Kent Tukeli | Thu 12/04/2018 - 14:04 EDT

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs: Toronto Targets First Series Win Since 1959

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs: Toronto Targets First Series Win Since 1959

Boston Vs Toronto - Game One Betting Preview

My Team's Next MatchToronto Maple Leafs

NHL odds and lines courtesy of Sports Interaction

Moneyline: Toronto (+130) :: Boston (-150)

The Boston Bruins finished the regular season with 47 regulation and overtime victories and only three shootout wins, earning the second-best ROW in the league. Toronto accumulated 42 ROW and seven shootout wins – the latter stat the most in the NHL. Appropriately, the Bruins will be considered strong favorites to open the first round with a straight up victory in Beantown at a relatively expensive -150. Bruce Cassidy will likely finish second in Jack Adams voting, and he’ll leverage home advantage to win the matchup game in the opener.

Puckline: Toronto +1.5 (-200) :: Boston -1.5 (+170)

Despite the Bruins wealth of grit and playoff experience, Toronto matches up well against Boston, which should result in a tightly-contested series. Since Matthews joined the Leafs, Boston’s beaten the puckline only once, during a 4-1 Bruins win in Toronto on February 3rd. As such, the Toronto puckline will be the safest bet of the evening. Boston’s shown the ability to blow out opponents during the regular season, but a +170 reward isn’t worth the risk of betting on a two-goal win against a close rival.

Over/Under: Over 6.0 (-105) :: Under 6.0 (-115)

Both clubs feature explosive offensive talent, with Toronto finishing third in scoring and Boston netting the sixth most goals during the regular season. However, the Leafs and the Bruins combined for five goals in three of four meetings in 2017-18. The odds reflect this trend, with the under listed as a slight favorite compared to over. Boston allowed the second fewest shots this year, which implies that scoring will be scarce for the Leafs, especially with the Bruins dictating matchups on home ice.

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Betting Trends

The Toronto Maple Leafs emerged on top of head-to-head meetings this season, winning three of four games against the Bruins by a margin of 12-10, suggesting a closer matchup than the results suggest. In terms of playoff meetings, Boston and Toronto rarely face each other, with the last post season clash resulting in an infamous third-period collapse by Toronto in 2013. The Maple Leafs are a completely different club, which should create another competitive series during the 2018 NHL playoffs. 

  • Maple Leafs Haven’t Won Playoff Series Versus Bruins Since 1959
  • Toronto Beat Boston In Three Of Four Regular Season Meetings
  • Bruins Allowed Third Fewest Goals Against In 2017-18
  • Maple Leafs Scored Second Most Goals In NHL
  • Boston +56 Goal Differential; Toronto +45 Goal Differential

The NHL playoffs tend to revolve around specific player matchups, as coaches attempt to tilt the ice in their favor by placing skaters in a position to succeed. Boston bench boss Bruce Cassidy will leverage home advantage to the fullest extent in game one, focusing on shutting down Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, the Leafs most dynamic forwards. Four-time Selke winner Patrice Bergeron will restrict Matthews space, while Chara will avoid small, shifty strikers like Marner.

Brad Marchand might present the most difficult matchup problem for the Leafs. Marchand had 85 points in 68 games, which projects to a 100-point season if he didn’t miss time due to injury and suspension. He produces in all situations, including even strength, power play and shorthanded, making him tough to shadow. Nazem Kadri will likely oppose Bergeron and Marchand – if Nazem succeeds in disrupting the first line, Boston becomes extremely beatable.

One of the less obvious narratives of this series would be the importance of the Bruins and Maple Leafs young defenders. If Krug and McAvoy outplay Reilly and Gardener, this will be a long series for Toronto. Veterans like Chara and Hainsey will provide crucial services as experienced, stalwart defenders, but they no longer have the foot speed to make an impact in both zones, especially against speed demons like Marchand and Matthews.

Bruins vs Maple Leafs Game 1 Prediction

Facing the Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals in the 2017 playoffs was a tough draw, but the Leafs managed to overcome expectations by winning a pair of games and instilling a brief moment of panic in Washington faithful. Unfortunately for Toronto, the Bruins might be a more difficult matchup than the Capitals last season, ironic considering the Leafs third-best record in the eastern conference.

The most significant disparity between these teams is quality of defense. Boston simply doesn’t allow a lot of opportunities for opponents, restricting the volume of shots on goal. The Bruins top line of Bergeron-Marchand-Pasternak defend extremely well, flipping dominant play in their own zone into buckets of goals. Toronto conceded the fourth-most shots on goal, relying heavily on the elite netminding of Frederik Andersen along with strong backup work from Curtis McElhinney. Leafs defenseman unfairly receive most of the blame, because defense has been a team-wide issue.

Despite these criticisms, Toronto’s defense isn’t a complete disaster, which should result in an extremely competitive series. Boston’s likely to earn a low-scoring, one-goal victory as both clubs ratchet up their focus on defense in game one. Selecting the Bruins moneyline at -150 is a solid bet, with the Maple Leafs +1.5 puckline offering the safest wager at -200. In terms of the series, the Boston Bruins look like solid candidates to advance in six or seven games.

Boston Bruins Win Straight Up (-150)

Category : MLB

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