NHL Betting Preview (April 9): Maple Leafs vs Devils Odds

Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
22 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs can continue putting some pressure on the Panthers for home-ice advantage with a win Tuesday, while Auston Matthews continues his pursuit of the 70-goal plateau. The Devils were able to pull off a 6-3 win over the Leafs on March 26, but the final scoreline was not an accurate depiction of that matchup.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Devils Odds

  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -128
  • Devils Moneyline Odds: +107
  • Puck Line Odds: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+180), Devils +1.5 (-227)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -111, under -110)
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs were not at their most dominant in Monday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Penguins, but it was by no means anything to get overly concerned with. The Penguins were fighting for their playoff lives, and have offered legitimately improved play of late. Still, the Leafs effectively handled the Pens’ urgent onslaught and avoided much in the way of significant breakdowns.
They get a similar spot tonight versus a Devils side that can talk itself into believing playoffs are still a possibility.
The Leafs’ blueline has been head and shoulders above the Devils of late, regardless of what units Sheldon Keefe has deployed. My assumption is Conor Timmins will get back in the lineup given the back-to-back spot, but otherwise we see the same defensive units as last night with Joel Edmundson and Timothy Liljegren both remaining on the IR. With Mitch Marner back in the lineup Sheldon Keefe has still opted to play Matthews with Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi, which offers the Leafs a very balanced offensive lineup. If the current top unit plays like it has, why would you shake it up? In Monday’s game, Matthews, Bertuzzi and Domi played to a 79.5% expected goal share and out-attempted the Pens’ 20-8.
Joseph Woll will likely get the start for the Leafs. Woll has displayed less dominant form since returning from a lengthy absence due to injury and now owns a +6.9 GSAx and .907 save % over 23 appearances this season.
New Jersey Devils
You hear terms like “soft” and “heartless” thrown around pretty often among NHL media, who often seem to underrate just how tightly contested the average contest is. There probably isn’t a team more deserving of those titles this season than the New Jersey Devils though. They had leads (multi-goal in two of them) in games versus Buffalo, Pittsburgh and New York last week, but lost all three inside of regulation. Even had they managed four points from those matchups, playoffs would still be on the table.
Since Travis Green was promoted to head coach the Devils have played to a record of 7-9-1. That’s an especially discouraging mark when you consider that thanks to the additions of Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen, the Devils have actually received better-than-average goaltending in that span in terms of goals saved above expected. In those 17 games, the Devils own an xGF% of only 47.18. They have allowed 3.57 xGA/60, which is the seventh-worst mark in the league over that span.
Now, in fairness to Travis Green, a big part of the problem is clearly the personnel available on the blueline. John Marino appears likely to return to the lineup tonight, which should make the situation marginally better. It’s no secret that Jack Hughes has been fighting through an injury the last month, which has been another concern for the Devils. He missed today’s morning skate and is considered questionable for this matchup.
Jake Allen will likely get the start for New Jersey. He has played to a +1.1 GSAx and .899 save % across 31 appearances this season.
Best Bets for Leafs versus Devils
This is a travelling back-to-back for the Leafs, who are in theory playing for very little. The spot favours the Devils for sure, but that is more than accounted for with the Leafs a relatively short favourite at -128.
The Devils’ defensive play has arguably regressed in the time since Travis Green took over as bench boss, but finally receiving acceptable goaltending has hidden that to some extent. That’s not entirely Green’s fault as their blueline has been considerably dinged up, but the point remains that the Devils are a team that can be exposed defensively.
At -128 I see some value in betting the Leafs to win and get some revenge for the Devils’ lucky win in Toronto two weeks ago.
My favourite play lies with Matthews to score a goal as he continues his quest for 70 at -110 though.
Matthews has a single goal in 26 of his last 43 games played (60.46%). If he continued to score at a similar pace -110 is a clear smash play, as at 55% we have clear value, and I think there is a good case that -110 is too short for tonight’s game in particular.
Bertuzzi and Domi continue to look to Matthews as much as possible in their even-strength minutes together, and why not when you consider Matthews’ otherworldly finishing abilities? Having Marner back on the powerplay is going to boost the quality of looks Matthews finds on the man advantage, too. We know 70 is on the mind of his teammates too, whether they would ever admit it or not.
Versus a well-below-average defensive side in the Devils, I believe -110 is a great number to back Matthews continuing his historic goal-scoring output. Two goals at +470, and last goalscorer at +650 are also worth a look.
Best Bet: Auston Matthews to score Anytime -110 (Play to -120), Leafs Moneyline -128

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