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Morning Coffee: A FanDuel Best Bet for MacKinnon versus Bedard


Memories are funny things. I’ve always been fascinated by how they can be used to craft narratives.

Selective memory – humanity’s greatest illusion.

As we head into the final stretch of the 2023-24 NHL season, my morning coffee is spent wondering how this year will be remembered when it’s all said and done.

Ultimately, the Stanley Cup champion will play an integral role in that story, with the final chapter to be determined.

In the meantime, this chapter is all about the league’s biggest superstars raising the bar with elite performances.

Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews and Nikita Kucherov have set the standard so high this season that there is now a clear distinction between that big four and the rest of the league when it comes to the Hart Trophy conversation.

McDavid, MacKinnon, Matthews and Kucherov could all be found at shorter than 4-to-1 odds to win the Hart at FanDuel this morning.

Beyond that elite unit, the five stars that round out the remaining top nine choices in the Hart Trophy market are all 50-to-1 to win the award.

Tonight, we turn the page with a fascinating showdown between one of the NHL’s best and a rising star who has the potential to eventually join the discussion among the league’s top superstars.

It’s only fitting that we celebrate the occasion with the return of the FanDuel Best Bets for the NHL.

This is the Morning Coffee for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024.

A FanDuel Best Bet for MacKinnon versus Bedard

MacKinnon is the second choice to win the Hart Trophy at +210 at FanDuel. Matthews is the only superstar with shorter odds.

Tonight, MacKinnon will go head-to-head with the obvious Calder Trophy favourite in Connor Bedard in a matchup of first-overall picks who both played in the NHL at 18-years-old.

While MacKinnon has spent 11 NHL seasons honing his craft and developing into one of the league’s most entertaining players to watch, it’s interesting to note that Bedard has produced at a slightly higher level than MacKinnon did through his first 45 NHL games.

MacKinnon registered 15 goals and 29 points in his first 45 games as a rookie back in 2013-14.

Bedard has already recorded 17 goals and 40 points through the first 45 games of his rookie season.

The Chicago Blackhawks are the favourite to finish with the NHL’s worst regular season record at -165 odds at FanDuel this morning.

The fact that Bedard has produced at such a high level as an 18-year-old is that much more impressive when you consider that the Blackhawks are expected to finish with the fewest points in the NHL.

Additionally, a last-place finish would give Chicago the highest odds to win the 2024 NHL Draft lottery at 18.5 per cent, and the potential to add another top pick to their core.

The goal for Bedard and the Blackhawks will be to get to where MacKinnon and the Avalanche are right now as one of the top choices to win it the Stanley Cup.

Colorado is +850 to win it all at FanDuel this morning. Only the Edmonton Oilers (+800) have shorter odds.

MacKinnon is currently on pace for 133 points this season, which would rank third in the NHL behind Kucherov (139) and McDavid (134).

A two-time Hart Trophy runner-up, MacKinnon is one of seven players in NHL history with multiple runner-up finishes without winning the award.

What will it take for MacKinnon to win the Hart this year?

With Matthews, McDavid and Kucherov all performing at an elite level, MacKinnon might have to improve his statistical production the rest of the way while leading the Avalanche to one of the best records in the NHL.

The fact that MacKinnon’s remarkable production isn’t enough to be the Hart Trophy favourite is a testament to the dominance of the league’s biggest superstars.

We still have a couple of chapters remaining in the story of the 2023-24 NHL season, but the play of MacKinnon, Matthews, McDavid and Kucherov will make this chapter tough to beat when it comes to how this season is ultimately remembered.

As for a FanDuel Best Bet, I’m locking in a Same Game Parlay with MacKinnon to register 4 or more shots on goal and Colorado -1.5 at +124 odds at FanDuel.

MacKinnon has averaged 4.8 shots on goal this season – the second-best mark in the NHL behind David Pastrnak.

That number jumps all the way to 5.82 shots on goal over the past 30 days – behind only Jack Hughes.

The Avalanche are 1-4-2 on the road this month, so I’m confident that Jared Bednar will have his team locked in as they continue to chase the Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars for the best record in the Central Division.

Coming off a 5-1 win over Dallas on Tuesday in which he fired six shots on goal, MacKinnon might have a little added motivation as he goes head-to-head with Bedard.

Give me MacKinnon 4 or more shots on goal and Colorado -1.5 on a Same Game Parlay at +124 as my FanDuel Best Bet for Thursday’s NHL action.