by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The Toronto Maple Leafs have scant moneyline value heading into their first closeout game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which means bettors seeking value will have to decide whether to ride the UNDER trend or play a hunch against it. The Maple Leafs are -240 favorites and the Montreal Canadiens are +200 underdogs with a 5.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com (how the moneyline works).
Over the last four seasons, Toronto is 9-3 as a home favorite against Montreal, with the total finishing UNDER at online betting sites in four of the last six such contests. The Maple Leafs are 15-5 in their last 20 home games when they are deeper than -175 as the moneyline favorite, and three of the last six such matchups have gone UNDER with one PUSH. The Canadiens are 3-14 in their last 17 away games as an underdog of +150 or more, with the total going UNDER 10 times. Only one of the four games in the Montreal-Toronto series has finished OVER, and that was by the margin of a late empty-net goal.
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs | OddsShark Matchup Report
The Maple Leafs lead the best-of-seven North Division semifinal series 3-1. They have outscored the Canadiens 7-3 in the five-on-five phase, where they have a 69.9 goals-for percentage (GF%) and 60.1 expected-goals for percentage (xGF%), according to Natural Stat Trick. Over the teams’ combined 14 regular-season playoff games, the Canadiens are four-for-35 (11.4 percent) on the power play and the Maple Leafs are nine-for-43 (20.9). (All advanced stats are based on score- and venue-adjusted five-on-five play.)
The Canadiens have been hard up for offense, having scored only 16 five-on-five goals in their last 11 away games. The Nick Suzuki-Cole Caufield-Tyler Toffoli line (listed center-left-right) was the only Montreal line with a positive xGF% during a 4-0 home loss on Tuesday, and the trio just made it at 50.3. Montreal did manage to draw more power plays than Toronto, and that is an area where either Suzuki, or right wing Brendan Gallagher, could make good on anytime scorer props.
Montreal is 9-8-5 this season in away games after one day of rest. The average total in those games is 5.45.
Montreal goalie Carey Price, according to MoneyPuck, has saved 4.47 goals above expected through the series’ first four games, including 0.69 last time out on Tuesday. Price has a 2.58 goals-against average and .920 save percentage so far in the series.
The Maple Leafs’ aforementioned 60.1 xGF% suggests they are well-cushioned if their puck luck evaporates. All four Toronto lines had a positive xGF% on Thursday, and the members of the Auston Matthews-Zach Hyman-Mitch Marner line might be overdue for a goal after being shut out in the last game in spite of a 66.3 xGF%. Hyman was the team leader in expected goals on Tuesday. Toronto’s depth up front has been a strength in the series. The Alex Kerfoot-Alex Galchenyuk-William Nylander second line formed due to injuries has found some chemistry, and Nylander takes a four-game goal streak into Thursday’s matchup. Since Toronto has multiple chances to oust Montreal, it’s doubtful left wing Nick Foligno (lower-body injury) will be rushed back into the lineup.
Toronto is 12-4-2 this season in home games after one day of rest. The average total in these games is 5.50.
Jack Campbell has improved his goals saved above expected in each game of the playoffs, earning 2.51 GSAE during his shutout on Tuesday to bring his series total to 3.92. In terms of the traditional stats, Campbell has a 1.01 GAA and .965 save pct. so far in the series.