• Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby are atop the NHL MVP odds leaderboard, but there are four sleepers to keep an eye on that could pay off in the long run.
By Michael Blinn
August 18, 2018

Taylor Hall wrapped up his 2017-18 campaign by becoming the first player in Devils franchise history to bring home MVP honors. The winger posted career-highs across the board (39-54-93) in just 76 games, leading New Jersey to its first postseason berth in six seasons.

While Hall won the Hart Trophy, he was part of a large class of players who could have also laid claim to the honor—a number of whom are already among the favorites to win MVP for 2018-19, as per Bovada.

Leading the way is 2016-17 MVP and Oilers super-forward Connor McDavid at 10/3, with Penguins center Sidney Crosby—a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy—at 13/2. Rounding out the five biggest favorites, all at 10/1, are Maple Leafs forwards Auston Matthews and John Tavares, and reigning playoff MVP and new dad Alexander Ovechkin. Hall checks in at a four-way tie for the sixth-best odds at 15/1.

Going further down the list, however, reveals a couple of potential hidden picks that could pay off big:

Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche (15/1)

MacKinnon’s 39-goal, 97-point outing in 2017-18 placed him among the league leaders in goals, assists and points while carrying the Avs to the postseason. He led the NHL in points/60 and established himself as an elite player, finishing as a finalist for the Hart and Ted Lindsay Award. It’s no mistake that he’s this high up on the list for this coming season, and could probably be even a bit higher.

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Steven Stamkos, Lightning (25/1)

The Bolts forward became something of a playmaker last season, finding success with fellow MVP candidate Nikita Kucherov. After a couple of seasons cut short by injury, Stamkos proved he’s still one of the top NHL forwards, and the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner still has plenty of 50-goal potential. On a Lightning team expected to compete for the Stanley Cup, Stamkos should once again be at the forefront of the MVP discussion. 

Jack Eichel, Sabres (33/1)

Eichel has been teetering on point-per-game player status for the past two seasons, despite injuries. The Sabres saw enough to lock up the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft with an eight-year, $80 million contract extension that kicks in this season. On a rebuilt team that includes plenty of young talent around him, Eichel is ready to break out in a big way in Buffalo.

Tyler Seguin, Stars (50/1)

Not only is Dallas’s top-line center coming off a career-best 40-goal season in 2017-18, but Seguin is also a rising free agent who could really make a statement this season. He developed into a two-way player under Ken Hitchcock, though Seguin will get a taste of new coach Jim Montgomery’s up-tempo, puck possession game that brought big offensive numbers to the University of Denver program. If the All-Star forward sticks on a line with Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, fellow preseason MVP candidates as well, the sky is the limit.

Here is Bovada’s full list of MVP odds:

Connor McDavid: 10/3 
Sidney Crosby: 13/2 
Auston Matthews: 10/1 
Alexander Ovechkin: 10/1 
John Tavares: 10/1 
Taylor Hall: 15/1 
Nikita Kucherov: 15/1 
Nathan MacKinnon: 15/1 
Mark Scheifele: 15/1 

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Anze Kopitar: 18/1 
Evgeni Malkin: 18/1 
Patrick Kane: 20/1 
Claude Giroux: 25/1 
Brad Marchand: 25/1 
Steven Stamkos: 25/1 
Vladimir Tarasenko: 25/1 
Jack Eichel: 33/1 
Jamie Benn: 40/1 
Patrik Laine: 40/1 
Nicklas Backstrom: 50/1 
Filip Forsberg: 50/1 
Johnny Gaudreau: 50/1 
Ilya Kovalchuk: 50/1 
Evgeny Kuznetsov: 50/1 
Artemi Panarin: 50/1 
Tyler Seguin: 50/1 
Blake Wheeler: 50/1 
Logan Couture: 66/1 
Phil Kessel: 75/1 
Joe Pavelski: 75/1 
Aleksander Barkov: 100/1 
Jonathan Marchessault: 100/1 
David Pastrnak: 100/1 
Alexander Radulov: 100/1

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