NHL Betting: Conn Smythe Futures Picks

There’s always conjecture about who is going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, which goes to the player deemed most valuable player throughout the playoffs. With the Stanley Cup Final getting started on Wednesday, the picture is a bit clearer. This betting guide will give an update on the best value plays for the Conn Smythe Trophy entering the final matchup of the postseason.

Leader: Cale Makar (+180)

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the frontrunner to win the award after a fantastic Western Conference Final. He had two goals and seven assists in those four games and was an integral player in slowing down some of the stars of the Edmonton Oilers. Makar’s 22 points are currently sixth in the postseason, and he’s just one point behind New York Rangers standout Adam Fox as the highest-scoring defenseman.

Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Makar has been great in the two series sweeps that Colorado has pulled off. In the four games against the Nashville Predators in the first round, he racked up seven assists on the way to 10 points. He’s a decent play (+180), but was much, much better a couple of weeks ago. There’s still plenty of value here, but his second-round lull (just three points in six games against the St. Louis Blues) makes him a risk to slow down on the scoring.

Best Play: Nathan MacKinnon (+210)

Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon has been a force in these playoffs. His 11 goals are second in the postseason (two behind Evander Kane of the Edmonton Oilers), and he’s not getting cheated on opportunities. MacKinnon leads the playoffs in shots on goal with a whopping 82. Edmonton’s Zach Hyman is second with 67. That’s around six shots per game for a guy every defense has as their top priority to stop. MacKinnon also has what’s perhaps the best goal of the postseason so far.

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He currently has the second-best odds to win the award behind teammate Makar (+180), but MacKinnon’s success against the Lightning should set him apart in this series. In his 15 career games against the Lightning, he has 10 goals and 23 points. His shooting percentage of 17.5 against Tampa is the highest against any individual opponent throughout his career, as well. That bodes pretty well for a guy that’s racking up tons of shots in these playoffs.

Sneaky Value: Andrei Vasilevskiy (+400)

The Tampa Bay goaltender has had another sharp postseason, going 12-5 with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. Those aren’t the best playoff stats of his career, but looking forward, Andrei Vasilevskiy is the most important player for the Lightning. The Avalanche offense has been electrifying throughout the postseason, and it will fall on Vasilevskiy to stop them – or at least slow them down.

Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Vasilevskiy won the award after the 2021 Playoffs, and Tampa is going to need him to perform at that level if they want to win three Stanley Cups in a row. He was sharp again in their clinching game against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final and looks sharp going into the Cup Final. Expect another good series from him, and if Tampa takes the series, he’ll be a frontrunner for the award.

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