Morning Coffee: Jason Spezza turns back clock, Toronto Raptors brace for Brooklyn Nets


We’re just over 48 hours away from Super Bowl LV.

While the majority of the betting action is on the Kansas City Chiefs, the two largest-recorded bets so far are on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover.

Last week, there was a $2.3 million bet placed on the Buccaneers to cover +3.5 that would pay $2 million. This week, a $3.46 million bet was placed on Tampa Bay +3.5 – the largest recorded wager on Super Bowl LV so far.

Despite those notable bets at sportsbooks that have offered the extra half-point, the number has held at Chiefs -3 at most spots.

It will be interesting to see if that changes over the next 48 hours.

Here is the Morning Coffee for Friday Feb. 5, 2021.

North Division Update

The Toronto Maple Leafs (-170) climbed back into first place in the North Division with a 7-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

Jason Spezza turned back the clock with a hat trick in just 12:17 of ice time.

Auston Matthews scored his seventh and eighth of the season. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists, while William Nylander chipped in three assists.

It marked the third loss in a row for a Vancouver side that has allowed an average of six goals per game over that span.

Our TSN Hockey analyst Mike Johnson delivered another sweep, going 2-for-2 on the pre-game broadcast – he picked the over and the Maple Leafs on the puck line.

The Canucks play two more in Toronto on Saturday and then on Monday before a four-game set against the Calgary Flames, so it isn’t about to get any easier for them defensively.

The Maple Leafs wouldn’t be alone atop the North Division standings if it weren’t for a little help from the Ottawa Senators. The Sens snapped a nine-game slide with a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators were a +260 underdog for this one. Trap game anyone?

The Habs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but gave up two goals in the final minute of the first period and never led again.

Tim Stützle was in on all three Ottawa markers with a goal and two assists.

Matt Murray, who had allowed three goals or more in every start this season, stopped 36 of 38 shots to help the Senators get back in the win column.

Those teams will play again on Saturday night in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets (+115) pulled off the upset with a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

Winnipeg gave up the opening goal in the final minute of the first period, then scored four unanswered with Mason Appleton scoring twice along with markers from Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced.

Coming off back-to-back wins over Calgary, the Jets are right back in the hunt for the North Division lead two points back of Toronto.

Winnipeg will visit Calgary on Tuesday before a two-game set with the Senators next week.

Raptors visit Nets on TSN

Remember when the Toronto Raptors swept the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA’s playoff bubble?

Something tells me things will feel a lot different when these teams meet tonight on TSN for the first time since that postseason series.

The Nets (-4.5) are a much different team this time around with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving leading the way.

It will be Durant’s first game against the Raptors since he ruptured his Achilles against them in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Toronto will be without OG Anunoby and Patrick McCaw once again on Friday night.

They’ll need another big game from Fred VanVleet, who is coming off a career-high 54-point performance in his last game.

The Raptors are just 1-8 straight up against opponents with winning records this season.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a little help from a fantasy perspective this weekend, make sure you check out the latest Setting The Pick column from our fantasy basketball analyst Wesley Cheng, in which he identifies a handful of players that could still be available in your league worth targeting based on categorical needs.