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Flames vs. Maple Leafs NHL Odds & Picks: Back Host Calgary in North Division Showdown

Flames vs. Maple Leafs NHL Odds & Picks: Back Host Calgary in North Division Showdown article feature image

Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström and teammate Matthew Tkachuk.

  • The Calgary Flames host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday for the second game in a back-to-back set. Toronto took the opener with a 3-2 victory.
  • Matt Russell digs deep into this meeting and tells us why he likes the Flames in this spot below.

Maple Leafs vs. Flames Odds

Maple Leafs Odds -112
Flames Odds -105
Over/Under 6.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday at 9 p.m. ET and via DraftKings.

Hot takes. Talking heads looking for that perfect social-media clip. The zag to the common opinion’s zig.

In these parts, it’s called being “contrarian,” and when done correctly, it’s a valuable strategy when evaluating what the market believes about a team. 

As I’ve previously discussed, the uncharted territory that is the back-to-back element for the NHL season is the big handicapping piece to get a handle on. In playoff betting it’s called ‘Zig-Zag Theory’; backing the loser of the first game against the spread in game two in the NBA. The loser of the first is often getting an extra point or two on the spread.

However, without a spread in NHL betting, we’re talking about moneyline values instead. You can get all the value in the world, but unless your team wins, you’re out of luck.

There’s no cashing a ticket while backing a 7.5-point underdog that covers but doesn’t win. The value only adds up at the end of the season by getting the best price when you make your bet.

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Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had good news in Sunday’s game against the Flames, with Auston Matthews was back in the lineup.

Early on, the Leafs got goals from Jake Muzzin and Wayne Simmonds, and Flames backers had to think “Oh, so Matthews returns and these guys are the ones who score to beat me?”

Then with the Maple Leafs up 2-1 in the third period, Matthews struck and we saw the big difference he made en route to Toronto winning its second game in a row.

The Maple Leafs tallied 12 High-Danger Chances (HDC), but also gave up 12 of their own. That is actually the most Toronto game imaginable — give up a ton, get a ton and see where that gets you. Each team converted one of those chances, as well as one on the power play. So it was one goal, from not-renowned sniper Muzzin, that was the difference.

Don’t be fooled, the Leafs are still right around the league-average team that my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model  from THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast says they are. The team that every recent season-long result would indicate.  Nothing happened Sunday that would give the analytics any reason to look at them differently. 

Calgary Flames

The Maple Leafs’ victory was evenly played, with the Flames acquitting themselves nicely in their return to action after the long layoff. The effort was good enough for a 54 percent Expected Goals Share 5-on-5.

Both teams were one for four on the power play, and 1 for 12 in the aforementioned HDC. Whether it was the PK-adjacent line before the game or the metrics suggesting it in hindsight, this game couldn’t have been more of a coin flip. 

My model still has the Flames as a 10% above-average team, so it thinks they should be favored here in the rematch. And that’s before factoring in the revenge tax my model makes between 8-9% of win probability. 

One reason Toronto is getting more credit in the market could be due to the return between of goaltender Frederik Andersen after Jack Campbell was in goal for Sunday’s win. However, that’s not necessarily an upgrade at this point in the season, with Andersen at -1.03 GSAA, compared to Campbell’s +0.92 through just two starts.

Flames-Maple Leafs Pick

This is a tremendous spot for Calgary, which is currently -105 in the market. I would have expected the Flames to be at least -120 here, before accounting for the revenge spot that seems to need to be accounted for. 

Calgary is the better team, and while we’re not getting points, we are getting a good price. I’m happy to ride this zag, after getting the zig in the opener.

Pick: Flames (-105 or better) 

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