bet365 NHL Betting Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Islanders Odds (Jan. 11)

Through all the ups and downs of the 2023/24 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally appear to be hitting a grove. They’ve been one of the league’s best teams by record over the past two months, and after a few rough defensive nights before New Year’s, they’ve allowed just three goals in their last four games – all with their starter and backup both being out of the lineup.

“New Year, New Leafs” has been a resounding success so far, though a New York Islanders team that has often given them trouble looks to do so again in Thursday night National Hockey League action.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Islanders

TOR -135
NYI +115

The Maple Leafs are moderate -135 road favourites on the moneyline at bet365, with the edge slightly shifting toward their favour overnight.

Maple Leafs vs. Islanders odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-135
Islanders Moneyline Odds+110
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+180), Islanders +1.5 (-220)
Total 6.5 goals (over -120, under +100)
Time/DateJan. 11, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Maple Leafs (21-10-7 SU, 13-25 ATS, 20-17-1 o/u)

It seems like the Maple Leafs have finally figured out how to play against minnows, at least for now. Or perhaps the Sharks are just that bad right now, that an upset is just that unachievable because Toronto looked like they were in a different league from their opponents on Tuesday.

From start to finish it was all Buds, with an early dominance on the shot clock turning into a late-first-period icebreaker from Morgan Rielly to set the tone. Seconds later, former Leafs forward Alexander Barabanov took a penalty, and seconds after that, Auston Matthews extended the lead with his league-leading 31st goal of the season. Opening the second, Mitch Marner and Pontus Holmberg stretched Toronto’s lead to four within the first two minutes and change, and while Henry Thrun would respond with his first NHL goal, Toronto added three more early in the third to remove all doubt.

It was a much-needed blowout performance for the Leafs, as crazy as it sounds. While they were catching a last-place team at rock bottom and are expected to win convincingly in those situations, they’ve had issues actually doing so, so delivering is still nice to see. The win is their second-biggest of the season by goal differential (only trailing the 7-0 win over Pittsburgh on Dec. 16) and gives them their second win streak of four games on the year. Tonight would be a great time to go for five.

About the Islanders (18-12-10 SU, 21-19 ATS, 24-14 o/u)

It’s been a very erratic season for the Islanders, who have had huge dips, big heaters, and a boatload of blown leads along the way. Right now, they’re in the “huge dips” state of mind, with a 1-3-1 record since New Year’s Eve, losing to Pittsburgh, Colorado, Vegas, and Vancouver.

It’s not their worst slump of the year – that goes to the seven in a row that they lost in early-mid November, but in a deep Metropolitan Division, there isn’t time for them to sit around. They currently find themselves in fourth by points, but New Jersey and Washington have higher points percentages, and Pittsburgh is right behind them, with a +14 goal differential to their -10.

The Islanders’ shot metrics over the year aren’t super encouraging, with a 45.3% share of the shot attempts at 5-on-5 (30th in the league), though they improve slightly with score adjustment and a little more on top of that if you opt for Expected Goals instead, implying a slightly better share of quality than quantity. Nevertheless, none of it looks all that exciting, and if it wasn’t for their ninth-ranked power play, one could argue the team would be in much bigger trouble.

Last Matchup

The last time the Leafs strolled through Belmont was back on Dec. 11, so a month ago today. They lost this one, but still left with some positive vibes. For one, they came back from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime. But even more importantly, captain John Tavares had a two-point effort to hit the 1,000 mark in his career, setting up the game-tying goal with seven seconds remaining against his former team. It was both a nice moment and a great little add to one of the NHL’s great villain arcs of recent years.

All that said, give credit where it’s due to the Islanders, as it took them just 46 seconds to swing the vibes back their way in overtime.

Projected Lineups

Toronto Maple LeafsNew York Islanders
Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Pontus Holmberg – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Noah Gregor – David Kampf – Bobby McMann

Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren

Starting In Goal
Martin Jones
8-3-0, 1.97 GAA, 0.934 SV%
Anders Lee – Bo Horvat – Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall – Brock Nelson – Kyle Palmieri
Simon Holmstrom – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Julien Gauthier
Matt Martin – TBD – Cal Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov – Noah Dobson
Adam Pelech – Scott Mayfield
Mike Reilly – Sebastian Aho

Starting In Goal
Ilya Sorokin
12-8-8, 3.20 GAA, 0.908 SV%

The Leafs skaters are likely to remain the same as they were projected to be against San Jose, though not the same as what they ended up putting out. Noah Gregor missed the game with the flu and Nick Robertson came in and even scored a goal, but is expected to come back out. Matthew Knies had a scare in practice yesterday morning, but he appears to be okay.

Another face returns to the bench in Ilya Samsonov, as the netminder has been called up from his refresher stint with the Marlies as of yesterday afternoon. While he did not play in any AHL action, the hope is that time away and some work with Marlies goalie coach Hannu Toivanen will do him some good. For now, he’ll be backing up Jones while he rides his hot streak.

What Jones has done in the last few weeks is incredible. Seriously, if I showed you the above two projected starters three months ago, you’d suspect I had the two stat lines mixed up, and then still been over the moon if Jones was giving you Sorokin’s results. But he’s been more than enough to get the job done in this moment, having some of the best performances of his career. Toronto’s defence has stepped up to make it a little less difficult on him, but no matter how good they are, you still have to stop the puck, and he’s stopping a ton of them.

Mitch Marner to score a power-play point


Key Injuries

Toronto doesn’t have any imminent changes on the injury front, though Joseph Woll has resumed skating as he continues his recovery from a high ankle sprain. Regardless of how well Jones is playing right now, this is huge news for the team in the long view.

The Islanders have a quadrant of injuries to deal with. Ryan Pulock’s lower-body injury that placed him on IR just before their last game against Toronto was escalated to LTIR before New Year’s. Robert Bortuzzo is on IR with a lower-body injury after attempting to come back last week, only making it through about eight minutes of ice time. Semyon Varlamov also injured himself in the same Jan. 2 game as Bortuzzo re-aggravated his injury, and has been placed on IR.

Lastly, New York announced this morning that Casey Cizikas is week-to-week with a lower-body injury, after blocking a Filip Hronek slap shot against the Canucks on Tuesday.

  • The Leafs are 6-4 in their past 10 games against the Islanders, dating back to April 2019. They’re 7-3 on the puckline and the total goals over has hit in six of those games. On the flip side, they’ve lost two of the last three against them, though all three were all high-scoring affairs.
  • Overall, Toronto is riding a four-game win streak, though the slump preceding it means they have just a 5-5 record across their last 10 games, which is also the case on the puckline.
  • The Islanders have lost four of their last five and six of their last 10. However, they’re 6-4 on the puckline, and they’ve hit the total goals over in six of those 10 games.
  • The Islanders’ top point-getter of the last 10 games is surprise, surprise, a tie between Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal. Horvat also co-leads the team in goals with four to go with his five assists, and Barzal leads the team in assists with eight to go with his one goal.
  • Brock Nelson leads the team in shots on goal over the last 10, with 31. He’s also not far off in the scoring department, with four goals and four assists, for eight points. Five of those points (3G 2A) have come in their last five games.

Wagers To Consider

  • I might be inclined to ride Mitch Marner right now. He’s been playing better hockey lately, and the results are starting to come. His shot line is set at 2.5 (-150) and he’s taken 33 in his last 10, clearing the 2.5 mark in his last six consecutive games. He’s also +145 for a goal, +160 to have a multi-point game, and +185 to get a power-play point. The shots and power play points lines are the ones most interesting to me.
  • The most interesting prop on the Same-Game boosted list features Bo Horvat and William Nylander both clearing three shots on goal, and both teams scoring three goals. That can be picked up at +450, up from +375.
  • With each team’s recent runs of form, I think a fifth consecutive win is attainable for the Maple Leafs here, and -135 is a decent moneyline. I’m a bit more cautious on the puckline, largely because I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on Jones’ miracle run, but if the Leafs can harness the heavy artillery they brought against San Jose and bring it into this game, it’s certainly not out of reach.