Oilers vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Picks: Back Edmonton if the Price is Right (January 22)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Edmonton Oilers players celebrate.
- The Oilers took a 3-1 decision from the Maple Leafs when the teams met on Wednesday.
- After that result, should you back Edmonton again or will Toronto get revenge?
- Matt Russell previews the game and gives his prediction below.
Oilers vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-149|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday evening and via BetMGM.|
“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
George W. Bush was famously fooled by this quote itself, but I don’t think he was applying it to early-season hockey games. I think he was talking about the Eastern Conference Finals, but I could be wrong. The quote is often used because it makes sense — it’s MY fault if I fall for the okey doke a second time.
In the first matchup between the Oilers and Maple Leafs, I fooled myself. My proprietary model we call “Let’s Do That Hockey” on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, showed value on the Oilers as underdogs. By design, the model doesn’t take into account power-play efficiency due to my belief that it’s unpredictive in nature. How can we predict who will score more on the PP in one single game? How do we know there will even be enough PPs to even matter? Or that one team won’t get all of the PP chances? We can’t. The best we can do is try to compare two teams’ play 5-on-5 with their price reflected on the moneyline, and hope for the best.
So it was a fool’s errand to think that Edmonton’s horrific start to the season on the powerplay — a total of zero net goals, thanks to just two goals scored and two short-handed goals given up — would be predictive of struggles in Toronto. Throw in the fact that the Leafs came into the game with a net of +6 goals while on their powerplay. What a huge mismatch! Right?!
Wrong. At least for one night, anyway. The Oilers and Leafs each scored shaky 5-on-5 gaols in a game that would’ve put fans to sleep… if there were fans in the stands. Naturally, given hockey’s general proclivity for nonsensical on-ice results, two of the loosest teams in hockey hit the under easily. Equally ironic, the difference-making goal came on the power play for the Oilers. Tell me more about how power-play success is predictable game to game.
If we just trusted the numbers, and bet the Oilers, we would be looking back at Edmonton’s Expected Goals For (XGF) of 1.23 (according to naturalstattrick.com) and wondering how we won the bet. After all, the Oilers had been averaging 1.926 Expected Goals Against (XGA). It would take an outlier performance for them to be in a good position to win. Well, sure enough, they got it. The Oilers held Toronto to 0.75 XGF.
Is this a fluke or a trend? The Oilers’ XGA through five games has progressed as follows: 2.53, 2.45, 1.61, 1.12, 0.75. It’s too early to know for sure, but that certainly seems like a concerted effort to play more responsible defensive hockey.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs didn’t appear all that interested in the game on Wednesday, with a season-low of four High-Danger Chances (HDC) 5-on-5, earning just two power-play opportunities. It resembled the Leafs’ front-end of a back-to-back with the Senators in the season’s first week where Toronto had previous season-lows in XFG and HDCs. Two nights later, the Leafs turned things around, doubling their HDCs and flipping the Expected Goals Percentage (XGF%) from 39% to 58%.
Toronto had just 38% XGF% on Wednesday, but if they can do the same thing they did against Ottawa, we have to decide whether there’s an opportunity to take advantage of an early trend.
Oilers-Maple Leafs Pick
What do you believe? If you believe that the Leafs routinely need a kick in the pants with losses, to bring their ‘A’ game in the rematch, then -150 is a good enough bet to make on the situation. On the flip side of the coin, if you believe in the long-term benefits of getting a valuable price, then the Oilers as an underdog have to be a play yet again.
With two reasonable, converging arguments, I have no play on the side. I won’t be fooled twice laying a price with the Leafs, but I also won’t be fooled into believing that all is right with the Oilers defensively.
I can buy into a better effort from both teams. This should force more power plays, and a higher collective Expected Goals For. Both goaltenders are capable of a soft goal, as we saw on Wednesday night. So, the over might be worth a look if you can get a flat 6.0.
I’ll roll with the model, and take the Oilers if their price is right, and look for the market to overreact to the 3-1 score in the first meeting, but if the Oilers aren’t the same price as they were in the first, at +135, steer clear. Because that means there’s value on the Leafs, but we won’t be fooled again.
Pick: Oilers (+135 or better)