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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs (April 4)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs (April 4) article feature image

Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews.

  • The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Columbus Blue Jacets in NHL action on Tuesday night.
  • Toronto is ready for the postseason while Columbus has long since been ready for the offseason.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.

Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Blue Jackets Odds+300
Maple Leafs Odds-400
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The NHL schedule-makers gifted the Toronto Maple Leafs a gentle end to the regular season. The Leafs have played six of their last eight against non-playoff teams, and their competition isn’t getting any tougher on Tuesday night against the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets, the third-worst team in the standings.

Still, the Leafs aren’t doing their part to build momentum for a playoff push. The Original Six franchise has dropped three of its past five, but remains locked into the second spot in the Atlantic Division.

Could the Blue Jackets extend Toronto’s woes in this Eastern Conference showdown?

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Columbus Blue Jackets

The past few months have been nothing but a formality for the Blue Jackets. Columbus ranks dead-last in the Metropolitan Division and has been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention for weeks. The Blue Jackets were ruled out of a postseason berth well before the math added up, though. Somehow, they have managed to lower the bar over their recent sample.

Columbus has been outplayed in seven straight, looking atrocious over the past five. Over that five-game sample, Columbus has posted a laughable 34.0% expected goals-for rating. That benchmark seems much worse when adjusted for opponents, as three of those contests came against non-playoff teams.

Defensive zone coverage has been of particular concern for the Blue Jackets, who are letting their opponents run roughshod in their end. Nine of the last 11 teams they’ve faced have attempted at least 10 high-danger chances.

Scoring chances are equally abundant, with opponents going north of 25 in all but one of those matchups. Those sub-optimal efforts are analogous to their season as a whole and have relegated the Blue Jackets to the bottom of the high-danger and scoring chances against standings.

Toronto Maple Leafs

For years the Maple Leafs have been one of the best analytics teams in the NHL, and that hasn’t changed this season. Toronto ranks in the top 10 in scoring and high-danger chance rankings, resulting in the eighth-best expected goals-for rating.

Although their record doesn’t reflect it, the Maple Leafs have maintained that standard lately.

Toronto has put forth some assertive performances over the last couple of weeks. Since March 21, the Leafs have posted an expected goals-for rating above 50.0% in five of their seven outings. Offense remains the hallmark of their success, and they’ve increased their production over that stretch.

Across the seven-game sample, the Maple Leafs are averaging 12.9 high-danger and 27.9 scoring opportunities, above their respective season averages of 11.0 and 25.9.

Despite the solid play, the Leafs’ scoring has taken a hit. Toronto has been limited to three or fewer goals in six of seven games, with an 8.9% shooting percentage. Not surprisingly, the Leafs have fallen below their season-long average in all but two outings.

Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs Pick

There is a disconnect in the Maple Leafs’ metrics, making them progression candidates. Toronto has decreased scoring despite improved production metrics. Consequently, we have the Leafs earmarked for several monstrous efforts as their analytics balance out. That’s terrible news for the Blue Jackets, who have struggled to contain inferior opponents over their recent stretch.

As such, we’re rolling the dice on two plus-money plays. First, Columbus has failed to cover the puck line in three of its last five, losing by an average margin of 4.5 goals per game. With the Leafs priced at +105 to cover -2.5, we’re betting that trend continues.

Likewise, the total reflects both teams’ recent struggles and is set at 7, with the over priced at +105. That’s not stopping us from taking a stance on the over.

Pick: Leafs -2.5 +105 | Over 7 +105

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