Leafs’ Matthews, Tavares among Hart Trophy betting favourites

Shawn McKenzie along with NHL insider Chris Johnston discuss the Edmonton Oilers expectations heading into this season, after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.

It has been over six decades since a Toronto Maple Leafs player last claimed Hart Trophy honours as the league’s MVP, with former captain Ted Kennedy last accomplishing the feat in the 1954-55 season.

But with the opening of NHL training camps fast approaching, a pair of Toronto forwards sit among the favourites on the Hart Trophy odds with Auston Matthews and John Tavares deadlocked at +1000 on those player props at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The newest Maple Leaf bolsters a lineup that produced a franchise-record 49 wins and 105 points last season. Tavares signed with Toronto this summer after racking up 37 goals and 47 assists in his ninth and final season with the New York Islanders, and is pegged as a -150 wager to tally OVER 79.5 points in the upcoming campaign on the NHL player props.

Matthews was limited by injury to just 62 games in his second season in Toronto, but made the best of his opportunities, piling up 63 points. Tavares and Matthews are also the leading candidates on the odds to be named the next captain of the Maple Leafs. Matthews is listed at +175 while Tavares sits as a -250 favourite to be anointed as the team’s next captain.

Connor McDavid leads the way on the Hart Trophy odds as a +333 favourite, while Sidney Crosby closely trails as a +650 wager to earn Hart Trophy honours for the third time in his career.

McDavid emerged as one of the bright spots on an Edmonton Oilers squad that took a step back last season. The 21-year-old stormed to the top of the NHL scoring race with 41 goals and 67 assists to claim the Art Ross Trophy for a second straight season. But that was not enough to keep the Oilers in playoff contention, with the club seeing its point total drop by 25 points after ending a decade-long playoff drought in 2016-17.

The Oilers did little in the off-season to bolster McDavid’s supporting cast, a reality that is currently reflected on the Stanley Cup odds, where Edmonton trails the favourites at +2000. Crosby racked up 89 points last season, while playing all 82 games for the first time in his career, and leads a Pittsburgh Penguins squad sporting +1200 odds of claiming a third Stanley Cup win in four years.

Further down the Hart Trophy odds, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin rounds out the favourites at +1100. Mark Scheifele, Nathan MacKinnon, and Nikita Kucherov trail at +1500, while reigning Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall sits at +1600 odds.

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