NHL Betting Preview (April 11): Devils vs Maple Leafs Odds

Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
16 days ago
For the third time in the last eight games the Devils and Leafs will square off. The Leafs closed as -150 favourites on March 26th in Toronto, and suffered a 6-3 loss. Toronto responded with a convincing 5-2 win Tuesday in New Jersey, and are now heavy -192 favourites for Thursday’s meeting.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Devils vs Maple Leafs Odds

  • Devils Moneyline Odds: +160
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -192
  • Puck Line Odds: Devils +1.5 (-154), Maple Leafs -1.5 (+125)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -110, under -111)
New Jersey Devils
The Devils officially announced Jack Hughes was out for the season Tuesday afternoon, as he is set to receive shoulder surgery, but should make a full recovery for the start of next season. It had been widely speculated that Hughes was dealing with a fairly serious injury of the last month and change, as while he had not been in awful form, he was clearly playing at far from his usual standard.
Hughes’ offensive upside will be sorely missed from a Devils lineup which is struggling mightily at the other end of the ice. As I noted Tuesday, most indicators say that the Devils are actually playing worse under Travis Green, especially on the defensive side of things.
The Devils are now just 7-10-1 under Green, and have allowed a 3.22 goals against per game despite strong goaltending from Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen. In 18 games under Green, the Devils xGA/60 of 3.64 ranks fifth worst in the league.
Aside from the numbers, it has been visibly clear that the Devils are a team which does not manage the puck effectively in the defensive zone right now. That’s not all Travis Green’s fault, as he clearly does not have an overly strong NHL defence core to work with for the time being. Luke Hughes has struggled badly down the stretch, but that’s still not to say there are other bodies deserving of more minutes.
Jake Allen has been confirmed as the Devils starter for this matchup. He has played to a +0.3 GSAx and .898 save % in 32 appearances this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs took care of business Tuesday in New Jersey, as they firmly dominated with 39 shots to the Devils 20 in a much deserved 5-2 win.
Auston Matthews, Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi continued to look like a legitimate top line in that matchup. Given the success of that unit, it appears they will remain together for Game One of the playoffs. That allows Keefe to spread Mitch Marner and William Nylander onto the second and third lines, which offers a much more formidable top nine.
Barring one of the smoothest playoff runs in history (like every season in Toronto, right?) we know most teams will ultimately mix the lines up here and there come the critical moments anyways. Still, it should provide some faith in Leafs observers that their current configuration offers three potent offensive units when depth scoring has always been a huge postseason concern.
The Leafs are 29-13-2 since January 1st, and have allowed only 2.77 goals against per game over that span. Since the trade deadline the Leafs have allowed only 2.71 goals against per game.
Joel Edmundson is set to return to the lineup for this matchup. Keefe stated Edmundson will play on the second pairing alongside Simon Benoit, as Jake McCabe is likely to be given a rest.  Morgan Rielly and Ilya Lyubushkin should make up the top pairing for this matchup.
Nick Robertson also looks likely to stay in the lineup on the third line alongside Nylander and Pontus Holmberg.
Ilya Samsonov has been confirmed as the Leafs starter. He has played to an .895 save % and 3.00 GAA on the season, but has displayed consistently strong form since returning to action on January 5th.
Best Bets for Devils vs Maple Leafs:
It’s interesting to analyze this matchup directly after Tuesday’s contest from a handicapping perspective. The Leafs opened at -128 on Betano in that matchup, and suddenly two days later in Toronto the Leafs are riced at -192. That’s obviously a pretty huge difference, and typically that kind of change would be viewed as a market overreaction by sharp bettors.  Has so much changed in since Tuesday’s lines were made that -192 is now the correct number?
In this instance I still feel going back to the well with the Leafs is still the right play for a combination of reasons. The Devils defensive play has taken considerable step backwards recently, likely due to a combination of personnel, lack of interest, and a lack of answers from Travis Green. Toronto was also playing back-to-back in Tuesday’s matchup.
The Leafs meanwhile have been playing out the stretch in tremendous form, with a 68.5% win-rate, and .700 points percentage over the last 35 games played.
I’m also happy to go back to Auston Matthews to score as another chalky play, which has also moved to a lesser number in this matchup. We continue to see Domi and Bertuzzi do an excellent job of setting up Matthews at even strength, and in time the power play is going to improve with Marner back in the mix.
While the team won’t admit it, getting Matthews to 70 goals is something they will strive to do. For that reason I also want bet Matthews to be the last goalscorer at +590, as I like the chances the Leafs will be leading late, and this time around I’ll bet Keefe gets Matthews on the ice.
Best Bet: 0.5 Units Leafs Moneyline -192, 0.5 Units Matthews to Score -133, 0.10 Units Matthews to Score Last +590

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