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NHL Betting Preview (April 30): Maple Leafs vs Bruins Game 5 Odds

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Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
Will the Leafs go quietly into the night after a fairly pathetic loss in Game 4? That’s what most public bettors are expecting, and it is certainly fair to say the off-ice drama and question marks surrounding their superstars has played a key role in driving the narrative that this series is over.
The Leafs are +125 underdogs at the time of writing, after closing as -135 favorites prior to their ugly letdown in Game 4.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Bruins Odds

  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: +125
  • Bruins Moneyline Odds: -150
  • Puck Line Odds: Maple Leafs +1.5 (-220), Bruins -1.5 (+180)
  • Game Total: 5.5 goals (over -125, under +105)
Toronto Maple Leafs
There are a ton of meaningful question marks about this matchup, and it’s tough to say what to expect exactly from the Leafs as a result.
Auston Matthews made a brief appearance at the morning skate, and is considered a true game-time decision for this matchup. While the nature of his illness is odd, it also seems fair to say that despite how bad the playoffs have always gone in Toronto, it’s an absurd question of Matthews character to say he doesn’t want to take part in this game.
From a handicapping perspective, the important thought is that the totality of the information we have suggests that whether Matthews plays or not, he likely will not be as effective as usual.
Joseph Woll has been confirmed as the Leafs starting goaltender in this matchup. He played to a +7.2 GSAx and .907 save % in 25 appearances this season.
While it is fair to call out Leafs offensive stars for what has been another disappointing playoff series, it also plain to see that the Leafs tactics and defensive core does not help drive offence by any means.
The M.O. of the Leafs blue-line has once again been live to fight another day, and look to limit mistakes with highly conservative plays with the puck. It’s the same story we have seen from Keefe’s group throughout the last several postseasons, and it hampers the ability to create offense off of the rush.
Timothy Liljegren is set to draw back into the lineup for this matchup, which in theory will help the team get moving north. However, Liljegren has been getting exposed in other areas of the game in this series.
Quality postseason blue-lines are not simply physical, but they are mobile and can make plays with the puck. The Knights blue-line is not simply elite because of their imposing physicality, but because they can do that while helping to create offense.
 Boston Bruins
The Bruins have employed a consistent and effective game plan to earn their 3-1 series lead. They own an expected goals for percentage of just 48.06% in the series. Numbers aside, it has been easy to see that in even strength play the games have been quite close.
Playoff hockey is always going to be marginal, and the Bruins have done an excellent job at winning around the margins with their elite goaltending, and special teams dominance. Owning the big moments is a skill, and the Bruins have done well not to falter when those moments come.
With that said, part of that perceived ability to be clutch comes because Jeremy Swayman is going to save every semi-pressured shot that he can see, or anything that does not involve significant east-west movement.
They have done a masterful job on the penalty kill and are clicking at 46.2% on the man advantage in the series.
Typically, penalties tend to dry up in elimination games, as refs become keen to leave it to the skaters to decide the outcome. It’s also likely that both teams spend less time trying to impose their physical will.
More even strength play in this game would favour the Leafs based on the significant gap in special teams’ goal differential in the series.
Best Bets for Leafs vs Bruins
How will the Leafs respond to their ugly letdown in Game 5? It seems the vast majority of the public are sure it will be with another ugly performance, before an offseason that could feature meaningful change. Don’t be surprised if the Leafs make this game competitive though, and there are better opportunities to bet -150 favorites than tonight, despite the overwhelming notion that the series is over.
If Nylander and Matthews can bring anything more to the table than they have combined for since Game 2, it tells you that the current line is an overcompensation to the 3-1 series score. This series has been slightly more evenly depicted than the current betting number depicts, and it’s tough to say what we get out of Toronto here. There is enough volatility in this game that I do not see value with either side, but I’d say be careful hammering the Bruins as everybody and their sister seems to be doing.
An angle that does present betting value is backing Nylander to record over 3.5 shots on goal at +110.
He looked perfectly fine in Game 4, and he has quietly been a strong playoff performer despite his reputation to many observers. Dating back to last year he’s averaged 4.27 shots on goal per game in the playoffs, including a strong six shot output in the Leafs elimination Game 5 versus the Panthers.
The Bruins have given up 29.77 shots against per game in the series, too. While they have defended relatively well overall, it has not been due to the locations of chances, and not the ability to simply suppress offensive zone play entirely.
Best Bet: Nylander Over 3.5 Shots on Goal +110

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