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NHL · 7 months ago

NHL Best Bets: Maple Leafs vs. Jets Game Picks

Zachary Cook

Two teams that have had an up-and-down start to their regular seasons are set to collide tonight, with the Winnipeg Jets hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.

All Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Toronto Maple Leafs (-182) vs. Winnipeg Jets (+150) Total: 7 (O+108, U-132)

Entering this tilt on Hockey Night in Canada, the Maple Leafs have posted a 3-2 record after picking up an overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, while the Jets are 2-2, coming off a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Expectations continue to be high for the Maple Leafs, while the Jets are looking to get back to the playoffs after a down season. There’s plenty on the line for these respective clubs and what’s interesting here is that if both fall short of their expectations this year, there will likely be some significant changes in the offseason. 

What’s interesting about the Maple Leafs right now is that despite having a plethora of offensive talent up front, they’ve yet to break out offensively to this point in the season through five games. It’s an incredibly small sample size, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open and things begin to click. 

Looking at the projected starting goalies tonight, the Maple Leafs will likely continue riding Ilya Samsonov, while the Jets should do the same with Connor Hellebuyck. The Leafs’ netminder has been extremely solid in his first three starts, owning a 3-0 record with a .927 save percentage. On the other hand, Hellebuyck has been almost as good, posting a 2-1 record with a .922 save percentage. 

The Leafs have yet to show us that extra gear they’re capable of getting to, and until they do, it’s hard to trust them when they have so much juice on their moneyline price at -182. As a result, targeting the value of the home side tonight is the direction bettors should be gravitating toward at +150. 

Best Bet: Jets moneyline (+150) 

Neither the Maple Leafs nor Jets have been finding the back of the net at a high rate this season yet, but the last time these two teams faced off, they combined for ten goals in a 7-3 Toronto victory. There’s certainly the potential for fireworks with these teams’ offensive talent. Still, a key injury to Nikolaj Ehlers of the Jets could make them struggle to score in this contest, knowing very well how important he is to make things run offensively. With both goalies playing well entering this matchup, expect that trend to continue tonight and for the total to land under seven. 

Best Bet: Under seven (-132)

It certainly hasn’t been the start to the regular season that Auston Matthews had been looking for after reaching the 60-goal plateau last season. Through five games, the big center has scored just one goal, which likely means there’s some progression coming his way sooner rather than later. In 19 career games against the Jets, Matthews has recorded ten goals and 14 assists, both positive trends in his favor tonight. It’s not like Matthews has been playing poorly, either. You’re just used to him being much more dominant when he takes the ice. In saying that, there’s value in looking towards him to break out of his slump and score tonight at -110. 

Best Prop: Auston Matthews Anytime Goal Scorer (-110)

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