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NHL Betting Preview (April 6): Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Odds

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Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
21 days ago
The Canadiens have played out the stretch quite competitively, given the fact that stockpiling losses to grab a better spot in the draft lottery is probably the best long term outcome. A matchup at home on Hockey Night in Canada versus rival Toronto will surely have Montreal fully invested too, and this matchup is far from a tap-in for the visiting Leafs, despite their -200 price tag.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Odds

  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -200
  • Canadiens Moneyline Odds: +167
  • Puck Line Odds: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+125), Canadiens +1.5 (+175)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -102, under -118)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner appears likely to return to the lineup for Toronto, who will look to bounce-back from a 4-1 loss at home versus Tampa Bay.
Sheldon Keefe was relatively fair not to be overly critical of his team after that matchup, as ultimately we know when two good teams meet in the NHL it is going to come down to a missed chance here or there, or lack of a few saves. It’s not often you’ll play a red-hot Lightning team out of the building, even if the expectation from many Leafs fans is that the team should roll over all comers.
From an oddsmaking perspective, the Leafs would likely be slightly less of an underdog in Round One versus Boston than they would be versus a healthy Florida side. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t push to enter the playoffs in top form, but losses should not necessarily get people down unless their are some notably bad habits on display.
The priorities ahead of the playoffs should be staying healthy, and looking to figure out the ideal Game One line configurations ahead of all else.
Forward Lines Practice April 5:
Bertuzzi – Matthews – Domi
McMann – Tavares – Marner
Knies – Holmberg -Nylander
Dewar – Kampf – Reaves
Keefe looks likely to keep the Leafs top line of Bertuzzi, Matthews, and Domi together in spite of Marner’s return, which makes sense given the way that trio has played.
It looks like Nick Robertson will be the odd man out tonight, which is a pretty debatable move given the way the team has struggled to find depth scoring when the games matter. Robertson has put up 1.24 goals per 60 minutes of play this season, and while he’s not without some warts in his game, he still score more goals in the game the opponent than other options.
Joel Edmundson and Timothy Liljegren will remain sidelined from the blue-line, and it looks like Connor Timmins will come out of the lineup for Mark Giordano.
Ilya Samsonov is expected to start in goal for Toronto. Samsonov has played to an .892 save % and 3.06 GAA this season, but continues to improve those marks after his horrid start to the year.
Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens have remained quietly competitive of late, particularly considering how many matchups they have played against top teams. They have grabbed points in matchups against the Oilers, Bruins, Avalanche, and Panthers in just a ten game span. If we look at a slightly wider sample of results, the same point is true.
Over their last 17 games, the Canadiens have played to a record of 7-6-4. They have faced off against opponents averaging 12.29th place in terms of points percentage in that span though, so that mark is actually impressive with that in mind. From a betting perspective, a 7-10 record has made them a profitable wager.
They have competed to a 45.65% even strength expected goal share in those 17 matchups, which is respectable considering the strength of competition.
The Canadiens did lose two regular defensemen versus Tampa Bay, as Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj were both injured. Guhle is a needle-mover from a handicapping perspective, so the Leafs are catching the Habs’ at a favorable time in that regard.
Samuel Montembeault is also a needle mover from a handicapping perspective, and is expected to start in this matchup. Montembeault has played to a +6.2 GSAx and .906 save % across 37 appearances this season.
Best Bets for Leafs versus Canadiens
It is quite obvious that at this point in the season hosting the Leafs is the most important matchup left on the schedule for Montreal, too. They have played well enough of late to suggest they can hang around versus any team, and this spot makes me believe they bring another solid effort.
The Canadiens should be able to make this game highly competitive, and I have no interest backing the Leafs as a big favorite. Given the way the Leafs are playing that still may not necessarily mean a win for the Canadiens though, and I think we should see closely contested score-lines throughout.
These teams have played in a lot of close, hard-fought contests over the last several seasons, including the Leafs 3-2 win in Montreal on March 9th.
You can bet this game to go to overtime at +340, and I believe there is value with that long-shot in this particular spot.
Best Bet: Regulation Tie +340

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