NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Coyotes vs. Maple Leafs (October 17)
Claus Andersen/Getty. Pictured: Auston Matthews.
Coyotes vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-450|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
This game between the Coyotes and Maple Leafs looks to be a mismatch, but the odds have heavily factored that in.
Predictably Poor Coyotes
Even with a big spread in favor of Arizona, had you placed a puck line bet on the Coyotes in their first two games, you would have lost. Pittsburgh and Boston beat Arizona by a score of 6-2 and 6-3, respectively.
The saddest part is that it hasn't been a surprising start for the Coyotes. They're a rebuilding team that's missing arguably their best defenseman in Jakob Chychrun, who is recovering from offseason wrist surgery.
When he's able to return, it will provide the Coyotes with a boost, but even with Chychrun, they would be the underdog in this game.
Arizona's offense is middling at best and starting goaltender Karel Vejmelka isn't up to the task of carrying this team, not that any tender could.
To be fair to Arizona, it's not as if they're a team completely devoid of hope. Clayton Keller is still a good top line forward and blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere can excel offensively. Gostisbehere certainly has gotten off to a strong start in terms of production with a goal and three points in two games.
The Coyotes do figure to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, but they're still an NHL squad. On any given day they can wrestle a win away from an opponent that looks better on paper. Just don't expect that to happen with any frequency.
Powerful Leafs Succeeding Early
By contrast, the Maple Leafs figure to be one of the better teams in the regular season. There are legitimate questions about their goaltending and those were made even more prominent when goaltender Matt Murray was placed on the long-term injured reserve list on Saturday due to an adductor injury.
Ilya Samsonov has gotten off to a strong start with the Maple Leafs, posting a 2-0-0 record, 2.00 GAA, and .926 save percentage in two starts, but he only has 91 career NHL games on his resume and he struggled last season with Washington.
With all of that being acknowledged, Toronto still looks fine, as the reality is they often don't need good goaltending to win. This is largely the same forward group that averaged 3.80 goals per game last season. It's likely that they will be able to survive bad goaltending on many nights if necessary.
The fact that they're up against the Coyotes, who aren't exactly known for their defensive abilities or strong goaltending, should only make Toronto's task easier.
As a word of caution, Toronto was similarly a heavy favorite against Arizona last season and that didn't end up working out in the Maple Leafs' favor. Toronto lost both of its games against Arizona in 2021-22. Vejmelka started for Arizona in one of those two contests and led the Coyotes to a 2-1 victory despite Toronto managing a 46-18 edge in shots.
Anything can happen.
Coyotes vs. Maple Leafs Pick
Of course there are going to be games that end up as anomalies, but that risk always exists. It doesn't change the fact that Toronto is the far better team, it has the home ice advantage and to top it all off and the Coyotes are missing a key defenseman at the time of writing.
The moneyline for Toronto is that low of a payout for a justifiable reason and I think it's perfectly reasonable to take the Maple Leafs' puck line even with that 2.5 spread against them.
All being said, this is a game where I like the total of 6.5 more than I like betting on either team. Even if I think you can justifiably take Toronto, the puck line spread does up the risk and the moneyline just isn't enticing enough.
With the probable goaltending matchup being underwhelming in Vejmelka versus Samsonov and considering just how good Toronto's offense is, I expect this to be a high scoring game.
The over is the play to make.
Pick: Over 6.5 -125 (play up to -140)