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Jets vs. Maple Leafs NHL Odds & Picks: Toronto Still Showing Defensive Flaws (Jan. 18)

Jets vs. Maple Leafs NHL Odds & Picks: Toronto Still Showing Defensive Flaws (Jan. 18) article feature image

Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Frederik Anderson

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs are favored over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
  • Toronto's leaky defense has looked shaky in the first two games of the season, while the Jets actually possessed the puck better than usual in an overtime win over the Flames in their opener.
  • See how we're betting Leafs vs. Jets below:

Jets vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Jets Odds +135 [BET NOW]
Maple Leafs Odds -161 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 7 (+110/-133) [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NHL Center Ice
Odds as of Monday morning and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

It might be a new season, but some things will always stay the same.

The expectations for the Toronto Maple Leafs are sky high and many are already penciling them in as the winners of the all-Canadian North Division. But many of the question marks that have plagued them over recent years still exist.

Goalie Connor Hellebuyck carried the Jets last season, but Winnipeg will need to play much better hockey in front of Hellebuyck this season as they are one of the many teams who feel they have a shot to make some noise in this division.

Does Winnipeg have what it takes to pull off an upset on Monday night?

Winnipeg Jets

Game one of the Jets’ season provides some optimism for the team moving forward. After a 2019-20 season where they were only playing to a rate of 43.15% in terms of expected goals, the opposite was true in their opener on Thursday.

The Jets fell behind 3-1 against the Calgary Flames, but they ended up coming back and winning the game in overtime thanks to two goals from Patrik Laine. Almost as important for the Jets is the way they won. They had 62.23% of the expected goals, outperforming the Flames 2.38 to 1.42.

Last year, Hellebuyck won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie. His 19.76 goals saved above expectation was more than double the second best goalie’s mark. While goalies can be inconsistent year to year, Winnipeg has to be confident in their backstop. If they can improve their play in front of Hellebuyck like they did in the opener, it bodes well for their chance of success.

Winnipeg still managed to survive last year’s awful underlying metrics and qualified for the NHL Bubble. The main reason for this was Hellebuyck, but this team is also loaded with high-end talent. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers and Paul Stastny make up one of the strongest top-six units in the league. Laine’s is questionable due to an injury.

With elite talent up front and one of the best goalies in the league between the pipes, Winnipeg is obviously a dangerous team. If they possess more of the puck and perform better in shot quality and shot generation, they could be very dangerous. It’ll be interesting to see whether the opener was a one-off or if coach Paul Maurice made some changes during the offseason.

Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s a new season, but it seems like it’ll be another year with the same story and question marks for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Offensively, the team features three franchise players in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares. William Nylander is also one of the exciting young players in the sport.

Veteran Joe Thornton has been bought in to add even more offense to a team littered with offensive playmakers. Bottom-line players like Zach Hyman and Wayne Simmonds add depth to this team, which makes it even more of a problem for opposing teams to slow them down.

Hockey pundits and fans alike still wonder if the team signing John Tavares in 2018 was the best use of cap space, but the results speak for themselves. Last season, the Maple Leafs were the third best team in terms of both expected goals per 60 minutes at 5 on 5 and actual goals scored per game.

The issue for the Leafs has been and will continue to be keeping the puck out of the net. They’ve been proactive in trying to improve the weakness, bringing in players like Jake Muzzin, T.J. Brodie and Zach Bogosian over the past few seasons.

While the Leafs were middle of the pack in terms of expected goals against per 60 minutes, they were the sixth-worst team last year in terms of actual goals against.

Goaltending has not helped the Maple Leafs case over the past few seasons either. Last year, Frederik Andersen finished the season with a -10.27 goals saved above expectation. He has the worst save percentage amongst qualifying goaltenders since Jan. 1 of 2020. The Leafs addressed their backup goaltending issue at the trade deadline last season by acquiring Jack Campbell from the Kings.

If Andersen and the Leafs can’t keep the puck out of their net, we’ll be hearing cries for more of Campbell in Toronto very soon.

Maple Leafs vs. Jets Bet

The Leafs are a prohibitive favorite in this game, and I am in no rush to back them at this price. The Leafs lost one of their two opening games to the Ottawa Senators, who are widely expected to finish this season in last place in the division.

While the Leafs are an extremely talented team, they are also an extremely flawed team. We’ve heard rumblings of a goalie controversy already and we’re only two games into the season.

Winnipeg has enough firepower to keep up with the Maple Leafs offensively, and the Jets have a huge edge in between the pipes.

At FanDuel, the Jets are +145 and this price feels like a great value. I’d feel comfortable taking the Jets at +130 or better, but be sure to shop for the best line on every game.

The Bet: Winnipeg Jets +145 (play at +130 or better)

[Bet the Jets now at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

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