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NHL Odds & Pick for Maple Leafs vs. Jets: How to Value Toronto on the Road at Winnipeg (Saturday, April 24)

NHL Odds & Pick for Maple Leafs vs. Jets: How to Value Toronto on the Road at Winnipeg (Saturday, April 24) article feature image

Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner, center, celebrates a goal.

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Winnipeg Jets in an intriguing Saturday's NHL game.
  • Mitch Marner recorded two goals and an assist in the Maple Leafs' 5-3 win over the Jets in Thursday's contest.
  • Matt Russell details why he's backing Toronto to take care of Winnipedg in this latest tilt.

Maple Leafs vs. Jets Odds

Maple Leafs Odds -132
Jets Odds +114
Over/Under 6
Time Saturday 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday night via DraftKings.

What has come of the world we live in? Of course, I’m talking about the Toronto Maple Leafs actually being fairly priced on the moneyline.

At least, they’re on the brink of it. As listeners of THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast know, I was ready to back the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, but it’s going to take a significant move in the moneyline price for that to be the case.

Toronto Maple Leafs

My “Let’s Do That Hockey” model rates the Maple Leafs as 11% above average at even strength over the course of the season. However, despite some results lately that have Toronto’s fans up in arms, the team has actually been much better than even that lofty rating.

Toronto is 11-12 in their last 23 games, but during that time it has played at just over 18% above average while at even strength. 

Unfortunately for Maple Leafs’ fans — and media alike — that are getting in their pre-playoff panic pacing, the issue has come in the form of goaltending.

With injured starter Fredrik Andersen (who has a -7.37 Goals Saved Above Average this season) out and no sign of his return, Toronto has been relying on a combination of replacement-level goaltenders, who if they played at league average might be an improvement.

An early burst of effectiveness from Jack Campbell had the faithful falling in love, but that’s since dwindled due to his part in a five-game losing streak. The last two defeats came in Vancouver, with Campbell losing in overtime to the team’s foe in its first game after three-plus weeks off due to COVID-19 issues.

Then, newly acquired counterpart David Rittich played just bad enough in the next loss to get already branded a trade-deadline acquisition flop. 

The Maple Leafs quelled the concern Thursday, with two goals on their first two shots, and a third that chased the Jets’ star Connor Hellebuyck. While they only mustered one goal the rest of the way, it was enough to deliver the win.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck looks on during the singing of ‘O Canada’ to a game against the Edmonton Oilers this season. Photo credit: Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images.

Winnipeg Jets

I hypothesized that the victory might be enough to swing the market’s perception of Toronto to put it back in the echelon that has it overvalued. Maybe not to the degree the team was in Vancouver when it was going off at or around -400 odds on the moneyline, but something north of -150 wouldn’t have been that surprising. 

The Jets play what can be best described as an “opportunistic” style, scoring at an unusually high 16% rate on their even-strength High Danger Chances and an above-average efficiency on the power play. In goal, they rely on Hellebuyck to keep them in games, stopping those same HDC at an above-average rate of 12 percent.

In fact, Winnipeg scored on three of nine such chances Thursday, but Hellebuyck found himself on the bench after stopping just three of six shots.

The Jets’ opponents average exactly two expected goals at even strength this season, so they come out of each game hoping to buck the trend of being the second-best team on the ice at 5-on-5. Only the Canucks allow more xG per game than Winnipeg.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My model puts the win probability for the Maple Leafs at 55%, which implies the fair price for this game would be -125 for the favorite. Strangely, if you judge them purely on their play during their recent “bad half” of the season, their win probability improves and a fair price is -130, which is right around number at publication.

Admittedly, it seems like the few times this season when the Maple Leafs were mathematically worth betting, they would lose.

So, I’m ready for a classic Hellebuyck start where he saves everything in sight, but with a moneyline price on Toronto this close to Pick’em, against a team my model hates, I have to side with the visitor to get a second consecutive victory.

Pick: Toronto ML (-130 or better)

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