Connor McDavid’s popular choice to win third Hart Memorial Trophy

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Connor McDavid is the overwhelming favorite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, but that doesn’t scare audiences off the star Edmonton Oilers captain.

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McDavid is aiming to be named the league’s MVP for the third time, and he’s the +200 favorite to make it at BetMGM and DraftKings. Despite the low odds, McDavid is backed by 39.9% of bets and 76% of the money staked on the prize at BetMGM.

This makes McDavid the biggest liability in sports betting, despite being the overwhelming favorite.

He was a unanimous winner last year, sweeping away the 100 first-place votes available from the Professional Hockey Writers Association. He joined Wayne Gretzky (1982) as Hart’s second unanimous winner in league history.

McDavid came in tied for the league lead in points on Friday with teammate Leon Draisaitl at 53. While Draisaitl leads the NHL with 26 goals, McDavid is No. 1 in assists with 34.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is second at +350 in both sportsbooks, while Draisaitl is offered at +400 by DraftKings and +600 at BetMGM. However, it was Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, finalist last year, who is second at BetMGM with 20.4% of total bets.

Ovechkin was second with 6.3 percent of the money wagered in the Hart Market, while Draisaitl was supported by 7.1 percent of the tickets and 4.7 percent of the money. Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, another 2021 finalist, is backed by 4.4 and 1.0%, respectively, with +1200 odds after opening at +700.

Matthews (+300) also competes with Draisaitl (+250) and Ovechkin (+350) to win the Rocket Richard Award as top scorer. Matthews is six goals behind Draisaitl, but Toronto is two games less and Matthews missed the first three games of the season after leading the league with 41 goals in 52 games last year.

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The race for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender is much closer among the top three contenders that have emerged.

Andrei Vasilevskiy of Toronto and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers are co-favorites at +450 at BetMGM ahead of Jack Campbell of Toronto, whose odds fell from +2500 at the start of the season to +650. Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper (+4,000) is backed by a record 14.8% of bets, while Shesterkin was backed by 18.1% of the money and is the book’s biggest liability.

Campbell is supported by 8.3 and 10.8%, respectively. He is also DraftKings’ favorite +400 ahead of Shesterkin (+450) and Vasilevskiy (+600).

The James Norris trophy for best defender also appears to be a three-horse race.

Colorado’s Cale Makar is +250 at BetMGM and +400 at DraftKings. It’s ahead of Rangers’ Adam Fox (+330, +400) and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman (+600, +500).

Makar is the overwhelming leader with 53.6% of bets and 70.0% of the money staked on BetMGM. It is also the biggest book liability on the market.

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