NHL odds: Sidney Crosby leads early for Hart Trophy

Jamie Sabau

Sidney Crosby probably should have won the NHL MVP award last year, but injuries kept his stats low. He is a clear betting favorite this year in preseason hockey odds.

Sidney Crosby compiled a remarkable 56 points in 36 regular season games last season with 15 goals and 41 assists, and may have ended up running away with the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) if he hadn't missed a quarter of the lockout-shortened season due to injury.

Now fully healed from that injury and the concussion that kept him out of action a year ago, Sid the Kid is the clear favorite to win the NHL MVP award at 3/1 in preseason NHL betting lines for the 2013-2014 season.

Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin is also a favorite at 12/1, and won the award back in 2011-12 while carrying the team in Crosby's absence. The incredible duo lead the NHL's most dangerous offense, and their Pittsburgh Penguins are going off at 15/2 to win the Stanley Cup.

Alexander Ovechkin ended up winning the Hart Trophy last year, his third in six years. After getting off to a slow start, Ovechkin surged at the end of the season while scoring at an unbelievable rate, finishing with an NHL-best 32 goals and 24 assists while leading his Washington Capitals (25/1 to win the Stanley Cup) into the playoffs.

Other prolific goal scorers that are expected to be in the running for league MVP are Steven Stamkos (8/1), John Tavares (12/1), and Claude Giroux (16/1)

Early favorites to win the Vezina trophy for the NHL's best goaltender are Henrik Lundqvist (4/1), Jonathan Quick (5/1), and Tuukka Rask (7/1). After struggling through the regular season, Quick returned to sensational form in the playoffs with a 1.86 GAA and a .934 save %. His Los Angeles Kings are going off at 12/1 to win the Stanley Cup.

Tuukka Rask finished with the best save percentage of the playoffs at .940, completely shutting down the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins. He will look to repeat that success as the Boston Bruins (10/1 to win the Stanley Cup) look for their third trip to the Stanley Cup final in four years.

Of course, the path to the Stanley Cup final likely goes through the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, who are a favorite to repeat at 6/1.

Not favored to win many individual trophies because they are so deep up and down their roster, Chicago was virtually unstoppable in 2013; and just about everyone is back to give it another shot.

Season point totals and other NHL props dot the hockey odds landscape at this time of year and there is value to be found.

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