Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Preview
NHL betting odds have the Toronto Maple Leafs as -170 favorites on Sunday night. Toronto is coming off a 36-25-9 season, and as a hub city for the postseason, are one of just two teams that gets to enjoy home-ice advantage, albeit without fans in attendance.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are coming off a regular season where they posted a record of 33-22-15, and have been installed as +145 underdogs in Game 1.
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The Blue Jackets still haven't confirmed their starting goalie for Sunday but will be more than comfortable with either Korpisalo or Merzlikins in nets. The two 26-year-old goalies split time equally in Wednesday's 4-1 exhibition win over the Bruins.
Korpisalo played well throughout the year, and while Merzlikins had an ugly start to his career going 1-4-4 with a 3.14 GAA through his first 11 games, he absolutely caught on fire down the stretch when Korpi was injured. Merzlikins went 12-5-4 with a 2.02 GAA and a .933 save percentage since January 1.
Frederik Andersen on the other hand is expected to carry Toronto's workload in nets. The 30-year-old is coming off another solid campaign and has gone 25-20 with a 2.63 GAA and .914 save percentage in the playoffs over his career, so he certainly has the edge over the Jackets' duo when it comes to postseason experience.
To be announced
Betting Trend to know
Blue Jackets are 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Toronto. Find more NHL betting trends for Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs.
Third Period Bet
While Toronto usually gets off to quick starts they have a tendency to crumble late in contests, surrendering 83 goals in the third period, the fourth-highest total in the league. The Blue Jackets play at their best at the end of games, holding opponents to a league-low 51 goals in the final period and posting a goal differential of plus-12 in that frame.
At big plus money, there is a ton of value in backing Columbus on the third-period three-way moneyline.
PREDICTION: Third Period three-way Columbus +200
The Maple Leafs finished the regular season just 26th in the league in goals allowed. However, a large amount of blame for that should fall on former backup Michael Hutchinson, who went 4-9-1 with 3.66 GAA. While Andersen is rarely spectacular, he is reliable and is playoff-experienced, he shouldn't be fazed by a Blue Jackets who were tied for 27th in the league in goals scored.
While the Buds have a much more explosive offense, Columbus plays with a very tight defensive system and is strong between the pipes as well. The Blue Jackets allowed the third-fewest goals in the league and the second-fewest high danger chances. Regardless of who gets the start in nets for the Jackets, we like the Under.
PREDICTION: Under 6 (-115)
While Toronto is much more explosive on the offensive end of the ice, Columbus does a great job of forechecking and cycling the puck. With the Buds allowing a league-high 52 goals off opponents offensive-zone cycles (according to The Point), the Blue Jackets' hard-checking, grind it out style should make this game closer than oddsmakers think.
When it comes to winning close games, few teams do it as well as Columbus, with John Tortorella's squad having won a league-high 20 games decided by one goal. On the other hand, the Leafs have the fourth-worst winning percentage in the NHL in games decided by a single goal.
In postseason hockey, defense, grit and goaltending are crucial to winning. With Columbus having those things in spades they certainly have value as +145 underdogs.
PREDICTION: Columbus Blue Jackets +145
Blue Jackets vs Maple Leafs Betting Card
- Third Period three-way Columbus +200
- Under 6 (-115)
- Columbus Blue Jackets +145