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NHL Betting Preview (Mar 26): Devils vs Maple Leafs Odds

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
15 days ago
The Leafs showed very well in a tough back-to-back this weekend, with some key skaters missing from the lineup. All of the trends will be working in Toronto’s favour tonight, as they are 9-0-1 over the last ten versus New Jersey, and 9-1 after losing as an underdog this season.
Toronto is also 17-2-1 in its last 20 games without Morgan Rielly, who is probable to miss this contest.
I’ll outline the relevant game notes below, as well as hand out my best bet.

Devils vs Maple Leafs Odds

  • Devils Moneyline Odds: +122
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -143
  • Puck Line Odds: Devils +1.5 (-223), Maple Leafs -1.5 (+167)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over -122, under +100)
The Devils have proven to be one of the tougher sides to handicap this season, but overall have been a highly unprofitable bet. Receiving some of the league’s worst goaltending from Vitek Vanecek tanked parts of their season, as did suffering through arguably the worst injury situation in the league.
Those factors obviously played a role in Lindy Ruff finally being dismissed. While some problems would have happened under any coaching staff, it was clear that Ruff had deployed players in awful roles, and been out-coached on a number of occasions.
It seems more and more likely that having Andrew Brunette on the staff as an assistant was a factor in the Devils 113 113-point season in 2022-23. Especially when you consider where the Predators have gone to, and where the Devils are at currently.
Travis Green has been on the coaching staff all season and has not offered the kind of full-scale changes many fans might have hoped for, and that we will likely see this offseason. Since Green was promoted the Devils have gone 5-6-0. Their analytical profile has actually trended downwards, as they have played to a 47.45% expected goal share in that span.
The thing that makes the Devils hard to handicap, is pure roster projections they are still clearly underachieving. Their top nine still looks pretty scary on paper, especially if Alex Holtz can continue to produce in a well-earned bump to the second line.
Jake Allen has played well since arriving in New Jersey, particularly as on a number of nights his team has not been sharp defensively. In 26 appearances this season Allen owns a -0.1 GSAx and a .898 save %. Those marks might sound pretty rough, but to this point, he has actually offered an upgrade compared to what the Devils were getting in goal most nights.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Are the Leafs really better without Morgan Rielly? That thought seems highly unlikely, despite the fact that they have managed to elevate as a team and go 17-2-1 in his absence. Rielly is considered a game-time decision, while Joel Edmundson is set to miss this game, and likely the rest of the week. 
That leaves Sheldon Keefe working with a makeshift defensive core. With Ilya Lyubushkin and Connor Timmins set to return to the lineup though, the Leafs are still rostering six capable NHL bodies for this matchup, though the upside of the unit has obviously taken a hit.
Toronto proved me and a lot of others wrong on Saturday night, as they fundamentally dismantled the Oilers for two periods in a huge matchup. Their showing the next night in Carolina was also highly impressive, as they hung around versus one of the league’s very best in a travelling back-to-back.
You could say that with Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok sidelined, the Leafs have actually outperformed their roster’s upside. In the eyes of many observers, that could be viewed as a change in this Leafs era, and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up here with some notable pieces out of the lineup.
In the month of March, the Leafs have allowed 30.87 shots against per 60, and 3.32 xGA/60.
Joseph Woll has played to a +9.8 GSAx and .912 save % across 20 appearances this season, and has been confirmed as tonight’s starting goaltender.
Best Bets for Leafs vs Devils
The prices on sides in this game look fair to me at the time of writing considering the Leafs injury situation. The Devils’ speedy and skilled top-six does have the potential to cause problems for the Leafs defensively, and their powerplay still has the talent to bounce back to being one of the best in the league.
In a small sample, you have to give credit to the way the Leafs have handled the Marner and Jarnkrok absences, but in time we could see their replacements trend down to earth. With that in mind, the Devils’ offensive upside scares me off of the Leafs here, even though Toronto did display excellent team hockey last week versus far better sides.
My belief is that we will see the Devils manage their share of chances though. They are averaging 31.98 shots on goal this season, and I believe the Leafs’ dinged-up roster will allow that total often enough to bet the Devils to go over 30.5 shots on goal at +108.
I’d also keep my eye out for Alex Holtz to score at better than +450. His 1.15 goals per 60 ranks fourth on the Devils, and he is finally getting a look in the top six right now.
Best Bet: Devils Team Total Over 30.5 Shots on Goal +108 

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