Wednesday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: New Jersey Devils vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Preview
Rich Graessle/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Hughes.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are huge favorites Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils.
- The Devils' attack is thriving and faces a struggling Maple Leafs defense.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup below and makes his betting pick.
Devils vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-350|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After an offensive explosion in a stunning comeback against Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers last night, the Devils will look to keep their offense clicking Wednesday night in Toronto.
Having ultimately not brought in any additional support at the deadline to aid their goaltending situation, the Maple Leafs will look for a bounce-back effort from Erik Kallgren after getting thrashed on Saturday in Nashville.
Could this be a recipe for a shootout?
New Jersey Attack Showing Upside
It’s surely still been a disappointing season for the Devils developing young group, but at times we have surely seen flashes of why the future still remains promising of late.
The Devils came storming back from 2-0 down last night, ultimately posting a 7-4 win over Shesterkin and the Rangers, who have traditionally been very tough to score on this season.
With Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton healthy the Devils have been a far better team than their overall record suggests. All four of those players were difference-makers again against the Rangers on Tuesday.
Over the last 12 games, the Devils have scored 3.76 goals per game. I feel this offense can continue to shine down the stretch.
The concern figures to be the vast numbers of goals against allowed, as the Devils have allowed the fourth-most goals per game this season at 3.59.
The main causation towards that high number is the Devils’ poor goaltending. New Jersey ranks 31st in team save percentage and while Nico Daws has been respectable of late, we should see Jon Gillies here in the back-to-back spot.
Gillies holds a -15.9 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx), with an .887 save percentage in 17 games this season.
Unimproved Toronto Avoids Big Trade Deal
Toronto will skate for the first time since a somewhat surprising trade deadline that saw the Leafs not pull the trigger on anything massive, most notably passing on the chance to shore up the goaltending situation.
The Leafs made what appears to be a solid deal for veteran blue-liner Mark Giordano, as well as a solid depth forward in Colin Blackwell. However, with Rasmus Sandin and Ondrej Kase sidelined, it’s fair to say Toronto doesn’t head into this game with the best active roster it’s had this season.
Toronto’s defensive play has regressed from where it was over much of the season throughout the month of March, during which it has played to a 14th-ranked 2.96 expected goals against per 60 minutes.
Those numbers aren’t awful, but the margin between average and bad shrinks pretty quickly when a club is getting bottom-of-the-barrel goaltending. Toronto has still seen a fair number of goals against playing to better expected goals against per 60 minutes than that most of this season, so the fact that the defensive play is regressing is concerning.
Erik Kallgren has momentarily been pretty strong, but I still have to believe that he is going to be around league average or worse over a big sample size this season considering his larger track record.
Kallgren has played to a +2.3 GSAx with a .930 save percentage in four games.
Devils vs. Maple Leafs Pick
With all of the Devils’ most crucial weapons in the lineup, they continue to score quite effectively, as evidence of what we saw against Shesterkin. I have been steadily pumping the narrative that the Devils currently hold an underrated attack for the last couple previews I’ve written of their games. Tuesday night’s performance certainly drives that point home further.
It’s easy to see New Jersey’s speedy young attack cause some problems for the Leafs and manage to get a few past Kallgren, who I still figure is likely to post below-average numbers over a larger sample.
However it seems unlikely that we see the Devils average defensive play insulate Gillies enough for a low total against here, facing Toronto’s talented attack.
This is a spot where I could easily see both team’s managing 3+ goals, and at +100 on PointsBet to get over 6.5 I feel we have lots of value to look for a shootout here, in a game pitting two talented offensive squad’s against some below average net-minding.
Pick: Total Over 6.5 Goals (Play to -130)
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