Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Qualifying Round Odds
|Team||Odds to win the series|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-165|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+145|
Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Odds +2,500
Led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Taveras, the Leafs are one of the top offensive teams in the league, ranking third in goals and sixth in both shots per game and powerplay percentage. As great as they've been on the offensive end of the ice, they've been just as ugly on the defensive end allowing the sixth-most goals and ranking 21st on the penalty kill.
Toronto looked like it had finally figured things out after firing Mike Babcock in November, going 15-4-1 in their first 20 games under Sheldon Keefe. However, after that surge the Leafs dropped back to mediocrity, winning just 12 of their last 27 contests.
Toronto Maple Leafs betting trends
- The Leafs have surrendered the third-most goals in the league during the third period with 83.
- The Leafs have the fourth-worst winning percentage in the NHL in games decided by one goal.
- The Leafs are third in the league in faceoff win percentage (52.5).
Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets Stanley Cup Odds +3,300
While the Leafs like to play fast and loose, the Blue Jackets thrive with a much tighter gameplan. Columbus is third in the league in goals allowed per game but is just 28th in the league in goals for.
Forwards Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois certainly aren't going to strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams, but Columbus boasts one of the premier defensive pairings in the league with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. They also have one of the NHL's top young goalies in surprising rookie Elvis Merzlikins, who has gone 12-5-4 with a 2.02 GAA and a .933 save percentage since January 1.
Columbus Blue Jackets betting trends
- The Blue Jackets have allowed the fewest goals in the league during the third period with 51.
- The Blue Jackets have generated the second-fewest high-danger scoring chances in the NHL, while also allowing the second-fewest high-danger scoring chances.
- Columbus is 26th in the league in faceoff win percentage (48.5)
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Head-to-Head Comparison
|Toronto Maple Leafs||Tale of the Tape||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|3.39||Goals Per Game||2.57|
|3.17||Goals Allowed Per Game||2.61|
|23.1||Power Play Percentage||16.4|
|77.7||Penalty Kill Percentage||81.7|
Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets Picks and Predictions
Series Prediction: Columbus Blue Jackets +145 - The Buds aren't quite as bad in nets as the stats suggest, especially when you consider that Toronto's team GAA was inflated by former backup Michael Hutchinson, who went 4-9-1 with 3.66 GAA. Starter Frederik Andersen is much more reliable with a 2.85 GAA and a save percentage of .909, but the simple truth is that a low-scoring series favors the Blue Jackets.
Columbus finishes their checks, blocks a ton of shots and does a great job of cycling the puck. Head coach John Tortorella is very effective at rotating his lines and the Blue Jackets know how to win close games, as evidenced by their league-high 20 victories in one-goal contests.
They also know a little bit about winning as an underdog against a high-scoring team: they swept the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had won the Presidents' Trophy and led the NHL in goals, as the No. 8 seed in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
Columbus needs to generate more scoring chances, so getting a healthy Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson back will be a big boost. This should be a closer series than the oddsmakers seem to think, which makes the underdog Blue Jackets the better value play.
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