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NHL Betting Preview (Mar 23): Oilers vs Maple Leafs Odds

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
26 days ago
 
Connor McDavid will return home to Toronto Saturday as the Leafs host the Oilers. McDavid will continue his pursuit of the 100 assist plateau, while linemate and former Leaf Zach Hyman looks to hit the 50 goal mark for the first time.
The Leafs will remain without Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok, as well as potentially Tyler Bertuzzi, who is a game time decision due to illness.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Oilers vs Maple Leafs Odds

  • Oilers Moneyline Odds: -128
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: +118
  • Puck Line Odds: Oilers -1.5 (+167), Maple Leafs +1.5 (-213)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -118, under -102)
Edmonton Oilers
It’s a cup or bust year for the Oilers, and oddsmakers actually agree, as they are priced as the outright favorite in most markets. That is certainly a point of contention among NHL fans, who continue to have a hard time accepting the Oilers more well rounded play this season.
A nationally broadcast game in Toronto does offer an exciting spot in the dog days of the season for a ton of Oilers skaters.  McDavid, Hyman, Evan Bouchard, Darnell Nurse, Warren Foegele, Connor Brown, Cody Ceci, Corey Perry, Ryan McLeod, Adam Henrique, and Sam Carrick are all Ontario born players.
In 22 games since the All-Star break they have played to a 55.35% expected goal share. They have been less reliant on McDavid and Draisaitl simply finding ways to steal games, which should make them a far tougher out come the postseason.
McDavid has improved his defensive play considerably this season, as have several other members of the forward corps. Their blue-line is not necessarily a dominant 1-6 unit, but overall they are still only as flawed as many other contenders in a season boasting closer outright prices than normal.
The Oilers have allowed only 1.80 goals against per game in ten games this March. Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard have both been really solid, but Edmonton’s 2.55 xGA/60 tells you it’s much more than just goaltenders stealing wins.
The Oilers have no skaters on the IR ahead of this matchup. The most noteworthy news out of morning skate comes with Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Zach Hyman forming a new-look top line.
Stuart Skinner will likely get the start in goal. He has played to a +4.0 GSAx and .908 save % across 50 appearances this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs will look to build upon a strong performance Thursday against the Capitals in a matchup against a significantly more potent offensive side. Sorting out the defensive pairings and heading in to the playoffs in strong defensive form are two keys for Sheldon Keefe, who’s Leafs side is again playing for next to nothing down the stretch. This matchup gives that unit a firm test to be sure.
Here’s how the Leafs skated at yesterday’s practice, with Ilya Lyubushkin likely to miss this contest due to illness, and T.J. Brodie likely to get a breather.
Defensive Pairings
Morgan Rielly – Jake McCabe
Joel Edmundson – Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit – Connor Timmins
Given the way Brodie has struggled recently, it’s highly possible this is one of the Leafs better configurations of late. Edmundson could prove to be a good stabilizing force for Liljegren, but will benefit from having a partner who can move the puck effectively.
The Leafs powerplay was able to break through in both games of their road trip. They will always offer a far less potent man advantage with Mitch Marner on the sidelines, but it’s still obvious to say they had played to the low end of their potential on that avenue recently.
Ilya Samsonov is probable to start in this game. He has played to a -9.5 GSAx and .888 save % in 33 appearances, but has obviously found better form since returning from his time away from the team.
Best Bets:
 
This spot reminds me a lot of last Saturday’s matchup versus the Hurricanes, where most oddsmakers opened the prices evenly, and all the money came in on the Oilers. We were lucky to cash the Canes moneyline in that game, but I still think the correct idea is to fade the Leafs again here.
The Leafs own reverse splits, as they have played to a better record on the road than they have at home. As the Oilers enter this game playing just their third game of the week, and after a day of rest, I do believe the home ice advantage is negated again. Particularly as you know with 11 Ontario born players, the Oilers should be fully ready to go for this one.
With Mitch Marner out of lineup the Oilers deserve to be power-rated a fair bit above the Leafs. So if you’re not going to honour much home ice advantage, I still believe Betano’s price of -128 is a touch short, and worthy of a smaller bet.

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