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

Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
30 days ago
The Leafs will look to bounce back after a shocking collapse Saturday versus Carolina, against what will be a desperate Flyers side.
Toronto dominated the Flyers 6-2 last Thursday in Philadelphia, but oddsmakers are still offering comparable opening numbers on Tuesday’s rematch with the Leafs priced as -128 favourites.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Maple Leafs vs Flyers Odds

  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -128
  • Flyers Moneyline Odds: +110
  • Puck Line Odds: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+180), Flyers +1.5 (-227)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over +100, under -122)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Everything about the last two months of action for the Leafs just fits the brand so perfectly.  Their 16-5-1 record in the stretch run suggests they are a cup contender. So does a 53.58 xGF%, and an actual goals % far higher than that. The opponents and ways that those losses have come though, still make a case that they aren’t.
Saturday’s loss versus the Hurricanes was a perfect encapsulation of this. As someone who picked against Toronto in my game guide, it was clear that the Leafs were the team more deserving of a win. Forgive me if you have heard a similar statement about this Leafs core before.
The Leafs’ new-look defensive corps managed to handle the Hurricanes’ furious forecheck effectively and did not offer much in the way of significant breakdowns prior to the final few minutes. Toronto also managed the puck better in the neutral zone, and it was Carolina who was exposed by the long change in the second period hanging out numerous breakaways. What could have been a feel-good moment versus a true cup contender went out the window with the late collapse though, which is roughly the sentiment left with fans felt their two recent losses versus the Bruins which were surrounded by excellent play.
The Leafs went o-3 on the powerplay in that matchup, which could be viewed as the difference, as they won the battle at even strength. Sheldon Keefe has adjusted the top powerplay unit again ahead of this game, as he is going to go back to a four-forward top unit, only with Timothy Liljegren as the lone defenceman.
Whether it’s Morgan Rielly running the show or Liljegren, the Leafs’ powerplay unit should not be a weakness. Having Mitch Marner on the sidelines obviously hurts the top unit’s upside a lot, but William Nylander and Auston Matthews should always be able to drive a better-than-average unit.
Simon Benoit is also getting a well-deserved opportunity to slide back into the lineup in this matchup. Keefe stated that he will play alongside Jake McCabe on the Leafs second pairing.
We can count on Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov splitting the starts in this back-to-back situation for Toronto, though it is unclear who will play tonight.
Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers can be expected to bring a sharper, more organized effort compared to what we saw in last Thursday’s meeting. Still, we have not seen the Flyers’ new-look defence core able to find success to this point, and their upside may be just far below what it once was.
Losing Sean Walker, Nick Seeler, Jamie Drysdale, and even Rasmus Ristolainen to a lesser extent has helped fuel a far lesser run of play defensively from John Tortorella’s side. A second pairing of Adam Ginning and Ronnie Attard is a notable dropoff compared to the Walker-Seeler unit Philadelphia skated for much of the season. Egor Zamula and Erik Johnson have also not shown well on the third unit, either.
The Flyers are going to make Captain Sean Couturier a healthy scratch for this matchup and offer some new-look offensive lines. The most notable change comes with Morgan Frost shifting up to the top unit to skate alongside Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett. In 55.4 minutes of even-strength play this season, that trio has combined to a 63% expected goal share, generating 3.69 xGF/60.
Samuel Ersson has been confirmed as the Flyers’ starting goaltender. He has played to a +3.0 GSAx and .898 save % across 30 appearances this season.
Best Bet for Leafs vs Flyers:
My lean would be with the Leafs in terms of sides, but I do not quite have enough conviction to see value after the VIG is factored in. There are two player props that I see value with though.
The Flyers’ new-look top line should be a handful to keep in check, and I would not be opposed to targeting several player props involving that unit. Morgan Frost is a far more competent playmaker than Scott Laughton, and that should benefit Tippett and Konecny. Konecny is priced at +125 to record over 3.5 shots, and I believe there is value in that price.
Backing Liljegren at score at any time at +950 is also worthy of a small sprinkle, as that price is a touch too long considering his new role on the top powerplay unit. He did score Thursday versus Philly as well, though I would note that scoring in a single previous matchup does not hold much predictive relevancy.
On a similar note point out that the over has hit in seven straight meetings between these sides. Without analyzing for potential causes of a trend though, it should not be considered bettable. Flip a coin 30 times, you’ll see some streaks in the data.
Best Bets: Konecny Over 3.5 Shots on Goal +132, Liljegren Anytime Goal +950

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