Tue 10/04/2018 - 12:13 EDT

Leaf Report: The 2018 Playoffs Have Arrived

Leaf Report: The 2018 Playoffs Have Arrived

Toronto Is A +120 Round 1 Underdog

The Toronto Maple Leafs always knew they'd be underdogs in the opening round whether they faced Boston or Tampa Bay, and now it's time for this team to try and show some growth. The young Leafs got their feet wet in postseason play a year ago and now the goal has to be some damage now that they are back here. However, this first round series was always going to be tough and the Leafs definitely have their work cut out for them.

Those Leafs fans that love to use season series results as support for some hope in Round 1 can point to Toronto's 3-1 SU mark against the Bruins this year. Splitting the games in Boston during the season would be a huge result if Toronto can duplicate it during Games 1 and 2 of this series, especially with the Bruins still looking to get as healthy as they can by the time puck drops on Thursday evening for Game 1. Stealing an early game isn't out of the question for Toronto in this series, and it's almost a must if they want to advance.

My Team's Next MatchToronto Maple Leafs

Yet, as a bettor, I'm not sure the Leafs have a tremendous amount of value at +120 for the series. I mean, to advance they are going to have to win at least one on the road and they are already in the +130 range as a road underdog in Game 1. Even at home, Toronto closed at -133 and +107 numbers in their two home victories over the Bruins this year. So, it's not like you've got to lay a lot of chalk on Toronto at home in a game-by-game approach as opposed to the series. You can always cash a +120 and better ticket for Toronto to just win Game 1 and then reevaluate your approach then. That is if you like Toronto to advance...

Boston Is Built For Extended Playoff Run

If the Boston Bruins don't find themselves in at least a Conference Final this year you already know they'll be lamenting about the big time injury bug that has inflicted their season and what could have been if it wasn't the case. But Boston has had enormous injury concerns all year long and are still nowhere near as healthy as their best lineup could be. Yet, they are slowly getting healthier, and with it being the playoffs, you know guys like Rick Nash, Sean Kuraly, and Riley Nash aren't looking to be in street clothes for long. 

Boston was one of the better teams in the league by most metrics out there and they present a huge challenge for any playoff team, even if they aren't at full strength. But if either of the Nash's come back early, this Bruins team will be lethal, despite what their season series record with Toronto suggests. Remember, Boston was the team playing on that last day of the regular season as -300ish home favourites against Florida. A win and they win the division and play New Jersey in Round 1, a loss as -300 home favourites and they get the Maple Leafs. I'm not saying the Bruins "tanked away" Game 82, but they couldn't have minded having a series with Toronto as the consolation prize.

So Who You Got?

From a betting perspective, there really is two different ways to attack this series depending on who you like. If you are an upset mentality and think that Toronto can exercise their demons against Boston, taking a game-by-game money line approach may prove more profitable. You aren't going to lay that much chalk at home, and any road wins at plus money will make up for lost home games at juicier odds. And if four losses come first, a series wager wouldn't have won anyways. Keep conscious of bet sizing as always though if going this route.

In the case of liking Boston, laying the -140 or -145 juice for the series is the better way to go. Boston should always be at least that in their four home games, and while road wins aren't necessary, chances are their will be at least one and this way you don't have to try and time the series out right to predict which road game that will be for the Bruins. You'll take four wins before four losses in any fashion and that does ease some of the tension on a game-to-game basis.

Personally, I'm rolling with the latter option here as the Bruins keep haunting this Maple Leafs franchise with another playoff series victory. We may indeed see some growth from Toronto (as going 7 games would technically be considered "growth"), but it may be another year or two before we see Toronto go on that long playoff run their fans have been desperately waiting years for.

Pick: Boston Bruins To Win Series (-143)

Odds courtesy of SportsInteraction.

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Category : NHL

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