What the odds say: How will Matthews’ 2023-24 season unfold?

What the odds say: How will Matthews' 2023-24 season unfold?

Auston Matthews put pen to paper on a monster extension with the Maple Leafs, signing a four-year deal worth a league-high $13.25 million per season.

With a contract no longer looming over Matthews’ head, he’ll head into the 2023-24 campaign healthy, focused, and free of distractions.

What may Matthews’ season look like? Let’s look at some major betting markets to get a better indication.

“Rocket” Richard

Player
Odds

Connor McDavid
+200

Auston Matthews
+600

Leon Draisaitl
+800

David Pastrnak
+850

Nathan MacKinnon
+1000

Jack Hughes
+1400

Matthew Tkachuk
+1400

Mikko Rantanen
+1600

Jason Robertson
+2000

Tage Thompson
+2000

Note: listed players 20:1 or shorter.

McDavid is understandably favored for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy after a 64-goal campaign in which he took his finishing – and shot volume – to a new level. But Matthews is tucked in behind him, and the price gap is probably a little steep.

Matthews’ 299 goals in 481 games since starting his career in 2016-17 is a league high. He’s also by far the best chance generator, piling up 145 more than the next closest player (McDavid) over the past three seasons.

His goal outputs dried up a bit last season, but there were strong rumblings Matthews fought through an injury for the bulk of the campaign. There seemed to be something to that, as Matthews’ shooting percentage was 5% lower than in 2021-22 and 6.3% lower than in 2020-21.

Getting Matthews the puck in good shooting spots is priority No. 1 at even strength and on the power play. Unlike McDavid, who has Leon Draisaitl in the mix, Matthews is the go-to scorer for his team, and there’s nobody in the same realm. A fully healthy Matthews attached to a +600 price tag is appealing since he should be firmly in the mix.

Hart Trophy

Player
Odds

Connor McDavid
+115

Nathan MacKinnon
+900

Leon Draisaitl
+1000

Auston Matthews
+1200

Matthew Tkachuk
+1200

David Pastrnak
+1600

Kirill Kaprizov
+1800

Jack Hughes
+2000

Nikita Kucherov
+2000

Note: listed players 20:1 or shorter.

Matthews’ 85-point ‘down’ season didn’t put off the market in the slightest. He carries the fourth shortest odds to bring home the NHL’s most prestigious individual award, and for good reason.

Despite dealing with an injury and shooting significantly below expectation, Matthews paced last season at a 97-point clip over a full 82 games. Had he matched his 2021-22 finishing rate, we’d be talking about someone with 56 goals in 74 contests rather than 40 in 74. That’s a 62-goal pace.

The Maple Leafs made plenty of changes around their core, but they should remain one of the better teams during the regular season. Adding Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and John Klingberg – and the playmaking/passing ability those three bring – can’t hurt a sniper like Matthews.

He should be in the hunt for the Hart if he can get back in the 55-plus goal range and produce a boatload of points on a very strong team.

Season totals

Prop
Odds

O/U 51.5 goals
-110/110

50+ goals
-140

60+ goals
+650

Matthews sits at -140 to score 50 goals, and I see value in backing him. Despite last season’s shooting dip, the superstar center has averaged 57 goals per 82 games played over the past four seasons. That’s a long track record of top-tier production.

He’s 25 years old, so Matthews theoretically finds himself in the prime of his career. There’s no reason to expect last season’s shooting struggles to be the start of a decline.

It all comes down to health with Matthews. If we exclude his rookie campaign, last year’s 74 contests played are the most we’ve seen from him in a season. With a handful of games being trimmed off his total each year, it makes it that much more imperative Matthews carries extreme efficiency.

I believe anything over 70 games will make 50 goals a very reasonable proposition, but 60-plus is difficult without playing a full schedule.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.


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