The big question facing hockey fans as the NHL season approaches the 30-game mark remains, can anyone stop the Edmonton Oilers duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the race to claim this season’s Hart Trophy as the NHL player most valuable to his team? In addition to seizing the top two spots in the NHL scoring race, the superstar tandem also sit 1-2 on the odds to claim the Hart Trophy. McDavid leads the way as a strengthening +110 favorite at BetUS, while Draisaitl sits second, sporting odds as short as +275 at Bovada. However, with Alexander Ovechkin defying father Time while continuing his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal scoring record, the Washington Capitals captain has emerged as an intriguing +700 wager to claim the award for the fourth time in his career.
MyTopSportsbooks takes a look at all the trends and bet bets as the race to win this season’s Hart Trophy heats up. Sports bettors getting in on hockey action for the first time should refer to our online resources, including our guide to NHL MVP betting odds, and tips on how to take advantage of the best NHL hockey betting sites.
Can Anyone Stop Oilers Superstars?
There is no denying the importance of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to the Edmonton Oilers’ bid to end a three-decade long Stanley Cup drought. In addition to leading the NHL scoring race, the superstar duo have carried the Oilers attack so far this season, combining to score 43.5% of the team’s total goals.
It is absolutely insane how prolific McDavid and Draisaitl have been since the start of last season pic.twitter.com/X301L1T3qC
— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) December 4, 2021
The challenge for sports bettors is determining which of the two Oilers stars offers the most value on the Hart Trophy odds. Winner of the Hart in 2020, Draisaitl currently leads the league with 21 goals, and has outpaced the Oilers captain in ice time, shooting performance, and game-winning goals. The Oilers have also fallen to defeat in five of their past seven when the big German fails to score.
CONNOR MCDAVID ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 6, 2021
However, it is tough to overlook McDavid’s ability to singlehandedly take control of a game, thanks to his superior hockey sense, speed, and playmaking ability. While Draisaitl’s toughness may strike fear into opponents, it is McDavid’s raw skill and finesse that more often dominates the highlight reel.
Ovechkin Closing Gap on Gretzky
Alexander Ovechkin has emerged as a fixture on the highlight reel this season while powering the Washington Capitals to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings. “Great 8” has climbed into fourth on the all-time NHL goal scoring list by scoring 20 goals so far this season. He has also racked up 41 points in just 26 games after compiling 42 points through all of last season.
Alex Ovechkin became the second-fastest player to reach 750 career goals. So, let’s take an updated look at Ovechkin’s pursuit of Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goals: https://t.co/zhbhZQqA5z
— James O’Brien 📎 (@cyclelikesedins) December 5, 2021
While Ovechkin’s bid to close the gap on Gretzky makes him a logical frontrunner in the Hart Trophy race, the question remains as to whether the 36-year-old can maintain his current torrid pace for the entirety of the NHL’s first 82-game campaign in three seasons. Ovie’s hot start has also been fueled by solid performances on home ice, where he has scored 12 of his 20 goals to date, and now faces a tough challenge as the Capitals prepare to play 10 of their next 15 games on the road.
Panarin Tops List of Dark Horse Picks
Further down the Hart Trophy odds, there are three dark horse candidates who offer exceptional betting value. Following a tepid start, Auston Matthews has finally found his groove, and cannot be overlooked as a lengthy +2200 bet at BetOnline. Sidelined by injury to start the season, Matthews mustered just one goal through his first six appearances. However, the reigning Maurice Richard Trophy winner has played a huge role in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent surge, scoring 16 times over his past 18 outings.
Auston Matthews is suddenly on pace for a franchise record 56 goals. The shooting percentages have ticked up.
Another Rocket is in sight.
Matthews may just power the Leafs through December without Mitch Marner: https://t.co/ceZoxZqsRn
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) December 8, 2021
Aleksander Barkov also offers intriguing value if, like Matthews, he can bounce back from an injury-plagued start. The Florida Panthers captain picked up at least a point in 14 of 16 games before suffering a knee injury in mid-November. Now pegged as a +3500 bet, Barkov maintained that pace by opening the scoring in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to St. Louis. However, Barkov’s injury history remains a concern, considering his struggles to bounce back from early-season injuries on three occasions earlier in his career.
Panarin’s career at Madison Square Garden since signing with #NYR:
17x zero-point games
17x one-point games
33x multi-point games
— HockeyStatMiner (@HockeyStatMiner) December 5, 2021
Time may be running out for sports bettors looking to back Artemi Panarin. Currently pegged as a +3000 wager at BetUS, Panarin’s odds are bound to shorten considering his recent contributions to the New York Rangers’ red-hot start. The wily Russian has been a force during the Rangers’ return to playoff contention this season, piling up 14 points while leading the Rangers to seven straight wins.
Best Bet: Artemi Panarin (+3000) at BetUS