Lightning vs Maple Leafs prediction, odds

It’s not every day that a two-time defending champion opens the playoffs as an underdog, but that’s what we’re dealing with Monday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning head to Toronto with a slight +105 underdogs for the first game. the price still says it’s basically a draw, it’s worth noting because of the narratives attached to each team.

On one side you have the Lightning, the league’s playoff powerhouse looking for a hat-trick and on the other side the Maple Leafs, who haven’t won a playoff since 2004. Even with this baggage makes it hard to argue with the logic of installing the Leafs as favorites. Toronto was the strongest team in the regular season.

Lightning vs Maple Leafs Game 1 odds

Odds provided by Bet Rivers

propagated: TB +1.5 (-225) against TOR -1.5 (+185)

Moneyline: TB (+110) vs TOR (-127)

Total: More than 6.5 (-103) | Less than 6.5 (-115)


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Lightning vs Maple Leafs Prediction for Game 1

Not only did the Leafs finish five points and eight goals ahead of the Bolts in the standings, but the Buds also ranked in the top 5 in goals per game, expected goal rate, high-risk scoring chance percentage and power play. percentage. Tampa’s numbers were strong across the board as well, but they didn’t match the Leafs in many ways and we saw the Bolts go through some dull spells during the regular season.

But the truth is, bettors can’t quite treat the Lightning like other teams. Of course, metrics remain the most important ingredient in handicapping this team, but the Bolts have gained the benefit of the doubt over the past few seasons. We know what this team can do in the playoffs and it’s certainly possible that Tampa’s regular season numbers — which were still strong — may have dropped because the team was preparing for the playoffs. The Lightning have played a ton of hockey since the NHL returned from its COVID hiatus nearly 20 months ago and had a playoff spot locked in around Christmas. They can be forgiven if they ever took their foot off the pedal.

The overall numbers for this game will indicate that Toronto have been the best team in this series, but there is a raw handicap that has to come into play for this best-of-seven. And a lot of that handicap comes down to this: how many stock should we put in Tampa’s pedestrian stretch at a time of the season when they were probably just waiting for the playoffs to start?

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning put pressure on offense
Getty Images

Game-wise, Tampa is one of the few teams that can stay with the Leafs over the course of a series. The No. 1 priority for any team playing in Toronto is to shut down Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner. While it’s unlikely the Bolts can keep Toronto’s dynamic duo off the scoresheet consistently, they have the horsepower to somewhat cut the Leafs’ top line, which will miss Michael Bunting to at least lift it. of curtain.

You can expect Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper to do everything he can to make sure Matthews and Marner see a ton of Anthony Cirelli, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak over the course. of this series. Outside of the goalkeeper, Cirelli might end up being the most important factor in this series, as the center stopper has the ability to keep Matthews and Marner somewhat in check.

As long as the Bolts can keep Matthews and Marner from consistently calling them off, that streak changes and the focus will be on the goaltender, which is a huge plus for Tampa Bay.

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been the best goalkeeper in the world for the past three years and even in a year when he didn’t get much attention, he still posted a .917 save percentage and a GSAx of +17.6.

On the other side of the ice will be Jack Campbell, who was Jekyll-and-Hyde during his career in Toronto. After a spellbinding start to the season, Campbell was one of the NHL’s least effective goaltenders through the winter months until he found himself on IR. Although Campbell has looked more stable since returning from injury, he will need to provide an above-average goalie to keep pace with Vasilevskiy and slow a clinical Tampa Bay attack.

In a series where the margin for error is pretty slim, the Lightning’s advantage in goal probably makes the difference. Any plus-money on Tampa Bay is playable in Game 1.

Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Game 1 bet: Tampa Bay Lightning +100 or better (+105 on BetMGM)

Read also : Lightning vs. Maple Leafs Complete Series Betting

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