Stanley Cup Final Odds: Conn Smythe Is Play If You Still Believe In Panthers

The Golden Knights are in control, but ...


Jun 8, 2023

It took all but two games in the Stanley Cup Final for the Conn Smythe Trophy odds to get a makeover.

Bookmakers lined Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Matthew Tkachuk as the favorites heading into the Final, only to quickly replace them with Vegas Golden Knights surging star Jonathan Marchessault and goalie Adin Hill.

The Conn Smythe is awarded to the player deemed the most valuable to his team in the postseason. The trophy often goes to a player on the winning team, but that doesn’t have to be the case, as it’s supposed to be an award for the entirety of the playoffs. Still, for someone who has a ticket on the Panthers to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, I’m feeling a little bit uneasy.

Voters would need to have a short memory after the last two games. Following a dominant start to the postseason, Bobrovsky has looked like a shell of himself. The Florida netminder went 11-2 with a 2.21 goals against average and a .935 save percentage to start the postseason. In the Cup Final, he’s 0-2 with a 5.22 GAA behind a paltry .826 save percentage.

On the flip side, Hill is a puck magnet in net, while Marchessault has absolutely let it loose. Hill put the issue of the “Vegas goalie carousel” to rest after going 8-2 with a 2.09 GAA and .938 save percentage in his last 10 games. After a quiet regular season, Marchessault exploded with 17 points in his last 10 games. The right winger’s 21 postseason points are the second-most of anyone remaining, trailing just Jack Eichel and Tkachuk by one. Marchessault logged four combined points in the first two games in the Final, and if he continues to look anything like his current form, he should run away with this award.

The problem with betting Marchessault to win the Conn Smythe, though, is you’re now getting the worst of the number on the undrafted Vegas stud. His odds went from as long as 7-1 to now as low as -120. Chasing numbers isn’t great for long-term profitability.

Despite the respect Vegas is seeing from books, remember that the end result is still uncertain. In case you forgot, the Panthers came back from being down 3-1 and knocked a historic Boston Bruins team out of the playoffs in the first round. A bounce-back isn’t crazy to believe here. If you have any faith they do so, now would be the time to sprinkle a bet on Bobrovsky at 13-1 to win the postseason MVP.

If Florida does get the job done and wins the Cup, Bobrovsky returning to form will be a big reason why. If the award does go to Panthers’ puck-stopper, you’re getting a better payout betting him to win the award versus the Panthers to win it all. Florida is 4-1 to win it all after dropping Games 1 and 2. Of course, Tkachuk at 13-1 is an enticing price too, considering what he has done for this offense. And if you can’t decide between the two, why not split a bet on both? You’ll still come out with a profit if either of them hit.

In case you were wondering: There have only been five players ever to win the Conn Smythe without winning the Cup and 17 goalies have won the award out of the 47 players awarded. With how this game script is going and could go though, both goalies have the potential of making a very strong case.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images

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