bet365 NHL Odds, Preview: Maple Leafs vs Blue Jackets (Dec 23)

After falling apart catastrophically in the second half of their game on Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an opportunity to bounce back against a team whom they had one of their best finishes against. While Toronto didn’t quite beat the Columbus Blue Jackets last time around, they did leave a heck of a scare and are hoping their third period last week will turn into three full periods tonight. Let’s look ahead to the game at hand:

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets

TOR -240
CBJ +195

The Leafs are heavily favoured at -240, with an odds gap that has only widened since yesterday.

Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-240
Blue Jackets Moneyline Odds+195
Puck Line oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+100), Columbus +1.5 (-120)
Total Goals line7.0 goals (over -125, under +105)
Time/DateDec. 23, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CBC, Sportsnet
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Maple Leafs (16-8-6 SU, 8-22 ATS, 18-11-1 o/u)

The Maple Leafs are licking their wounds after one of their worst losses in recent history. For the first time since 2014 and second since 1991, the team allowed nine goals in a single game – shockingly, an occurrence that’s a lot less frequent than most of the league, but no less embarrassing when it happens regardless.

Things were bad from the start, with Jordan Greenway floating what should’ve been an easy save past Ilya Samsonov just two and a half minutes in. Auston Matthews tied the game and Max Domi gave Toronto a lead within the ten minutes that followed, but Buffalo was back on top three minutes after that and showed no interest in stopping. The goals continued into the second, with Rasmus Dahlin scoring on a Buffalo powerplay and Calle Jarnkrok responding with a shorthanded tally not long after, but a Tage Thompson goal just before the midway point of the period ended Ilya Samsonov’s night. Martin Jones went in, and wasn’t much better, allowing four of his own. The two combined for nine goals against while facing just 34 shots, though Toronto’s defensive effort wasn’t exactly the most generous either.

Buffalo has had a habit of giving the Leafs some tough losses, especially when they’re hosting, so you hope this is a game you can burn the tape from and move beyond quickly. All the same, it’s not a result you want to see again, as it went from bad to demoralizing in a hurry both for the players, and those watching.

About the Blue Jackets (11-17-6 SU, 21-13 ATS, 20-14 o/u)

Not much has changed in Columbus since the last time we touched base. They’re still having a very touch-and-go season, no one is safe from being benched or scratched, and it’s safe to say the end result here isn’t going to be a playoff spot earned by the power of friendship.

Since that wild last game against the Leafs, the Blue Jackets have lost two of three, falling 6-3 to New Jersey last Saturday and 2-1 to Washington on Thursday. In between was a 9-4 win over Buffalo, where the Jackets scored seven unanswered goals across a span of just 22 minutes, potentially giving the Sabres that extra fuel that led to the above disaster for Toronto. So maybe tonight is a big circular, with Toronto their frustrations out on Columbus, as revenge for how Buffalo took their frustrations out on Toronto, due to their loss against Columbus.

Also, Kirill Marchenko picked up a Natural Hat Trick in that game. The 23-year-old is on pace for 33 this year, after having a 2022/23 year that had a goal/assist balance (21 goals, 4 assists) that hockey fans like to call a “Cy Young” ratio, after MLB’s pitching award.

Last Matchup

If you’re a Leafs fan, this game is still burned in your head and will be for a long time. Toronto pulled off one of the greatest single-period comebacks in the history of the league and still managed to lose the game. Columbus took an early two-goal lead in the first twelve minutes of the game and widened that gap to five by the end of the second period. From the first minute to the last of the third, though, it was all Toronto, slowly chipping from 5-0 to 5-1, all the way to 5-5. In overtime, however, Kent Johnson did spoil the fun and send Columbus home with some relief, winning the game with his second of the night and third of the year.

Projected Lineups

Toronto Maple LeafsColumbus Blue Jackets
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nicholas Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann – David Kampf – Noah Gregor

Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Jake McCabe – Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit – William Lagesson

Starting In Goal
Martin Jones (probable)
3-1-0, 3.27 GAA, 0.907 SV%
Johnny Gaudreau – Adam Fantilli – Justin Danforth
Yegor Chinakov – Dmitri Voronkov – Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson – Cole Sillinger – Emil Bemstrom
Brendan Gaunce – Sean Kuraly – Alexandre Texier

Zach Werenski – Erik Gudbranson
Ivan Provorov – Andrew Peeke
Jake Bean – David Jiricek

Starting In Goal
Daniil Tarasov
1-1-0, 4.60 GAA, 0.845 SV%

The Maple Leafs suffered a bad loss, and you know what that means – swap Marner and Nylander and call it a day! Yeah, even as someone who doesn’t have many issues with the coaching staff, I kind of roll my eyes every time I see that that’s their big reactionary play. Either way, we’ll see if it shakes up the dynamic of the top six tonight.

Columbus is Columbus. Like the last game, their Top 9 is a little more worrisome than given credit for, with a star and a future star on the top line, a creative second line, and a couple of young guns patrolling the third. That last trio gave Toronto a particularly hard time the last time around.

Auston Matthews to score a goal


Key Injuries

The Maple Leafs remain as they were. Columbus is very beat up. Damon Severson is out with an oblique injury, though he might be available tonight. Adam Boqvist is recovering from a shoulder strain. Jack Roslovic fractured his ankle in November, Boone Jenner has a fractured jaw, and Patrik Laine has a fractured clavicle

  • Toronto are 5-5 in their last ten games against Columbus, which given their perennial favourite status against them, is pretty rough. If you were betting the Leafs equally on the puck line for all of those games, you’d be 2-8 and down about 5.3 units.
  • Overall, Toronto are 5-5 in their last ten, 4-6 against the puck line, and 9-1 on the goals over. On the road, they’re 4-6, 1-9, and 6-4 respectively.
  • Columbus are 4-6 in their last ten, 6-4 against the puck line, and 7-3 on the total goals over. At home, they’re 4-6, 7-3, and 6-3 respectively.
  • Johnny Gaudreau and Yegor Chinakhov lead the Blue Jackets in scoring over the last ten games, each picking up 10 points. Chinakhov is tied with Kirill Marchenko for the goal lead with six a piece.
  • Look out for rookie Adam Fantilli, who is catching a groove of late. He has 5 goals and 4 assists in his last ten games, along with 26 shots on goal.
  • Over in Toronto, Auston Matthews watch is now getting silly – he has 12 goals and 17 points in his last 10 games, along with 43 shots. Amazingly, he’s only third on the team in shots on goal over this stretch, with William Nylander taking 44 and John Tavares taking 45.

Wagers To Consider

  • I feel weird dipping back toward a hand that’s this hot, but Auston Matthews seemed pretty ticked off by Thursday’s loss, calling it arguably the worst since he joined the team in 2016. He sits at -190 for a goal, +155 to clear 1.5 points, and +600 for 3+ points.
  • Adam Fantilli has 13 shots in his last 5 games and a line of +100 to clear 2.5 tonight. I know he likely still wants a goal against his hometown (though not childhood favourite!) team, especially after hitting the post in the last game, so I can see him coming out hard.
  • The total goals over feels right tonight. I don’t have the same confidence in Jones that I did last Saturday, and I think both teams have a lot they want to prove after how their last game against others, and their last game against each other have gone. Plus at a 7.0 line, you get a bit of push protection as well.