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NHL Betting Preview (Mar 16): Hurricanes vs Maple Leafs Odds

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Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
For the first time since December 30th, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a home underdog. That matchup on the 30th was the last time Carolina came to town, and the Canes’ won 3-2 in a matchup which closed at -125.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Hurricanes vs Maple Leafs Odds

  • Hurricanes Moneyline Odds: -122
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: +112
  • Puck Line Odds: Hurricanes -1.5 (+182), Maple Leafs +1.5 (-227)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over +105, under -128)
Carolina Hurricanes
After acquiring Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov at the trade deadline, the Hurricanes are currently the third favorite to win the Cup at +800 per Betano, and it’s not hard to see why.
Under Rod Brind’Amour they have consistently been one of the very best defensive teams in the league, but have often hit a wall offensively when it matters. Suddenly with Kuznetsov and Guentzel in the mix, as well as a healthy Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina’s offensive core looks deep.
Here’s how the Hurricanes lined up in Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Panthers. We will likely see the same lines tonight.
Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Jake Guentzel – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook – Jordan Staal – Seth Jarvis
Stefan Noesen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Jesper Fast
The Hurricanes took a big gamble on Kuznetsov, as he was one of the leagues worst consistent skaters prior to entering the leagues player assistance program last month. For the time being, Kuznetsov has looked like the dominant player he once was.
In a tiny sample of 24.2 minutes together, Kuznetsov, Necas and Guentzel have played to an absurd 85% expected goals rating. The “eye-test” agrees that they have looked excellent as well, and it was not surprising to see Carolina’s second line break through with two goals Thursday.
Suddenly the Hurricanes top-six looks on par with the rest of the East’s best teams.
Their third-line of Martinook, Staal, and Jarvis offers one of the best shutdown units in the league as well, and still packs some offensive upside. Look for Brind’Amour to try and deploy that unit head-to-head versus Matthews line in this matchup.
The greatest question mark for the Hurricanes remains with their goaltending tandem of Pyotr Kochetkov and Frederik Andersen.
Andersen has played relatively well since returning to the lineup, including a shutout Thursday versus the Panthers. I lean towards Andersen getting the start here versus his former side, and believe he is still more likely to be the starter come the postseason. The Hurricanes have not officially confirmed their starter though.
Anderson owns a +3.3 GSAx and .913 save % in nine appearances this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
The Leafs continue to display strong form overall, which is contributing to the relatively close betting numbers on this game. Over their last 21 games the Leafs are 16-5-0, and have played to a 53.70% expected goal rating. Their actual goal % is greater than that, so its far from just the numbers which state Toronto is playing well.
One thing we did see last week was the Leafs falter in big spots versus the Bruins, as we saw versus the Knights one week prior. If their is one thing to nitpick about the Leafs recent form it would be those letdowns against elite sides. Still, it’s also fair to point out that they had strong victories over the Jets and Avs’ recently as well.
This is likely the toughest spot of them all though. With Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok on the sidelines, Sheldon Keefe is likely to deploy a top unit of Matthews, Bertuzzi, and Pontus Holmberg.
Leafs Defence Pairings
Rielly – Lyubushkin
Brodie – McCabe
Edmundson – Liljegren
We will likely see the same defensive pairings as Thursday night in this matchup.
While the Leafs blue-line got more hard-nosed at the deadline, the ability to move the puck effectively versus elite teams is a potential concern. Timothy Liljegren bounced back with a strong performance in that matchup, and seeing how he handles a heavy Hurricanes forecheck tonight will be an interesting aside for Leafs fans.
Best Bets:
The Hurricanes deserve to be power-rated as one of the very best teams in the league, and I’m surprised to see betting numbers this close with Mitch Marner out of the lineup.  Their defensive play at even strength has remained excellent, but they could potentially take meaningful steps forward at the other end with more quality finishers in the lineup now.
The Leafs have also displayed no home ice advantage whatsoever, and actually own reverse splits this season. That’s an important note here, when we are analyzing why Carolina’s price looks a little short.
I belive the Hurricanes deserve to be a bigger favorite than they are at the time of writing, and would bet anything better than -130.
Best Bet: Hurricanes Moneyline to -130

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