NHL Betting Preview (April 8): Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

The Toronto Maple Leafs inch closer and closer to figuring out their exact playoff seeding, and on Monday night, they have an opportunity to build on their point totals while making things a lot more difficult for some old friends, as they take on Kyle Dubas, Michael Bunting, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. This game will have no shortage of star power and means a lot to both sides, so excitement should be high. Let’s break down what exactly is at stake for the two sides.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Penguins

TOR -160
PIT +135

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The Maple Leafs are home favourites, coming in at about -160 on the moneyline depending on which sportsbook you play with.

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Best Odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-153 @ Pinnacle
Penguins Moneyline Odds+138 @ Pinnacle
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (+160) @ Pinnacle
Penguins +1.5 (-170) @ Bet99
Total Over 6.5 goals (-103) @ NorthStar Bets
Under 6.5 goals (-106) @ Pinnacle
Time/DateApril 8, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet 1
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Betting the Maple Leafs (44-23-9 SU, 31-45 ATS, 40-34-2 o/u)

This Saturday was a kind one to the Maple Leafs, who absorbed the bright lights of the Bell Centre on Hockey Night in Canada and made the most of them. After a quiet first period, the Maple Leafs exploded for four unanswered goals in five and a half minutes in the second, including an Auston Matthews tally that puts him just one away from the most single-season goals in the salary cap era.

Montreal did respond back a bit before the frame could experie, with Nick Suzuki taking advantage of a borderline power play and Cole Caufield adding his 23rd goal of the season with 90 seconds remaining. We also saw some fisticuffs, as Ryan Reaves responded to a hit by Michael Pezzetta on David Kampf with a rather one-sided bout. From there, a dull third period carried the game home.

With the win, Toronto sits five points back of Florida for second in the Atlantic with two games in hand, giving them a chance to potentially flip home ice with a strong finish. They also remain four points ahead of Tampa Bay, keeping them out of the wild card. Another win tonight would be key in building a further buffer.

Betting the Penguins (36-30-11 SU, 37-40 ATS, 33-39-5 o/u)

After being written off over the past few weeks, the Penguins are on a late-season run that might just get them into the postseason. A four-game winning streak that has seen them take on some serious opponents – the Rangers, Devils, Capitals, and Lightning, has them just one point out of the second wild-card spot with five games to go.

To get ahead of the Red Wings, though, there is little margin for error, especially with Detroit beating Buffalo on Sunday. That makes this game all the more important for them, especially with the Wings, Bruins, Predators, and Islanders ahead of them. There are no easy nights left for the group, and they’re going to have to dig deep to make the most of it.

A surprise helper has come in former Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting, who seemingly came to the team as a salary cap dump from the Carolina Hurricanes when Pittsburgh moved on from Jake Guentzel at the trade deadline. Impressively, Bunting has produced at almost the same clip as Guentzel for the Penguins since the move, notching 13 points in 16 games, including a pivotal game-winner on Saturday against Tampa.

Last Matchup

These two teams haven’t faced each other since a blowout by the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena in November, in which Toronto had one of its best nights of the season. Matthew Knies got the party started about two minutes in and was followed up in the first by goals from Mitch Marner and a first NHL tally for Bobby McMann (which, in hindsight, feels like it came a lot later in the year than you’d expect). Max Domi, John Tavares, and Noah Gregor expanded on the lead in the second, and with six minutes remaining, William Nylander capped off the 7-0 domination.

Projected Penguins and Leafs Lines

Today’s Toronto Maple Leafs LinesToday’s Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Max Domi
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Matthew Knies – Pontus Holmberg – William Nylander
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves

Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – TJ Brodie

Starting In Goal
Ilya Samsonov
22-6-7, 3.03 GAA, 0.893 SV%
Drew O’Connor – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Michael Bunting – Evgeni Malkin – Rickard Rakell
Reilly Smith – Lars Eller – Emil Bemstrom
Jesse Puljujarvi – Jeff Carter – Valtteri Puustinen

Pierre-Olivier Joseph – Kris Letang
Emil Pettersson – Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea – Jack St. Ivany

Starting In Goal
Alex Nedeljkovic
16-6-6, 2.82 GAA, 0.908 SV%

The Maple Leafs aren’t expected to change much about their winning formula from Saturday, with no projected injuries or returns and no overt reason to shuffle the lines.

Pittsburgh’s lineup is a fascinating one, with a mix of currently great players, past greats, and players that some may never have heard of. This is particularly evident on the blue line, where Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson are giants in a sea of generic depth guys.

Auston Matthews to score a goal


Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Injury Concerns

The Maple Leafs have no new updates as of early Monday, with their usual IR list (Jarnkrok, Liljegren, Edmundson) still on the road to recovery.

For the Penguins, they’re without Matt Nieto (knee), Jansen Harkins (hand), Noel Acciari (lower body), Ryan Graves (concussion), and potentially without John Ludvig (illness).

  • The Maple Leafs and Penguins have split their last 10 games against each other, with each winning five games. The puckline is also a 5-5 split, and the total goals line has been surpassed in six of those games. Toronto has wins in three of the last four meetings.
  • Toronto are 6-4 in their last 10 games, with a 7-3 record against the puckline and a 5-5 split against the total goals line.
  • Pittsburgh are also 6-4 in their last 10, with an identical record against the puckline and total goals line. Notably, they’re 3-0 straight-up and against the puckline in their last three road games.
  • Auston Matthews continues to lead the way for the Maple Leafs, scoring nine goals and nine assists over Toronto’s last 10 games – both numbers leading the group. He’s also taken a whopping 55 shots on goal, which unsurprisingly also leads the Leafs.
  • Bobby McMann’s stick is starting to heat up again, with five goals in Toronto’s last 10 games.
  • Sidney Crosby is doing his best to drag his team into the postseason, scoring seven goals and 10 assists in Pittsburgh’s last 10 games. Erik Karlsson leads the team in shots on goal across that stretch with 27.

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs Predictions

  • Auston Matthews continues his hunt for 70 goals, currently sitting at 64 after adding another tally to the collection on Saturday. The best value for his anytime goal prop is -118 at Betano.
  • John Tavares had nine shots on goal the last time Toronto faced Pittsburgh, and it has been a while since he’s popped off for a particularly active night. I’d consider him over at over 3.5 shots on goal, which you can get the best value on at Pinnacle (+136).
  • With how hot Michael Bunting is right now, and the fact that he picked up a goal against Toronto in his only game against them this year (as a Hurricane), I’d keep an eye on him to dip again. The best value for an anytime goal can be found at FanDuel (+300), and the best value for a point can be found at FanDuel (+112).

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