The Toronto Maple Leafs’ stroll to the regular-season finish line has surely played into betting lines for the series opener, which makes them a potential value pick since the Boston Bruins have been far from shipshape themselves lately.
The Maple Leafs are the +125 away underdog (bet $100 to win $125) on the NHL betting lines for Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, while the Bruins are a -145 home favorite (bet $145 to win $100) with a 6.0-goal total in Game 1 of the teams’ Atlantic Division playoff betting matchup.
Toronto went only 5-10 over its final 15 regular-season games, but Boston was just 8-7 over the same span. Interestingly, Toronto is 4-3 this season as a road underdog of +115 to +135 on the moneyline. Boston is 11-2 this season as a moneyline favourite at home of -130 to -160.
The season series skewed black and gold, as the Bruins went 3-1 with the average total being 6.5. But the teams have not played since January 12, when Boston posted a 3-2 road win against the Maple Leafs, despite goals from Andreas Johnsson and Mitch Marner.
As the team starting without home-ice advantage, Toronto will have to win at least one away game to capture the series. Away teams are 3-2 so far in the playoffs. The Bruins are riding some OVER trends that suggest there could be some room for the Maple Leafs to use their speed and playmaking ability. The total has gone OVER in seven of Boston’s last nine games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, and it has also gone OVER in five of the Bruins’ last seven games as a moneyline favourite at home of -130 to -160. That could work in favour of the Leafs, who are probably deeper up front with the likes of Marner, John Tavares and Auston Matthews populating their first two lines.
It is entirely possible, of course, that the playoff pressure will bring out the best versions of the goalies, the Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen and the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask. But both netminders struggled down the stretch. From March 1 to the end of the regular season, Andersen was 6-3-4 with a 3.40 goals-against average and .898 save percentage. Rask, over the same span, was 6-5-0 with a 2.89 GAA and .881 save percentage.
There’s also a mirror image on special teams, with both teams’ power plays outperforming their respective penalty killing units. The Leafs have cashed in on 35.0 percent of their power plays over their last 10 games, while the penalty kill has defended only 71.4 percent of their disadvantages. Over their last 10 games, the Bruins have a 28.6 percent power play and a 65.0 percent penalty kill.
The best-of-seven series resumes in Boston on Saturday, before Toronto hosts games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.