Canucks vs. Maple Leafs NHL Odds & Pick: Back Underdog Vancouver To Stun Toronto (Saturday, Feb. 6)
Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the Vancouver Canucks to Scotiabank Arena for Saturday's NHL North Division showdown.
- Matt Russell tells us why he likes the underdog Canucks to down the Maple Leafs below.
Canucks vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-195|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via DraftKings.|
The biggest travesty in sports arena. in-game entertainment has been occurring at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, and it’s been happening for years. The Maple Leafs organization is allowing it to happen, with no signs of change coming any time soon.
Every time Toronto scores a goal (usually on the power play), everyone in the arena and watching elsewhere or man are subject to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by legendary hockey enthusiasts Hall & Oates.
In my opinion, it is … and I can’t emphasize this enough… the worst.
Perhaps that’s the point. To drive opponents — and indirectly, their fans — insane. The Canucks were peppered by this unfortunately infectious song a whopping seven times Thursday, as they dropped their worst effort of the season in defeat.
The Canucks had battled their way back to a league-average team in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast.
Sure, it took three games against the Ottawa Senators, their poor goaltending and a win over the Winnipeg Jets, but nevertheless the numbers were what the numbers were.
Those statistics came crashing back to reality this week, as Vancouver got knocked back down to size in Montreal and never got off the tarmac when it landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
To make matters worse, the Canucks’ worst game of the season collided full speed with the Maple Leafs best game of their campaign.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs took criticism from this writer, because I know how numbers work. The numbers at even-strength for Toronto looked grim, as it averaged 1.65 xGF (expected goals for) to their opponents’ 1.85 xGF figure.
The wins have been coming, thanks to a power-play efficiency rate that is literally the highest in NHL history. Sure, that’s good, but is it sustainable? “Historically good” usually isn’t sustainable, and is something that you want to fade going forward.
The Maple Leafs didn’t need the power play though (going 1 for 5 on it), as the Canucks were more than willing to make it look like their opponents had an extra skater on the ice. Defensive lapses were aplenty, as well as a lack of aggression, discipline and communication. Vancouver had half the shots, earned just two power plays and were attributed an xGF of 1.0 in the game.
Which wouldn’t be the end of the world, if like the other four games where they were at 1.0 or worse, Vancouver held Toronto under 2.0 in the category. They did not. The Maple Leafs, thanks in part to extreme veteran Jason Spezza and his first hat trick since the Barack Obama administration, had an xGF of 2.87 for their their best rating of the season.
One power-play goal, plus an even-strength xGF of almost three, doesn’t explain seven goals for, though..Those other three tallies can be put on a rough night from Thatcher Demko. Even John Taveras scored an even-strength goal. Suffice it to say, it was get-right night in Toronto.
Canucks vs. Maple Leafs Best Bet
Demko is supposed to be the reason to back the Canucks, especially as a considerable underdog. Instead, he’s hovering in the same sub-par area in Goals Saved Above Average as Braden Holtby, which is not a good thing, given the veteran’s decline in recent years.
Unfortunately for Vancouver, it doesn’t matter who gets the call in goal.
Toronto will likely stick with Andersen who’s own mediocre play has been masked by the offense this season. Andersen’s -3.62 GSAA has him below the Canucks duo, at a robust 54th in the league.
So from a handicapping standpoint, it’s not like there’s an advantage for either side. Teams that lost the first game of these double-ups are winning the back-end at a 65-percent clip, and many of those teams were wildly outplayed in the first game.
We’re still getting a value-price with the Canucks at +150, which translates to a three percent edge by my numbers.
It’s not going to be an easy bet to make, but the best ones often aren’t. We’ll hope for the Maple Leafs to regress a little to their mean, and the Canucks to show up for a Hockey Night in Canada feature.
I’ll take another swing with Vancouver, and hope they “make my dreams come true.”
Pick: Canucks (+150 or better)