We're on the cusp of the brand-new NHL season starting up on October 7. And right now, some of the best betting opportunities are on 2023 NHL player props for different award winners. If you keep reading, we'll give you expert betting advice on three of those props — all free of cost!
2023 Hart Trophy Winner Bet
Let's begin with the league's MVP award, named the Hart Trophy in honor of Dr. David Hart, who donated the original trophy to the league back in 1923 — almost 100 years ago exactly. The next player to win the Hart Trophy will be the 99th winner of the award and it's a fierce competition field. Here's who the most popular NHL betting sites are earmarking as the favorites to win the MVP:
Absolutely no one should be surprised Connor McDavid is the odds-on favorite to take the Hart Trophy — not after the incredible postseason run he had last season. The playmaker did it all for Edmonton, including scoring 33 points in 16 games, before his team was eliminated by the eventual champions, Colorado. Plus, McDavid has already won the Hart Trophy twice previously (2017 and 2021) so a hat trick win is completely within reason.
Interestingly enough, the Oilers have a second Hart Trophy candidate playing alongside McDavid in Leon Draisaitl. Conventional wisdom would say both players would take away from each other's scoring opportunities, but that's proven to be far from the case. Draisaitl won the 2020 Hart Trophy (with McDavid in the lineup next to him), and both of McDavid's title-winning seasons were also complemented by Draisaitl. If anything, the presence of both opens up scoring chances since opponents can't "double down" on defending just one of them.
But neither of the Oilers stars will be our Hart Trophy pick. That's because we're predicting that the reigning MVP Auston Matthews will go back to back. Mathews is surely a better finisher than the two aforementioned players, hence his 60-goal season a year ago — the first time a player has hit at least 60 into the net since 2008. The 2020-21 season before, Mathews also led the league in goals with 41.
But goal-scoring is only one side of Mathews' greatness for Toronto. He's also highly underrated on the defensive end. This two-way ability makes him incredibly rare, and why we're choosing Mathews as our betting pick. He'll be the first back-to-back Hart Trophy winner since Alexander Ovechkin did it in 2009.
2023 Vezina Trophy Winner Bet
The Vezina Trophy winner goes to the league's best goaltender. What immediately stands out is that the betting field for the Vezina is more top-heavy than the previous Hart Trophy as oddsmakers really see two goaltenders as the clear favorites in this category. Here are where the odds currently stand:
Igor Shesterkin is the defending trophy winner after putting together an absolutely ridiculous 2021-22 campaign. Shesterkin went 36-13-4 with six shutouts for the Rangers. Statistically, he was even better with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. He also led the league in even strength save percentage (.934) and goals saved above average (26.38). These heroics propelled New York to the conference championship series.
We have all the confidence in the world in Shesterkin, but less so in his supporting cast. The Rangers' offense was absolutely dreadful a season ago — which is why Shesterkin's efforts shined so much. New York made slight improvements, but not enough in our book. As good as Shesterkin is, it's a tall order to expect the goaltender to put the team on his back a second consecutive season.
Instead, our money is going on Frederik Andersen. Look, the Carolina goaltender was having a Vezina-caliber campaign a season ago before a knee injury wrecked his season (he missed the final six regular-season games plus the entire postseason). Before that, he was averaging 2.07 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage — numbers that were right in line with Shesterkin.
But here's what Anderson has that Shesterkin doesn't: a high-powered lineup around him. The Canes made splashy moves all offseason, hinting that they are in win-now mode. Being an elite goaltender on a Stanley Cup-contending team certainly boosts Anderson's award chances big time.
2023 Norris Trophy Winner Bet
Of the three awards we've covered, the Norris Trophy betting lines are most lopsided in one direction. The hardware for the league's best defender is Avalanche's Cole Makaar to lose, per the online sportsbooks:
There's no need to mince words here, Makaar is the go-to bet to make for Norris Trophy. Not only did he take home this award a year ago, but he also collected the Conn Smythe Trophy upon winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado. Most of that title-winning team is back this season, which should give Makaar ample opportunity to dial up the scoring. And make no mistake about it, the Avalanche deploy the defenseman in its scoring attack plenty and often. Nicklas Lidstrom in 2008 is the last player to win two Norris Trophies in a row, but our money says Makaar ends that streak.
How To Bet On 2023 NHL Player Props?
There are several other NHL player props bets (e.g. Rocket Richard Trophy) to bet with the regular season around the corner. To lock in your prop wagers at industry-leading prices, head to one of the betting sites listed in the underneath table. These sites have it all — from a litany of NHL odds to big-money sign-up bonuses to numerous deposit methods. Hit one of the "play now" buttons underneath to get started!