The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway on Monday and one team will be left by the time we get to June. It’s a two-plus month process to get to the Stanley Cup Final, where one player will be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP. Last season, Colorado Avalanche D Cale Makar won the award after leading the Avs to the Cup Final win over the Lightning in six games. Here we’ll go over odds for the Conn Smythe heading into the start of the first round.
The favorites at the top are David Pastrnak, the top wing on the Boston Bruins, who have the best odds to win the Cup. Behind him is Connor McDavid, who has the Oilers in a good position to make a run. McDavid has such high odds despite Edmonton not being among the top-2 in Stanley Cup odds, mostly because if the Oilers do make it to the Final, he’s a shoe-in. There’s even a scenario where McDavid wins Conn Smythe despite losing the Stanley Cup; we’ve seen it before.
So if you’re looking to make some bets, we’ll provide a bit of analysis and advice. One thing I like to do with the Conn Smythe market is just wait it out a bit. Last year, you could tell by the second round or so that the Avs were going to at least make it to the Cup and have a good shot at winning. Wayne Gretzky had said on broadcasts during the postseason that Makar is on another level. That type of endorsement coupled with the stats to back it up and a championship helped Makar win the award. His odds were still reasonable in the middle of the playoffs. Seeing how teams look early on and which players are doing well enough goes a long way.
If you do want to get ahead and bet on Conn Smythe before the playoffs begin, there are a few players who stand out. Nathan MacKinnon didn’t win the award last season but is still the best player on the Avs. If Colorado is going to go on another run, he’s going to need to play lights out. At +1600, MacK isn’t a bad bet. Same goes for Auston Matthews at +2000 and Jack Hughes at +2500. Could another player on the Leafs or Devils win it if those teams go all the way? Sure. Is it likely it isn’t Matthews or Hughes. Not really. If those two teams are going far in the playoffs, it’s because of those players.
I know we talked about McDavid and him being a shoe-in if the Oilers make it to the Cup and win. Leon Draisaitl being +3000 seems a bit odd to me. Sure, McDavid probably leads the playoffs in points if Edmonton goes deep. Could it also be Draisaitl? Of course. Draisaitl could also provide a lot of scoring off the back of McDavid and voters could sway one way or the other. McDavid and Draisaitl being +2200 points apart in the odds market seems off to me.
I also really like the Dallas Stars in general this postseason. If the Stars go on a run, you’ve got Jason Robertson at +3000 and Jake Oettinger at +3500. But going back to the first bit on waiting things out, if the Stars look good in the first round, we may not see these odds jump too much. Maybe Robertson and Oettinger go up to +2000 or so, but that’s still good value and we get to see how Dallas looks against a tough Wild team.
2023 Conn Smythe odds