bet365 NHL Odds, Preview: Sharks vs. Maple Leafs (Jan. 9)

After sweeping their California road trip last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs get a bit of a bonus round in Tuesday night National Hockey League action. They’ll face the San Jose Sharks for a second consecutive night, hoping to increase their winning streak to four and the Sharks’ losing skid to a season-worst 12. Let’s look at what it’ll take to push the result in that direction.

Bet on Maple Leafs vs. Sharks

TOR -450
SJS +350

The Maple Leafs are whopping -450 home moneyline favourites at bet365.

Maple Leafs vs. Sharks odds

Maple Leafs Moneyline Odds-450
Sharks Moneyline Odds+350
Puckline oddsMaple Leafs -1.5 (-165), Sharks +1.5 (+140)
Total6 goals (over -125, under +105)
Time/DateJan. 9, 7:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

All odds courtesy of

About the Maple Leafs (20-10-7 SU, 12-25 ATS, 19-17-1 o/u)

Also known as the “About William Nylander” special

Over in Toronto, the big story going into this game isn’t about recent play. Yes, going for three-for-three in California, especially with an opening win against Los Angeles is great. But you know what’s better? Locking in one of your best players for the long haul.

Monday marked the official conclusion of the William Nylander contract saga, as the 27-year-old signed an eight-year, $92 million contract extension that will carry an AAV (annual average value) of $11.5 million. The deal is the biggest by total salary in Maple Leafs history, and the second-biggest by AAV, only behind Auston Matthews’ summer extension.

My feelings towards the deal are mixed. On one hand, it’s incredibly hard to mess up signing a superstar – while you can be overpaid against your peers, superstars, on the whole, tend to be underpaid for what they create for their teams and the scarcity of their talent level. With that in mind, you almost always want to keep the player at all costs over letting them walk over max efficiency, especially when it’s a player you’re very familiar with, who puts in the work to get better, and is well-liked within the organization, even if they can occasionally be polarizing amongst parts of the fanbase.

At the same time, the final price tag is more reflective of this season – where he’s producing at a pace that’s 32 points higher than any year before it – than any of the years before it. Given that this is such a big spike so late in a typical player’s prime age, there’s some risk at hand, especially when paired with a career-high on-ice shooting percentage for himself and his linemates. One could also argue, though, that part of this leap is simply him finally being allowed to play big minutes for the first time in his career, and being handed more responsibility that would’ve previously been given to the rest of the “Core 4”. It’s an interesting back-and-forth, but still brings you back to the point where this has to be the new normal of sorts for much of the term.

The term is another issue of sorts, as it stretches to the maximum of eight years. Elliotte Friedman seemed to imply on Saturday that the Leafs stepped up some of the AAV to secure those back years, something that Matthews’ representation also offered but they didn’t pursue there. For me, paying for those years seems a bit backward compared to pursuing, say, a five-year deal, which isn’t making the same bets on his age 33, 34, and 35 seasons. While many are celebrating the stretched-out length due to past frustrations about not getting eight years on any of Nylander, Matthews, or Mitch Marner’s second contracts, that emotional response doesn’t negate the fact that chasing term on the third contract is less valuable than the second deal, where you’re not picking off as many (if any) post-prime years.

Combine these two factors – Nylander getting paid at a rate that focuses on this year, and him getting the max term, and you start to wonder what exactly the Leafs negotiated in their favour. Add in the usual front-loaded and signing-bonus-laden contract structure, and then add in a no-movement clause that stretches across the entire contract, and you’re left very, very confused about what exactly they got here beyond the right of first refusal. In a lot of ways, this reminds me a lot of the Mitch Marner contract in 2019, where the player’s camp was able to hold onto an ask in a different stratosphere and keep most of it with a slow trickle until the Leafs caved. To go back to the original point about it being difficult to overpay superstars, Marner has still by and large given the Leafs a value surplus in this time, even if his AAV came in about 20% higher than most reasonable projections had him coming in at.

I expect Nylander will be the same for most of the deal, with some risk for trouble at the end of the deal when he’ll be approaching the back end of his career and still carrying the equivalent of a $7.8 million contract in today’s dollars (assuming max 5% increases to the cap ceiling every year), with limited flexibility to move him if needed. Ultimately, keeping the player at this price is preferable to letting him go, though they’ll have to be efficient with their spending surrounding him and the other stars moving forward.

Oh, and he’ll be trying to keep scoring against the Sharks tonight. There’s a game tonight, too. Back on topic.

About the Sharks (9-28-3 SU, 15-25 ATS, 15-22 o/u)

After Saturday’s game, the Sharks’ losing streak looks just that much worse, elevating to 11 games, all in regulation, and with just 16 goals across them, compared to 47 against. If this season wasn’t dead before the streak, it most certainly is now, and all they can hope for is that this all culminates in Macklin Celebrini wearing their jersey at the draft.

Outside of feeling pity for their situation, it might be worth zeroing in on some of their players ahead of the trade deadline, particularly up front. After all, the team is loaded with pending free-agent forwards, or players who are recently close. The UFA list includes the likes of Kevin Labanc, Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Justin Bailey, Ryan Carpenter, and former Leafs forward Alexander Barabanov. Mikael Granlund is also a potential option with some salary retention with one year remaining after this one, and a player the Leafs have been interested in under previous management, though that previous management also was quick to trade him out of Pittsburgh after he proved to be a bad fit there.

The players I would keep my eyes on here are Duclair and Carpenter. Duclair hasn’t been as productive as he was in previous years, but his speed and tenacity were assets to the Panthers last year, including against the Leafs in the playoffs. Carpenter is an option for the fourth line should the team not feel comfortable with the rookies or Ryan Reaves, who brings the ability to play centre or the wing and has a decent enough two-way game for a bottom-six role.

Last Matchup

It’s a long way away from Saturday, isn’t it? If nothing else, at least the game is a few thousand kilometres (or miles, for road readers) away from the last matchup.

If you watched this game, you don’t need the description. If you didn’t, it was a tidy culmination of the Leafs’ week, another no-frills, defensively sound, offensively good-enough performance that got the job done. Mitch Marner opened the scoring with five minutes remaining in the first period, potting his 15th of the year on a rare two-man advantage by blasting a one-timer off the wing.

Calle Jarnkrok added some insurance late in the second, and while Mikael Granlund would eventually put the Sharks on the board and end Martin Jones’ shutout bid, he was sandwiched by two goals by the man of the hour, as Nylander picked up his 20th and 21st on the season.

Projected Lineups

Toronto Maple LeafsSan Jose Sharks
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
6-3-0, 2.20 GAA, 0.930 SV%
William Eklund – Tomas Hertl – Alexander Barabanov
Fabian Zetterlund – Mikael Granlund –Anthony Duclair
Mike Hoffman – Luke Kunin – Justin Baley
Filip Zadina – Ryan Carpenter – Kevin Labanc

Mario Ferraro – Ty Emberson
Henry Thrun – Jan Rutta
Calen Addison – Nikita Okhotyuk

Starting In Goal
MacKenzie Blackwood
4-15-2, 3.84 GAA, 0.891 SV%

Toronto’s lineup is expected to stay the same as Saturday’s. San Jose’s is as well, but given the pre-game changes they made, the projected lineup is different from what we previewed on the weekend. With that said, it stands to reason we could see another shift before the game tonight.

William Nylander over 4.5 shots on goal


Key Injuries

The injury list remains the same for both teams tonight, except for Logan Couture. Couture was projected to make his season debut in last weekend’s game, but that never came to pass. It may happen tonight, but it’s not currently projected. Couture suffered a lower-body injury in the offseason and further aggravated it during initial recovery.

  • The Leafs are 7-3 against San Jose in the past 10 games between the two teams, dating back to January 2018. They’re 6-4 on the puckline and the total goals line is split with five overs and five unders.
  • Toronto’s last 10 overall is a very even 5-5 on the moneyline and puckline, though the California trip created a much streakier three-game swing. In that one, they went 3-0 on the moneyline (or actual results), 2-1 on the puckline, and were under all three times on the total goals line.
  • The Sharks are, as their losing streak would imply, 0-10 on the moneyline in their last 10. They’re also 1-9 against the puckline and have hit the total goals over in four of those games.
  • Mikael Granlund scored San Jose’s lone goal on Saturday and tied with Ty Emberson for the team lead in shots on goal with four. Over the last 10 games, he has two goals, five assists, and 20 shots on goal – those seven points lead the team.
  • Emberson quietly co-leads the blue line with six points in his last eight, after opening the year (and his NHL career) with a single point in his first 12 games. The Sharks claimed the 23-year-old off waivers from the Rangers in September.
  • Nylander’s three points on Saturday put him far ahead of his teammates in points over the last ten games, producing seven goals, nine assists, and 43 shots on goal.

Wagers To Consider

  • It’s the man of the hour’s “happy to stay home” night, right? I expect Nylander to be buzzing tonight. His shot line is at 4.5 (+110 over), his anytime goal prop is at -110, and a multi-point game sits at -120. I’d consider them in the order written, with the shot prop being the most likely.
  • If you think the Leafs blow the lid off this game after a quiet few nights offensively, you can get Nylander and John Tavares at 4+ shots on goal combined with the Leafs clearing 4.5 goals as a boosted Same Game Parlay at +500, up from +425. Tavares has been Mr. Reliable on shot props of late, though he landed a goose egg in the last game. One has to imagine there will be a determination to smash that tonight.
  • All the same, it’s hard to shake the inevitability of a stinker. Sweeping the road trip could create some false complacency, and as fun as Martin Jones has been, eventually he’s going to stop putting up Hasek numbers. It’s hard to go as far as approving the Sharks moneyline given just how bad they’ve been, but I wouldn’t entirely rule out the Leafs finding a way to lose this game, and the puckline at +140 might be worth considering.