NHL Betting Preview (March 20): Capitals vs. Maple Leafs Odds

After a tough night at the office in Philadelphia, the Toronto Maple Leafs get a chance to shake things as soon as possible against the Washington Capitals. In some situations, the lack of rest would be seen as a problem. In this one, the ability to pull back the narrative as soon as possible might just be a blessing. Here’s what you need to know ahead of tonight’s puck drop in the U.S. capital.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Capitals

TOR -135
WSH +115

The Maple Leafs are road favourites, coming in at -135 on the moneyline at bet365. That number has pushed slightly closer to the Capitals overnight.

Maple Leafs vs. Capitals odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-135
Capitals Moneyline Odds+115
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+175), Capitals +1.5 (-210)
Total6.0 goals (over -120, under +100)
Time/DateMarch 20, 7:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Maple Leafs (38-20-9 SU, 24-43 ATS, 36-29-2 o/u)

In hindsight, it should’ve been obvious how last night’s game against the Flyers would go once it was confirmed that they would be making four noteworthy healthy scratches, including their captain Sean Couturier. For whatever reason, Toronto always finds a way to mess up the games with the craziest narrative arcs, and bold moves like that ahead of facing a team that has beaten you eight times in a row is exactly the kind of night where the Leafs would find a way to blow it.

Boy, did they ever. Depending on who you ask, some will tell you it was bad luck, others will tell you it was bad execution, and others will tell you it was bad effort. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t good. Owen Tippett opened the scoring for the Flyers just 19 seconds into the game, and by the end of the second, Travis Sanheim and Morgan Frost had followed him, leaving Toronto in a 3-0 shell shock through 40. As they often do, the buds decided to really show up to the game in the third, breaking the shutout with a William Nylander goal a minute in, and getting within one with 10 minutes to go. At the end of a failed power play, though, Max Domi made an errant pass that was quickly picked up and turned into the last bit of insurance the Flyers needed. John Tavares pulled the Leafs back within one, but it was too late at that point.

Again, the result is in the eye of the beholder here. Little mistakes led to a few of the goals against, but Toronto also hit six posts, but were also playing against a bubble team making statement scratches. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game that he didn’t like any of his players on the evening, so the pressure is on to show him something better tonight.

About the Capitals (33-25-9 SU, 33-34 ATS, 30-34-3 o/u)

The Capitals have been a roller coaster wrapped in a loose bag this season, with big losing and winning streaks throughout. Currently, they’ve been sitting on the latter, winning their last three games by a 9-4 combined score. It was a great way for them to wrap up a Western Conference road trip, starting off rocky with big losses to Winnipeg and Edmonton before locking down Seattle, Vancouver, and Calgary.

In a lot of ways, it’s felt like the purpose of this Caps team is almost solely to get Alex Ovechkin to 895 career goals, with any team success beyond that being merely coincidental. Well, don’t tell that to the players, who have clawed their way into the playoff mix this season. Incredibly, they’re doing it despite an anemic offence, which has scored the fourth-fewest goals in the league. Timely and small victories have kept a team that’s -26 in goal differential just a point out of a playoff spot with two games in hand. Whether they can keep it up remains to be seen, but they’re firmly in the mix.

Last Matchup

We have to go back to October for the last game between these two teams – for Toronto, their sixth game of the season. Also included in a road trip, the Leafs had the type of result they’d love to carry into tonight, going up 1-0 in the first period off a Morgan Rielly power-play tally, adding three more goals in the second, and conceding just one tally to Ovechkin before shutting the Caps down the rest of the way.

Projected Lineups

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Washington Capitals Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Pontus Holmberg
Bobby McMann – Max Domi – William Nylander
Matthew Knies – John Tavares – Nick Robertson
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves

Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Joel Edmundson – Timothy Liljegren

Starting In Goal
Joseph Woll
9-7-1, 2.89 GAA, 0.911 SV%
Alexander Ovechkin – Connor McMichael – TJ Oshie
Ivan Miroshnichenko – Dylan Strome – Tom Wilson
Max Pacioretty – Hendrix Lapierre – Sonny Milano
Beck Malenstyn – Nic Dowd – Aliaksei Protas

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin – Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev – Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Starting In Goal
Charlie Lindgren
18-11-5, 2.59 GAA, 0.915 SV%

The Maple Leafs could make some changes given the back-to-back nature of this game, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Looking at Washington’s roster, there are some pretty interesting stories about, such as Max Pacioretty’s insistence on sticking around at the trade deadline rather than chasing a ring, Ivan Miroshnichenko’s return from Hodgkin’s disease, and T.J. Oshie clearing the 1000-game mark this week.

Auston Matthews to score a goal


Key Injuries

The Maple Leafs have no injury updates that didn’t already exist yesterday. Still waiting for Marner, still unsure about when we’ll see Jarnkrok and Giordano again. Business as usual.

For the Capitals, they’re short-term healthy. Nicklas Backstrom has out since November and might not ever return, but beyond him, the team is without an IR list of any sort right now.

  • The Maple Leafs are 6-4 against the Capitals in their last 10 games against them, dating back to February 2019. They’ve won the last two games in this matchup, along with six of the last seven, dating back to February 2022.
  • The Leafs are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 3-7 against the puckline. They’ve split the total goals line with five overs and five unders. Yesterday’s game and their loss to Carolina were Toronto’s first pair of back-to-back losses since a four-game skid between January 11-16th.
  • The Capitals are 6-4 in their last 10 games, matching the result against the puckline. On the total goals line, their last 10 games have featured five overs, four unders, and a push.
  • Washington are 4-1 straight-up, against the puckline, and in favour of the total goals over in their last five home games.
  • After a slow start to the year, Alexander Ovechkin has been heating up again over the past few weeks. Presently, he leads the Capitals in goals over their last 10 games with five, co-leads them in points with 10, and leads them in shots on goal with 37. He only has 21 goals and 52 points throughout the 64 games he’s played this season, but has been over a point per game since New Year’s.
  • Splitting the honours for most productive player in Washington’s last 10 games with Ovi is Dylan Strome, who picked up his 10 points in the form of a pair of goals and eight assists.
  • Don’t look now, but John Tavares now has eight points in his last 10 games, including five goals. A three-point effort against the Flyers yesterday helped things, with the captain factoring in on all three goals of Toronto’s third-period push.

Wagers To Consider

  • With Auston Matthews only having goals in three of his last 11 games, he’s in danger of losing this automatic spot here. I wouldn’t blame you if you’re less tempted now to take the super-sniper than you were two weeks ago. However, he’s overdue for a pop, and a game against the last scoring king would be a great time to show it, so keep him in mind at -125 anytime. Matthews has goals in his last three games against the Caps, and points in his last five.
  • Speaking of the last scoring king, Alex Ovechkin’s anytime goal line is set to +145. The Leafs used to be one of Ovechkin’s most dominant matchups until a couple of years ago, scoring 41 goals and 73 points in his first 50 games against them. This has tapered in the past three years, but he did score in their last matchup, along with taking an insane 14 shots. His shot line is set to 3.5, and between that performance and the 37 that he’s taken in his last 10, I’d give it a good thought at +110.
  • If you think Toronto’s woes continue and they end up in their first proper losing streak in months, a boosted same-game parlay featuring a Caps win, a John Carlson assist, and an Ovechkin goal could pay serious dividends at +550 (up from +500).
  • I get the feeling that this will end up a sloppier game than given credit for, with Toronto trying to snap its offensive woes and Washington looking to keep up and exceed its single goal from the last night out. Look to the total over -120 as an option.

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