Leaf Report: Toronto Looks To Finish Regular Season Off On A Roll
Toronto's Already Preparing For Round 1
WIth just two games left and nowhere to move in the standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs should already have one eye on what awaits them in the first round. It's going to either be the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning (whomever doesn't win the division) and both will be formidable tasks for the Leafs. Toronto has had trouble again this year with blowing leads and late-game letdowns, so it's important that neither of those things poke their ugly head out during these final two regular season games.
Those two games are on the road in New Jersey (tonight) and at home against Montreal on Saturday. New Jersey is still fighting to clinch a playoff spot so there will be no easing off there for Toronto, and even with Montreal long out of it and mercifully waiting for the season to end, the season finale between those two rivals should bring a few fireworks. Toronto's still got bigger goals then ending the regular season strong though and it makes them a tough team to bet on the next few days.
Should You Fade Toronto These Final Two Games?
That's an important question every NHL bettor has to ask themselves regarding the final two Toronto games, if you are still wagering on NHL action and not simply waiting for the playoffs. A lot of screwy things can happen in games this time of year depending on who's motivated or not, and it's tough to imagine that the Leafs are that concerned with wins or losses these final two games. With oddsmakers setting them up as a +110 underdog in New Jersey tonight, industry sentiment might be that fading Toronto is probably the way to go.
Last year the Leafs just wanted to get back into the playoffs for the first time in a few years. This year their goals changed and now it's about making a deep playoff run. Well, their first round opponent is going to be considered a Stanley Cup favourite no matter who it ends up being and the Leafs would be doing themselves a disservice if they weren't already at least mentally preparing for the Lightning or Bruins. That makes any bet against the Leafs in these final two games a good one from my view.
Toronto's Prospects Going Forward
I wouldn't expect the Leafs to roll into the playoffs riding high with what they've got left and what lies ahead. Just like the actual Leafs players, taking some time now to prepare a plan of attack for playoff betting is never a bad idea either this late in the regular season. The playoffs are when there are no real things like letdown spots, motivational concerns, and thrid game in four nights because it's all even for both sides. That means that you can expect a high level of play from both teams which makes handicapping games that much easier.
So if you are one looking to find some late season action on Toronto games, there are two ways to go about it from my view. You can either look to fade the Leafs if the price is right and you think that Toronto's gaze on the playoffs has gotten bigger, and/or you can look to playing 'unders' as Toronto starts to practice tightening up things in their own end to prevent blown leads when they matter. I'm probably staying on the sidelines overall and preparing for the playoffs, but if you are an action junkie, keep those thoughts in mind.
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