logo

NHL Betting Preview (April 27): Bruins vs Maple Leafs Odds

alt
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
The Leafs continue to struggle at home, as after dropping Game 3 they have now lost five straight playoff matchups at Scotiabank Arena. They will need that trend to change Saturday in Game 4, or we will see an elimination game in Boston on Tuesday.
Most oddsmakers are keeping the prices on Game 4 the same as they closed in Game 3, with the Leafs slight favorites at -115.
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
Everything the Bruins are known to do well came to fruition in Game 3, as they broke through with some timely scoring, and got better goaltending from Jeremy Swayman than the Leafs did from Ilya Samsonov.
Is it lame to boil the game down to that? Maybe, but ultimately Trent Frederic’s game-tying goal late in the second would never have gone into Swayman’s goal, and if you take that goal away the result could be entirely different.
The high danger chances in the game were 12 to 12 per Natural Stat Trick. The eye-test would agree that at even strength both teams created an equal amount of quality opportunities.
Away from the disparity in goal between the Swayman and Samsonov, the most notable edge the Bruins have offered all series has been on special teams. Charlie Coyle broke through with a powerplay marker early in the third, while the Bruins penalty kill was dominant once again and held the Leafs to nothing.
I predicted that defender Mason Lohrei would open some eyes if he got into the series with Andrew Peeke injured, which was a bad take based on his play in Game 3. However, I also wasn’t counting on Lohrei playing top pair minutes, which was the case since Matt Grzelcyk also missed Game 3.
If Grzelcyk remains out tonight look for the Leafs to continue to manage more chances against the new look top pairing.
It sounds probable that Montgomery is going to go back to Linus Ullmark in this matchup, though his quotes on that could also just be gamesmanship. Ullmark was not at all bad in Game 2, but the Leafs would likely be happy to take on a goaltender that they have already beaten in the series, compared to one who has been completely dominant in Swayman.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Surely Leafs fans are tired of hearing that if they stick with the process displayed in Game 3 tonight it could lead to a better result, but that could be the case.
The Leafs own a 52.95% expected goal share at even strength in the series. That number does seem to be a fair indication of the way the series has gone, and the difference has been the disparity in special teams play and goaltending to this point.
The most notable area that the Leafs should be able to improve upon is their special teams play, most notably the powerplay which has been dreadful. Most signs indicate that Nylander is trending towards playing in tonight’s game, though the situation continues to be a guessing game for all observers.
Nylander’s presence could help propel the Leafs powerplay to a more productive night, which would go a long way given that we will likely see another closely contested matchup. He obviously provides some meaningful offensive punch at even strength as well. Over the last three postseasons Nylander has put up 25 points in 25 games. He was the best Leafs forward versus Florida, and it’s reasonable to think he could shake up the outlook of this series.
T.J. Brodie appears to be sliding in on the backend for Timothy Liljegren, who has not been at his best thus far in the series.
Ilya Samsonov is confirmed as the Leafs starter in this series. By no means has Samsonov been awful, as he owns an .895 save % and -0.2 GSAx in the series. He hasn’t been Jeremy Swayman though, which is leading to him taking some heat when his play likely wouldn’t be criticized in many of the other ongoing first round series’.
Best Bets for Bruins vs Maple Leafs
The Leafs suffered a tough loss in Game 3 in a game which clearly could have gone either way. The Bruins benefitted from a goaltending advantage to help garner the crucial win, which is to be expected, but even with that edge in mind the game could have gone differently.
The Leafs shouldn’t need to fine-tune too much to find a better result in this critical spot, but there are arguments why they have a better chance tonight than they did in Game 3. Auston Matthews did not have his best night, and part of that could have been the illness that he is reportedly fighting. William Nylander also did not play but seems to be trending towards getting into the lineup for tonight’s matchup.
It also seems likely Linus Ullmark gets back into the net here for Boston. While Ullmark is still among the best goaltenders in the game, he did post marginally better results than Swayman over the entirety of the season and has struggled in the playoffs to this point. You have to think it’s still slightly preferential to see Ullmark in the opposing goal.
For those reasons, if William Nylander plays I think there is value betting the Leafs to find a way to send this thing back to Boston tied at two at -115. I’ll note that if you did happen to tail the 2-2 series split prop I handed out ahead of Game 1, I would not add to that exposure by betting the Leafs in this matchup with that bet now obviously needing a Game 4 Leafs win to cash.
Best Bet: Toronto Maple Leafs Moneyline -115 (Play to -115)

Check out these posts...