NHL Betting Preview (April 16): Maple Leafs vs Panthers Odds

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
13 days ago
There are some interesting storylines surrounding Game 81 of the Leafs season, despite the fact that they are officially locked into finishing third in the Atlantic division. Auston Matthews enters this game with 69 goals and has the opportunity to become the first 70-goal scorer of the post-lockout era.
The Panthers meanwhile could still win the division tonight. If they are to win this game in any fashion, coupled with a Bruins loss in any fashion Florida would win the division, which would then make Toronto’s first-round opponent Boston.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Panthers Odds

  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -128
  • Panthers Moneyline Odds: +107
  • Puck Line Odds: Maple Leafs +1.5 (-185), Panthers -1.5 (+155)
  • Game Total: 6 goals (over -120, under +100)
Toronto Maple Leafs
By no means should we expect Sheldon Keefe’s side to lay down in tonight’s matchup, but any oddsmaker’s power rankings would tell you that the Leafs might be helping their chances to lose and potentially play Boston. With that said, the Bruins are still an elite team, and obviously, Leafs fans have every reason to be afraid of them in the postseason.
Max Domi will be out of the lineup for this matchup, which means that Mitch Marner is going to bump back up onto the top line based on yesterday’s practice.
It appears Joel Edmundson is probable to return to the lineup and skate on the third defensive pairing alongside Timothy Liljegren. Morgan Rielly practiced on the top pairing with Ilya Lyubushkin, and Simon Benoit and Jake McCabe compiled the second pairing. It seems probable that this is the way the Leafs will take the ice in Game One this weekend.
If Matthews doesn’t score 70 goals tonight, will he be in the lineup for tomorrow’s game? The right decision would be to rest him, and ultimately the decision should already be made because it should not come down to whether or not he needs to score a 70th goal or not.
Joseph Woll is confirmed as the starter in this matchup. He has played to a +6.7 GSAx and .907 save % across 24 appearances this season.
Florida Panthers
The Panthers will look to close up a dominant regular season with a win in Game 82 on home ice. The Panthers have played to a record of 25-13-2 at Amerant Bank Arena, where they will host either the Leafs or Lightning for a playoff sometime this weekend.
Paul Maurice’s crew offered some slightly lesser play down the stretch, but nothing that should change a viewpoint towards their status as a true cup contender. They feature excellent top two defensive pairings and three offensive units which can produce offence at better than league average rates. They do a great job of using providing an edge with physical play and will make any playoff series into a dogfight.
The Panthers lineup looks like it will be far more complete for this game than once expected, as Aaron Ekblad and Oliver Ekman Larsson look to be the only regulars missing from the lineup.
Backup Anthony Stolarz is confirmed as the Panthers starting goaltender. He has played to a +18.9 GSAx and .925 save % across 25 appearances. Among goaltenders to have played 20 or more games this season, Stolarz’s goals saved above expected per 60 rating of 0.784 ranks first in the NHL.
Best Bets for Maple Leafs vs Panthers:
This is an interesting game from a handicapping perspective, as you could argue that it is in the Leafs’ best interest to lose with Florida power-ranked above Boston by all oddsmakers. By no means am I expecting the Leafs not to give it their all though, but still, it is an interesting thought.
With that said the sides look accurate on the game to me with the Panthers currently -160 favourites.
The angle that I see value targeting is backing Auston Matthews to score his 70th goal at -110. Sure, the Leafs should be focused on playing the right way in their penultimate regular season matchup. We still know that trying to get Matthews 70 is a narrative that every player in the locker room is fully aware of though, and so much so that I do believe it holds betting value.
Since the Leafs are underdogs with a low implied team total, the price to back Matthews to score is far better than it has been lately (was -150 versus Detroit on Bet365 Saturday). So yes, it’s a tougher matchup than average versus an elite Florida side, but the price accounts for that.
Another interesting note is that you can bet Matthews not to score 70 on bet365 (under 69.5 on player regular season goals screen). The reason that I find that interesting is because there should in theory be a strong possibility that Matthews rests in tomorrow’s back-to-back game. If Matthews were to rest tomorrow’s game +260 is a number that holds a ton of value on him not to score 70, because the prop is obviously reflecting the price of him garnering one goal over a two-game span.
Best Bets: Auston Matthews to score at Anytime -110

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