Selke Trophy: Odds & Prediction for Best Bet at NHL Awards
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Not too many NHL betting live odds are offered for this year’s awards/trophies and probably for good reason. Nikita Kucherov is a slam dunk to win the Hart Trophy, Brent Burns is probably going to win the Norris Trophy and Barry Trotz probably will win the Jack Adams for coach of the year.
It’s important to note that the voting for the awards is completed before the playoffs and, full disclosure, I’m a voting member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The awards will be handed out Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
There is one trophy that has fairly close odds between the three finalists, however, and that is the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the NHL’s best defensive forward. This award has long been the target of complaints from fans and players as to its failure to name the truly best defensive player and, critics say, as an afterthought by the voters.
NHL Selke Trophy Finalists
The finalists this year are: St. Louis Blues center (and playoff hero) Ryan O’Reilly, Boston’s perennial finalist and four-time winner Patrice Bergeron and Vegas forward Mark Stone.
The guy I picked to win – Mikael Backlund from the Calgary Flames – didn’t even make it as a finalist. I did pick Bergeron at No. 2 and O’Reilly at No. 3. There are hundreds of voters in this thing, so don’t run off to place your bets based on my one ballot.
O’Reilly is the official favorite to win, at -143 at 888Sport. Did the oddsmakers know that the voting was done before the playoffs and not after? I’m not at all surprised that O’Reilly is a finalist, but I’m a bit surprised he’s at -143 for this while Stone is +250 and Bergeron is +380. Keep in mind, I have not canvassed any other voters as to who they picked.
Best Bet to win Selke Trophy
I think Bergeron is going to win for a record-breaking fifth time. So many voters tend to vote for previous winners with the Selke, and the fact that Bergeron was again a finalist has me believing he’ll be the most popular guy again. Now, if the voting had been done after the playoffs, O’Reilly would win in a landslide.
But Bergeron’s regular-season defensive stats – and defensive stats are where arguments among hockey purists are formed – were slightly better than O’Reilly’s (plus-23 to plus-22, 57 percent Corsi at even strength for Bergeron, 53.6 for O’Reilly).
Therefore, hockey bettors looking for a good bargain here would do well to place that bet on Bergeron at +380, because my hunch – and again, I don’t know how others voted and haven’t asked – is that Bergeron is going to win.