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# Conn Artists: Handicapping the NHL Playoff MVP Race

Heading into the finals, Chris Osgood, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen were the favorites for Detroit, with Dan Cleary able to make a case with a very strong final series.

The favorites in Pittsburgh were the usual suspects: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury as possible but unlikely third option.

Before the Detroit-Pittsburgh series started, BetED, Betsson, and Stan James were the three sportsbooks offering odds on who would win the Conn Smythe.

The best bet was Betsson offering Chris Osgood at +1100. I am guessing that because Betsson is a Swedish book, they were more concerned with making sure Swedes Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg were available at sub-par odds.

BetED offered value on Zetterberg at +750, and Stan James had the best price on Franzen at +600. In my opinion, both of those were good bets.

The best price on Sidney Crosby was found at Betsson at +185. Malkin was +350 and Fleury was +700 – also at Betsson.

Since the first Conn Smythe Trophy was awarded in 1965, only four players from losing teams have won the award. Only one of those players, Philadelphia’s Reggie Leach in 1976, won it as a forward.

Assuming that the player who wins the Conn Smythe will be from the winning team, the way to figure out if a player is good value is to divide the price available on them to win the trophy by the odds on that team to win the game.

For example: Detroit is -175 to win game 7. Currently, Chris Osgood is +100 to win the Conn Smythe. Is this good value?

Doing the calculations, for this to be good value, if Detroit wins Chris Osgood would have to be -365 to win the trophy – or have more than a 78.5% chance of winning the trophy.

Here are the calculations (in European odds):

2.0/1.57 = 1.27 (European odds)

1.27 European = -365 North American odds

-365 = 78.5%

Here are the current Stanley Cup odds from Betsson – what, if any, bets make the most sense?

• Chris Osgood +100
• Henrik Zetterberg +200
• Evgeni Malkin +150
• Sidney Crosby +250
• Johan Franzen +400
• Marc Andre Fleury +300
• Maxime Talbot +1700
• Rest of Field +1900
• Nicklas Lidstrom +2400
• Sergei Gonchar +2400
• Valeri Filppula +2400
• Marian Hossa +2400
• Jordan Staal +1700

Share your thoughts on who will win the Conn Smythe. I can’t see it being anyone other than Osgood, Zetterberg or Malkin.