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Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Pick: Toronto Overvalued For Game 3

Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Pick: Toronto Overvalued For Game 3 article feature image

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  • The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs enter Game 3 of their qualifying series tied at 1-1.
  • Toronto was able to capitalize on a weak performance for Columbus to even the series in their previous matchup.
  • Are the Maple Leafs overvalued now, though? Our hockey betting analyst Michael Leboff thinks so. Find out why below.

Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs Odds: Game 3

Blue Jackets Odds +148 [BET NOW]
Maple Leafs Odds -175 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time Thursday, 8 p.m. ET

Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

John Tortorella summed up his Blue Jackets’ performance in Game 2 succinctly. “We sucked,” the Jack Adams nominee told the media after his team’s 3-0 loss to the Maple Leafs.

The Jackets’ weak performance allowed Toronto to even the best-of-5 series at 1-1. The hard reality of this matchup is that if the Jackets are off their game even a little bit, they are in for a long night. The gap in talent between these two teams is way too wide for Columbus to make life easy on the Buds.

As expected, the Leafs are creating more offensive opportunities than the Blue Jackets. Columbus will let teams take shot attempts from the outside and let its team defense do the work, but the disparity in high-danger scoring chances is a bit worrisome.

Columbus and Toronto each generated nine high-danger chances in Game 1, but Game 2 was a different story. The Leafs created nine more high-quality opportunities on Tuesday and the Jackets could only muster up three.

Columbus Blue Jackets Toronto Maple Leafs
5-on-5 Goals For 1 2
5-on-5 Expected Goals For 2.56 3.24
5-on-5 Shot Attempts 88 105
5-on-5 High-Danger Scoring Chances 12 18

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

Even though the Toronto media can make it seem like the world is falling down after every loss, it was highly unlikely that the Blue Jackets were going to run away with this series. The Leafs are the better team and are right to be favored each time these two teams play, but I’m a little confused why Toronto’s odds for Game 3 have shortened.

Columbus Blue Jackets Toronto Maple Leafs
Game 1 +142 -165
Game 2 +143 -167
Game 3 +148 -175

Yes, the Leafs looked more like themselves in Game 2 but they also lost top-pair defenseman Jake Muzzin to injury and Toronto’s much-maligned defense isn’t set up to handle that kind of loss.

Muzzin is Sheldon Keefe’s most reliable rearguard and is tasked with a ton of responsibility every night. The 31-year-old defends the opposition’s best players, kills penalties and plays a ton of minutes every night. Those duties will now fall on less-qualified defensemen and put more strain on an already wanting defense.

I already liked Columbus for a bet in this range when the Leafs had Muzzin, so I’ll certainly be on the Jackets with Muzzin out for Game 3 (and the series). I’d play Columbus all the way down to +130 but I doubt it gets close to that number.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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