boston Bruins in Round One.
It’s like playing poker, trying to pick the winner. You can also snag latest casino bonuses while you put a few beans on the Stanley Cup winner.
Alex Lyon did a nice job holding down the fort, but Bobrovsky has been all-world. Bettors seem to think Bobrosvky is the choice, as he’s going off at +210. Tkachuk is the second favorite at +400.
Since almost all Conn Smythe winners have come from the winning team, unless the Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup, the winner will come from elsewhere.
And that opens up more value.
Jack Eichel is currently undervalued at +500. The former second-overall draft pick, who was at war with the Buffalo Sabres over disc replacement surgery, has been the leading scorer and spark plug for the Golden Knights. In 13 NHL Stanley Cup playoff games, Eichel has 15 points (6-9-15), and he stared down his draftmate Connor McDavid in the second round.
The Golden Knights beat Edmonton and limited McDavid to just three even-strength points. Eichel had seven points in that series.
Should Dallas come back from their 2-0 deficit to win the Stanley Cup, their choice is probably an easy one.
Roope Hintz has been one of the best players in the postseason but flies under the radar like a stealth bomber. Hintz has received almost no media attention despite scoring 22 points (10-12-22) in just 15 games. Hintz is currently +1600.
Golden Knights goalie Adin Hill is one player who isn’t getting any press. The former third-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes is with his third team in three years. Still, it has provided steady, calm, and impeccable goaltending since taking over for Laurent Brossoit in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
Hill is sporting a .930 save percentage and a 2.18 GAA in six starts. He has won five. Currently, he’s a healthy +2000. Conn Smythe voters like goalies as a fallback option when there is no other clear-cut candidate.
Golden Knights forwards Mark Stone (+600) and Jonathan Marchessault (+1800), one of the original VGK Misfits, complete the favorites.
If you want the longshot of longshots, that is currently Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal. The center, who won the Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, is +30000 to win the Conn Smythe.
Of course, a Dallas win in Game 3 will change the Stanley Cup betting odds again, perhaps making Hintz less of a long shot and bettering the Stars’ odds of winning the Stanley Cup.