Auston Matthews’ Historic Run Paying Dividends For Leafs And Bettors Alike

Co-written by Jeff Veillette & Andy MacNeil

Last night saw the Toronto Maple Leafs carry home a fifth consecutive win for the first time this season, defeating the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 at a small, but packed, Mullett Arena. There were other nice storylines here – Toronto scoring a goal in 200 consecutive games, the team sweeping the length of Morgan Rielly’s suspension, and a first-time homecoming for rookie Matthew Knies, but the star of the show was Auston Matthews, who potted his 50th and 51st goals of the season in just his 54th game.

While it isn’t quite the “50-in-50” run that has only been accomplished officially by four players in NHL history, it’s still one of the fastest runs we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s the fastest that any player has hit the mark since Mario Lemieux hit an official 50-in-50 back in 1995/96, and the fastest any American player has hit it, breaking the previous pace of 62 games set by Kevin Stevens in 1992/93 and matched by Matthews himself two years ago.

How Important Has Matthews’ Run Been For Toronto?

While the vanity of this chase has been fun enough as it is – seeing a mega-star player create their magnum opus is always a sight to behold – it also couldn’t come at a better time for the Maple Leafs. This edition of the Toronto roster, while good enough to be in the playoff hunt, is not the powerhouse and contender that they’ve been in most of the past six years. With about a third of the season remaining, the team sits in third in the Atlantic Division, with the second seed just barely being closer to them than being out of the playoffs entirely.

The reasoning for that is multi-faceted, between injuries, an awful start to the year for Ilya Samsonov, a defensive corps that is aging in the wrong areas, and most relevantly, a lack of secondary scoring. While Toronto sits fourth in the league in goals for, a quarter of those goals come directly from Matthews’ stick, and over half of them come from the “Core Four” of Matthews (51), William Nylander (31), Mitch Marner (22) and John Tavares (16). Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi were brought in with the understanding that the team would be sacrificing defence for offence, but have only combined for 12 goals. Bobby McMann has been a recent revelation with seven goals in his last five games, but that’s a very recent development that has not been a pattern across the depths of the lineup.

Auston Matthews to score vs. Vegas, Feb. 22


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Bettors might recognize the culmination of these problems in Toronto’s putrid record against the puckline this year. Despite a 31-16-8 record, the Leafs, who are typically on the -1.5 favourites side of the coin on most nights, are 19-36 in terms of meeting that expectation. While Toronto has put up six multi-goal wins in their last 10 games, they only had nine in their first 44. Games have been won by the skin of their teeth for many stretches, and despite ranking 11th in the NHL in points percentage, Toronto only sits 19th in regulation wins with 21.

This makes a year above expectations from Matthews all the more important, especially when you look at when he’s scored the goals. Matthews’ tallies this year have been insanely high-leverage.

PlayerGoals (Down 1)PlayerGoals (Tied)
Auston Matthews15Sam Reinhart17
Jonathan Marchessault8David Pastrnak15
Steven Stamkos8Auston Matthews15
David Pastrnak7Carter Verhaeghe13
Four Others7Nikita Kucherov11

Of Matthews’ 51 goals, 30 have come in game-tying or go-ahead situations, and another nine more come as insurance goals when the Leafs are up one. “Auston Matthews, score within one” is tied for second in the NHL in goals, trailing only his full self. “Auston Matthews, down one or tied” is tied for 11th. For a team that has struggled to peel away from games where they should be better, the value of the tallies and when he scores them cannot be overstated.

How Profitable Is Auston Matthews?

The 26-year-old has scored 37 goals in his last 33 games, scoring at least one goal in all but nine games during that stretch, so backing Matthews to score an anytime goal has been a profitable strategy.

Betting $100 on Matthews to score a goal in every game since the start of December would have netted an impressive $1,125. However, even though Matthews scored 14 goals in his first 21 games, he only actually scored in seven out of those 21 games and that cost the $100 bettor $777. So, betting $100 on Matthews to score an anytime goal in all 54 games means you would have made $348 in total, which is a return on investment of about 6.5%.

Here’s a breakdown of Auston Matthews’ anytime goal odds to date:

DateOpponentGoalsOddsMoney Won
Feb 21, 24@ ARI2-122$82
Feb 19, 24@ STL1-118$85
Feb 17, 24vs ANA3-123$81
Feb 15, 24vs PHI3-112$89
Feb 13, 24vs STL0-117-$100
Feb 10, 24@ OTT1+115$115
Feb 7, 24vs DAL1-123$81
Feb 5, 24vs NYI0-137-$100
Jan 27, 24@ WPG1-108$93
Jan 24, 24vs WPG1+110$110
Jan 21, 24@ SEA1-104$96
Jan 20, 24@ VAN0-106-$100
Jan 18, 24@ CGY3-111$90
Jan 16, 24@ EDM1-104$96
Jan 14, 24vs DET0-126-$100
Jan 13, 24vs COL0-128-$100
Jan 11, 24@ NYI2-110$91
Jan 9, 24vs SJS1-129$78
Jan 6, 24@ SJS0-131-$100
Jan 3, 24@ ANA1-122$82
Jan 2, 24@ LAK0+106-$100
Dec 30, 23vs CAR0+109-$100
Dec 29, 23@ CBJ1-126$79
Dec 27, 23vs OTT0-114-$100
Dec 23, 23@ CBJ2-123$81
Dec 21, 23@ BUF1-113$88
Dec 19, 23vs NYR2+101$101
Dec 14, 23vs CBJ2-118$85
Dec 12, 23@ NYR2+111$111
Dec 11, 23@ NYI1+100$100
Dec 9, 23vs NSH2+102$102
Dec 7, 23@ OTT0-103-$100
Dec 2, 23vs BOS2+108$108
Nov 30, 23vs SEA0-105-$100
Nov 28, 23vs FLA0-102-$100
Nov 25, 23@ PIT0+111-$100
Nov 24, 23@ CHI0-114-$100
Nov 19, 23@ MIN1+102$102
Nov 17, 23@ DET0-113-$100
Nov 11, 23vs VAN0-102-$100
Nov 10, 23vs CGY0-106-$100
Nov 8, 23vs OTT0-131-$100
Nov 6, 23vs TBL2-107$93
Nov 4, 23vs BUF3-125$80
Nov 2, 23@ BOS1-102$98
Oct 31, 23vs LAK0-122-$100
Oct 28, 23@ NSH0-121-$100
Oct 26, 23@ DAL0-104-$100
Oct 24, 23@ WSH1-122$82
Oct 21, 23@ TBL0-121-$100
Oct 19, 23@ FLA0-139-$100

Will Auston Matthews Score 70 Goals?

Now the focus shifts to whether or not Matthews will become the first player to score 70-plus goals since 1992-93 or become the first player since 1990-91 to reach 80 goals. Of course, sportsbooks are offering odds on Matthews’ goal-scoring milestones, but I take issue with one-sided markets where you can’t bet on the other side. Sportsbooks will let bettors bet on Matthews, but they won’t let them bet against him, and that’s a feature for the books, not a bug.

70 Goals+115
75 Goals+800
80 Goals+1400
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