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NHL Betting Preview: Will the Knights show championship mettle Tuesday versus the Maple Leafs?

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Photo credit:© Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Nicholas Martin
1 month ago
The defending champion Knights will limp into ScotiaBank Arena in the midst of a 1-4-1 stretch, as they continue to try and get by without several key skaters including Jack Eichel and Mark Stone. As you would expect, they are an underdog versus a Toronto side that has won 11 of its last 13 matchups, including a 7-3 win when these teams met last Thursday in Vegas.
In this article, we’ll break down the relevant game notes ahead of this exciting matchup.

Golden Knights vs. Maple Leafs Odds

  • Golden Knights Moneyline Odds: +135
  • Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds: -161
  • Puck Line Odds: Golden Knights +1.5 (-182), Maple Leafs -1.5 (+147)
  • Game Total: 6.5 goals (over +100, under -122)
All odds courtesy of Betano and are subject to change. 
Will the Knights trend into form down the stretch?
It’s always a little more difficult to handicap a team like Vegas, that has every right to be a little complacent in the dog days of the season after a lengthy Cup run last spring. The reward for seeding high is often overstated, and it’s tough playing with a target on your back every night. Suffering through a nightmare injury situation has also been an obvious causation of their recent struggles.
After a dominant 11-0-1 start to the season, the Knights have trended down to their current mark of 32-19-7, which ranks 11th league wide on points percentage. Over their last 26 games they have played to a record of only 11-13-2. That’s roughly one third of an entire season where they have played to a record that isn’t even NHL .500.
Their underlying process hasn’t been overly convincing recently, either. Since January 1st the Knights xGF% of 45.89 is the 7th worst mark in the league. They have generated only 2.82 xGF/60, and are being outshot by four for every 60 minutes of play.
A visual observation of their recent play agrees with the data, and they have too consistently been a team relying on elite goaltending and opportunistic scoring to be viewed as a top team right now.
They have three wins since the All-Star break, and only their 4-0 victory over the Sharks was very convincing. They got a lot of credit for their 3-1 win over Edmonton that prevented the Oilers from breaking the NHL record for consecutive wins, but they clearly got some breaks with Evander Kane and Evan Bouchard both hitting the posts, and Leon Draisaitl missing a relatively open net.
The Knights blue-line did get a huge boost with top defender Shea Theodore’s return on February 20th. He has put up five points in three games since rejoining the lineup. With Theodore back in the mix, they are being afforded a rare luxury with a clean bill of health on the back end.
They will remain without a number of NHL regulars up front though with Captain Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, William Carrier, Brett Howden, and Pavel Dorofeyev set to miss tonight’s contest.
Adin Hill is confirmed as the Knights starter for this matchup. He has played to a +16.5 GSAx and .927 save % across 23 apperances this season.
Are the Leafs a Legitimate Cup Contender
The Leafs will look to avoid a letdown here as they return home from a successful four game western road swing, which culminated with a solid win over the Avalanche Saturday. They have played to a modest record of only 15-12 straight up on home ice, which could be the difference in what is suddenly a competitive Atlantic division race.
They have displayed a more well rounded team game recently, and are making a heavy case for GM Brad Treliving to get aggressive at the trade deadline.
Tyler Bertuzzi, and Max Domi have trended into form and found strong chemistry alongside William Nylander, which has allowed Sheldon Keefe to consistently get John Tavares off of the second unit and onto a solid third line with Bobby McMann and Nick Robertson.
Suddenly the Leafs scoring looks much more balanced, and their defensive play has shored up as well.
Over the last 13 games they have played to a 56.88% expected goals rating, and allowed an average of only 2.46 goals against where it counts.
Timothy Liljegren will be unavailable for this matchup, and is considered day-to-day. With Liljegren out of the mix the Leafs took morning skate with pairs of Morgan Rielly and Simon Benoit, T.J. Brodie and Jake McCabe, and Mark Giordano with William Lagesson.
Ilya Samsonov is confirmed as tonight’s starter. He has played a .911 save % across 12 starts since rejoining the team.
Best Bet for Leafs versus Knights
The prices on sides in this game look sharp to me, and although I lean with the Leafs, I do not have enough conviction to cover the VIG. Hill still offers a significant edge in goal over Samsonov, and I still believe even the current iteration of the Knights is capable of a little more than they have shown recently.
My favorite bet is backing Jonathan Marchessault to record over 2.5 shots on goal at -161. With Stone out of the mix Marchessault is going to continue to see heavy usage at even strength, and should benefit from Theodore’s return to the top powerplay unit. He has put up four points over the last two games, despite only putting three shots on target.
Backing him to score or record or record a point are solid options as well, but because he is trending lower than we should expect in terms of shot volume in specific we are seeing better betting prices available than usual, with a juiced total of 2.5 as opposed to his regular number of 3.5.
Best Bet: Marchessault Over 2.5 Shots on Goal -161 (Play to -170)

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