Some call him a con man, but more will be calling Sidney Crosby a Conn man in about six weeks when he wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL playoffs MVP.
He hasn't played in a month and hasn't even been cleared to play, but Crosby is the favorite on most Stanley Cup MVP odds lists.
The Penguins captain, coming off a broken jaw that cost him the scoring title and probably a Hart Trophy, is 10-1, according to OddsShark.com.
"The Penguins were upset last year, but they really loaded up this year and we don't see any team in the East that can touch them over a seven-game series," he said. "And Crosby was playing so well, he seemed so focused and so determined to make up for lost time."
Crosby was scheduled for a doctor appointment late Tuesday. He may be cleared to play in Game 1 against the New York Islanders, which could potentially force his odds lower.
Indeed, with lockouts and concussions and broken jaws, the BPITW (best player in the world) has missed so much time that he needs to push harder to make his mark on history. That's good news for Penguins fans who see their team comfortably atop the Stanley Cup odds menu as the post-season begins.
Goalies have won the past two Conn Smythe awards and a pair of young superstars - both past MVP winners - are near the top of this betting list.
Jonathan Toews of Chicago is 16-1, tied with teammate Patrick Kane just ahead of Evgeni Malkin at 20-1. If a goalie is primed to win it again (as Jonathan Quick and Tim Thomas have done the past two seasons), the favorites are logically Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh and Corey Crawford in Chicago.
Each is 15-1 as the main keepers for the league's best teams.
The only other previous Conn Smythe winners in action this week are Henrik Zetterberg (2008 winner) and Brad Richards (2004 winner). Both are 65-1 longshots.
For hockey poolies and bettors who feel that history will repeat itself in 2013, a wager on Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom might be a good idea. The Wild is the No. 8 seed in the West and face a daunting challenge against Chicago, but that's what everyone said last year when the Kings faced the Canucks.
Just like the Kings a year ago, Minnesota needed to win its final game just to make the playoffs.
Jonathan Quick was dynamite and led the Kings to the Cup. If the No. 8 seed in the West wins again and if that team's goalie wins the Conn Smythe, its a 35-1 payoff on Backstrom.
Hab fans who feel their team can someone turn it around after a late-season swoon can get Carey Price at 25-1. Leaf fans who believe James Reimer can lead Toronto to the championship can get him at 45-1 today.
See the full list of the NHL playoff props and betting lines on every game every day.