Leaf Report: Game 1 Vs Boston On Tap
Toronto Fans Look To Forget 2013
It won't be long into the broadcast of Game 1 of this Bruins/Leafs series before everyone is reminded about Toronto's devastating collapse against the Bruins back in 2013. It was then that the Leafs had a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining in Game 7, only to watch it vanish in the final minutes before ultimately losing in overtime. There aren't many holdovers on the Leafs from that series, but Toronto fans definitely haven't forgotten about that outcome and have to like the opportunity they now have to exercise some demons against the Bruins.
But as excited as Maple Leafs fans may be about getting another crack at Boston in that respect, they are by no means jumping up for joy with this first round opponent being the Bruins. Boston was one of the best teams in the NHL all year long, and although they lost on the final day to prevent them from claiming the division, had the Bruins not battled significant injuries all year long, we could be talking about a historically good team here. That's what Toronto has in front of them and without question deserve the underdog role.
Can Toronto Steal Game 1?
Toronto did go 3-1 SU against Boston during the regular season and that means that they did manage to win one game in Beantown. The stakes are considerably higher for Game 1, and as +120 moneyline underdogs (odds courtesy of SportsInteraction), the Leafs would love to steal one early. You know that with the whole 2013 collapse narrative as one of the major storylines for this series, no lead - within the series or an individual game - will be big enough for Toronto fans.
Can and will Toronto steal Game 1 are two very different questions that deserve to very different answers. Can the Leafs win Game 1? Yes, for sure they can, anything can happen during the postseason and all it takes is for one goalie to get hot and a team gets rolling.
Will the Leafs win Game 1? From my perspective that's highly unlikely as the Bruins are quite a bit healthier then the team Toronto so in the majority of those wins, and I do expect the Bruins to step up their level of play now that the playoffs are here. Boston knows all about the ghosts of 2013 looming over Toronto, and like a big brother that knows they can always beat up on little brother, Boston can use those doubts Toronto has to their advantage.
How To Bet Game 1
If you are like me and see the Bruins not only winning Game 1 but advancing through to the next round, laying the -140 on a game-by-game approach isn't a horrible idea. The Bruins should be on par with teams like Winnipeg and Pittsburgh in terms of price based on this matchup and those two teams closed Game 1 at home at -180 and -205 respectively. Oddsmakers can't come out with numbers like that on any Leafs game as they know Toronto will get pounded, and it's what makes there quite a bit of value in this play.
Going game-by-game is just an option if you don't prefer laying more chalk for the series, but Game 1 should go the Bruins way. They only lost 13 times total on home ice this year and they aren't likely to lose more than one game at home in this series if it goes the distance. Remember, Boston learned something from 2013 too, and that's to not take this Toronto team lightly no matter who they've got on the roster, and it's not hard to argue that this year's Maple Leafs are exponentially more talented then the 2013 team.
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