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Morning Coffee: Hart Trophy officially a four-man race

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Auston Matthews - The Canadian Press

Afternoon hockey on a weekday feels like it never disappoints. 

Maybe it’s because all these players are creatures of habit, and when those habits break, weird stuff happens. 

But Monday was a wild afternoon on the ice. 

I spent my day at the office with my head in the sand searching for who is going to win in Mexico this week on the PGA Tour. 

When I left the office, the Vancouver Canucks had a 5-3 lead, by the time I got home I had missed a wild comeback. 


Five straight goals by Minnesota to start the third, and a period that saw nine total goals flipped the script to a three-goal win for the Wild. At one point during the game, the Wild could be found as high as +1700 to win on FanDuel. 

Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers erased a two-goal third period deficit in Arizona and led the game less than seven minutes into the final frame thanks to an offensive explosion of their own.  

If that wasn’t enough, the Calgary Flames scored five unanswered goals against Winnipeg to hand the Jets a 6-3 loss. 

And the Ottawa Senators walked into Amalie Arena and doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 as underdogs. 

But only one player’s performance shook up the Hart Trophy market. 

Let’s talk about Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

By the way, if you’re wondering where Domenic Padula, the usual author of this column, is. Have no fear. Our fearless leader has taken a much-deserved vacation and will be back next week. 

For the time being, he’s ordered a few pizzas, given me a list of contacts in case of an emergency and told me not to burn the house down. 

This is the Morning Coffee for Monday, Feb. 20.

Matthews’ Hart Odds on the move

Just yesterday, I highlighted the run Auston Matthews has been on lately. With six goals in his previous two games, I pointed out he was +2400 to add another three Monday afternoon against the St. Louis Blues, but I should’ve been looking at his Hart odds. 

Matthews didn’t record a hat trick Monday night, but he found the back of the net again, adding an assist in the process. 

Just four days ago Matthews was +1400 to win the Hart Trophy. But that was then, and this is now.

The American has 10 points in his last three games. And while he is already a heavy favourite to win the Rocket Richard at -850, FanDuel made a big adjustment to his Hart Trophy odds after another multipoint performance last night. 

Matthews entered the game at +700to win the Hart on FanDuel. That number is now down to +440.


While Matthews remains the fourth choice to win the award behind Nathan MacKinnon (+160), Nikita Kucherov (+270) and Connor McDavid (+340), history and one market on FanDuel point to the Leafs’ superstar.  

Under League Specials, FanDuel has Matthews listed at -390 to score 65 or more goals this season. 

Since the year 2000, only two players have scored 64 goals in a season. 

Alex Ovechkin did it in 2007-08 when he scored 65, and Connor McDavid when he had 64 goals in 2022-23. Both players won the Hart that season. 

The -390 number gives Matthews implied odds of 79.59 per cent to reach the 65-goal mark. 

They also have him at +170 (37.04 per cent) to score 70 and +1200 (7.69 per cent) to score 75 goals. 

Since Monday morning, Matthews has received 86 per cent of all Hart bets, and has the most bets on him in this market (two times more than the next two most backed players in MacKinnon and Jack Hughes).

Finau favourite to repeat in Mexico 

The PGA Tour heads to Vidanta Vallarta for the Mexico Open this week. 

It’s just the third time the Mexico Open will host a full PGA Tour event in the 80-year history of the competition after it became an official Tour event in 2022. 

The winners at this event have been superstars, with Jon Rahm winning in 2022 with a score of 17-under, one better than a group of Americans that included Tony Finau. But it was Finau in 2023 that caught fire, winning the event at 24-under par, one shot better than Rahm. 

Finau returns this week to defend in a field that isn’t exactly one to write home about. 

The 34-year-old is the favourite to repeat this week at +750 odds, and no other player in the event has odds of 15-1 or shorter. 

Another notable name near the top of the oddsboard is Nicolai Hojgaard at 16-1, who has looked solid in his limited time on tour since helping Team Europe to a beatdown of Team USA in the 2023 Ryder Cup. 

The first Canadian on the list is Taylor Pendrith at +2500. 

Pendrith is coming off a disappointing year but has found some good form lately with four finishes inside the top 10 in his last seven starts. 

The Richmond Hill, Ont native is +300 to add another top 10 to his 2024 resume. 

Here is a list of every player in the field who is gaining at least one stroke to the field tee to green over their most recent 24 measured rounds (PGA Tour and DP World Tour rounds only):

Tony Finau         1.58     (+750)

Nicolai Hojgaard     1.43     (+1600)

Thorbjorn Olesen     1.41     (+2800)

Keith Mitchell         1.37     (+2800)

Aaron Rai         1.22    (+5000)   

Doug Ghim        1.18     (+5000)

Taylor Pendrith    1.00    (+2500)