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NHL Betting Preview (April 24): Bruins vs Maple Leafs Game 3 Odds

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Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
As the series heads to Toronto for a pivotal Game 3, oddsmakers have adjusted their numbers significantly. The Leafs closed at +125 in Game 2, and due to the combination of home ice advantage, a quality effort in Game 2, and the potential return of William Nylander, they are now -115 favourites.
After splitting two games in Boston the Leafs are now 9-6 in road playoff games under Sheldon Keefe. They haven’t been nearly effective on home ice though, which has helped cause their recent playoff failures.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Bruins Odds

  • Bruins Moneyline Odds: -105
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -115
  • Puck Line Odds: Bruins +1.5 (-270), Maple Leafs -1.5 (+220)
  • Game Total: 6 goals (over +100, under -120)
Boston Bruins
While the Leafs surely don’t feel that they were at their sharpest in Game 1, the same could be said regarding Boston’s Game 2 performance. Jim Montgomery noted his team displayed a lack of urgency after Game 2, as he looks to draw a response ahead of a series swinging Game 3.
Now the question becomes how much of Game 2’s result was truly caused by a lack of urgency from Boston, versus it simply not being a side which is not truly dominant at even strength owning less of the play.
It seems likely that the Leafs are going to garner more of the overall chances in this series, but that Toronto is more likely to offer true defensive collapses. And, when the Bruins break down they will be supported by two of the very best goaltenders in the game, while it is more of a guessing game what the Leafs will get from Samsonov.
It was realistic to think that the Leafs could own more of the play at even strength based on the final two months of the season, and that was the case altogether in the games in Boston. Per EvolvingHockey’s model, the Bruins owned just 41.31% of the expected goal share at even strength.
The Bruins have been clinical on the powerplay though, and have definitely taxed the Leafs for their efforts to bring a physical edge by netting three powerplay goals thus far.
What Brad Marchand is saying here is fairly accurate, and he probably truly believes it to an extent. With that said, I think there’s some gamesmanship in him actually going out his way to note this factor given the way the Bruins have punished the Leafs with the man advantage.
Andrew Peeke was injured in Game 2, which forced the Bruins into a five man rotation for the rest of the night. It will likely be Mason Lohrei filling in to Peeke’s role, although Parker Wotherspoon is also a possibility.
At times this season Lohrei has been downright excellent, and at his best I would argue he is actually simply a superior player to Peeke to begin with. Look for Lohrei to open some eyes if he cracks the lineup, and if you’re a Leafs fan, hope for Wotherspoon.
We should expect the Bruins to go back to Jeremy Swayman in this matchup. By no means was Linus Ullmark at all bad in Game 2, but it would seem to be the more natural move after Swayman’s performance in Game 1, and Montgomery’s commitment to a rotating system.
The bigger question will likely be who gets the start in Game 4.
Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander appears to be nearing a return to the lineup, but it appears that he still won’t be for Game 3. Chances are he’d play if these were do-or-die games, which is the fact that is irritating some Leafs observers. Those people also seem to be forgetting the chance of aggravating a meaningful injury by rushing back though, and there’s no point in having him at half-speed in Game 3 of Round One.
Sheldon Keefe may still choose to shake up his lineup for this game. Timothy Liljegren was not good in Game 3, and at some point it would seem fair to give T.J. Brodie another shot to find more success in more sheltered minutes.
The Leafs are going to continue generating their chances at even strength, and should be liable to produce on the power play at some point.
Managing the puck and limiting the Bruins to chances where Samsonov is set and square needs to be a priority. They have offered more complete lapses in coverage than the Bruins thus far, as we saw on Pastrnak’s first period one timer last game. If they can limit those looks and stay a little more disciplined though, their ability to own more of the chances at even strength should shine through.
Ilya Samsonov will start this game for the Leafs after a strong showing in Game 2. He’s played to a -0.2 GSAx and .887 save % this postseason.
Best Bets for Game 3:
If I had to pick a side in this matchup it would be the Leafs, but their is enough question marks surrounding their game for me to believe there is no value at -115.
As I speculated prior to Game 1, the Leafs are now a significantly larger favorite due to perceived home ice advantage, despite none of their recent playoff data suggesting that change is warranted. Part of the price also ties in to the way Game 2 went, but we should see the Bruins able to make adjustments and make this game highly competitive.
The one angle that I will point out is that Auston Matthews is +2200 to win the Conn Smythe. If you’re a Leafs fan who wants to back this being the year, I think that is a really solid way to do so. The Leafs are +1400 to win it all, but the chances they do so without Matthews being the Conn Smythe winner are slim to none.
It’s hard to ever envision it being a defender or Samsonov, though Samsonov will obviously need to be excellent for the Leafs do find a way to win it all. Nylander and Marner are really the only two I could ever see winning over Matthews, but Marner has been in bad form thus far, while who knows what level we see from Nylander as he returns while obviously still battling an injury.
Bet365 is offering a 30% same-game parlay boost on this game, which I would recommend taking advantage of. You could consider a long-shot option involving a regulation tie and numerous shot props, because I do think we will see a closely contested game throughout featuring close score-lines..
 

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