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NHL Odds, Predictions, Preview for Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings: Back the Home Underdogs (Feb. 26)

NHL Odds, Predictions, Preview for Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings: Back the Home Underdogs (Feb. 26) article feature image

Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marc Staal

  • The Red Wings host the Maple Leafs on Saturday night in Detroit.
  • The Red Wings are home underdogs, but is there valuable in fading a potentially overperforming Maple Leafs team?
  • Grant White breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Odds

Maple Leafs Odds -200
Red Wings Odds +170
Over/Under 6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Hockey fans are being treated to an Original Six matchup on Saturday as the Detroit Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have been sliding over their recent schedule, dropping three of their past four. They’ll have to break out of that funk against a Red Wings team that has been much more competitive on home ice this year.

Maple Leafs Overachieving

Toronto’s problems started several weeks ago when it started substantially overachieving relative to their production metrics. The Leafs went through a 10-game span from January 29 through February 21 in which they were outplayed at five-on-five in six of those contests.

Their production metrics took a hit, as they put up below average High Danger Chances in six of the 10 games, still managing to improve their scoring by averaging 4.3 goals per game. That disconnect put them on an inevitable path with regression, and that’s what we’ve seen play out over the past few games.

Although the Leafs’ efforts have improved over their past couple of games, we haven’t seen an improvement to their production metrics. Toronto has played two games since February 21, combining for 10 total High Danger Chances and 37 Scoring Chances over that span. If we include part of the above-noted 10-game sample, the Leafs have attempted more than eight High Danger Chances just once over their past six games, with an average of 6.5 quality chances per game.

We’re not anticipating better offensive performances from the Leafs until their production metrics start to improve. Toronto’s PDO remains inflated, currently sitting at 1.012 across all strengths, implying that further correction should be expected before the Leafs get back to their winning ways.

Red Wings Looking to Stay Hot

As is typically the case with young teams, the Red Wings have lacked consistency this season. At times, they’ve appeared out of their element against less-than-stellar opponents, while at other times they can skate with the best of them. Detroit is coming off a strong performance, and there are a couple of indicators suggesting that Wings are due for more wins.

The Wings have been on an effective nine-game stretch, in which they’ve outplayed their opponents in five of those contests. Cumulatively, the Red Wings have a 50.1% Expected Goals For rating over that stretch, a reasonable improvement off their 47.7% rating so far this year. However, the Wings PDO remains depressed over that stretch, as they have a 0.982 mark at five-on-five and 0.984 across all strengths. Improved play should lead to improved metrics, and we’re anticipating growth in that regard.

Detroit is coming off an outstanding performance against the Colorado Avalanche, in which they limited the Avs to nine high-danger opportunities. More impressively, they out-chanced Colorado in quality chances, a feat they’ve accomplished five times over their nine-game sample. Beating the Leafs on both ends of the ice is a critical factor in walking away victorious.

Maple Leafs-Red Wings Pick

We are anticipating further correction from the Leafs over their coming games, as their metrics continue to balance with outcomes. Conversely, the Red Wings are progression candidates, as their on-ice efforts haven’t led to the expected results over their recent sample. We’re taking a stance on the underdog home team tonight in Detroit.

Pick: Red Wings +175

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