Flyers vs. Maple Leafs Pick & Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (November 2)
Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: John Tavares.
- The Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs will face off Wednesday night a Scotiabank Arena.
- The Leafs enter as heavy favorites at home but Nicholas Martin is targeting the over/under in tonight's tilt.
- He breaks down the matchup and his betting pick below.
Flyers vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-300|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Ten games into the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are already skating with the weight of the world upon their shoulders, as arguably the world's most highly strung hockey market is having a field day with the club's ugly four game losing streak.
The Leafs will skate as gigantic favorites yet again in this spot against a Philadelphia Flyers team who played last night in New York, which is a situation that has already proven to be a nightmare for Leafs faithful this season.
It's entirely possible a shocking loss in this spot could spell significant change in some capacity for the Leafs. Will that pressure leak into Toronto's play at home?
Flyers Finding a Way, Somehow
The actual on-ice play has rarely been encouraging this season from coach John Tortorella's side, yet where it counts, the Flyers have been far better than expected.
The Flyers enter this contest with a record of 5-2-2, and the Tortorella effect has been apparent, as the team has played a very hard-nosed style and achieved greater results than anyone might expect.
Philadelphia likely are still due for some heavy regression when you look at their 37.1 expected goals for percentage, but as Tortorella said himself, his team couldn't care less about analytics and will not control more of the play by any means this season.
The idea clearly is to employ somewhat of a rope-a-dope type strategy and accept playing with less of the puck but avoid making high-danger breakdowns, and make opponents work for grade A chances.
Even still, a massive part of Philadelphia's success has been the unbelievable play of Carter Hart, who has put up an insanely strong +12.57 goals saved above expected rating with a .941 save % throughout seven appearances this season.
It is quite likely we see backup Felix Sandstrom get the start for Philadelphia here in the back-to-back situation, especially as Hart was worked extremely hard last night by the Rangers, who managed 36 shots on goal with a ton of offensive zone time.
Sandstrom owns a -1.5 goals saved above expected rating with a .900 save % through two appearances this season.
Maple Leafs Under Pressure
The Leafs will look to shake-off a nightmare west coast road trip, which saw Toronto put up a 0-2-2 record against some of the NHL's softest competition.
That puts a ton of pressure on Toronto to perform in this spot, as 4-4-2 is significantly far below expectations to this point.
The Leafs have blown a number of leads, and have often looked lethargic in the early going of this season, especially if you are going to put heavy weighting on how easy the schedule has been to this point.
To me, it feels clear that the negative atmosphere surrounding this club right now is weighing on the team, and I believe that pressure will create a situation where Toronto looks to play a highly detailed contest Wednesday and avoid making any kind of mistakes defensively.
That is a more reasonable notion than some might expect, as Toronto has still played to a seventh best xGA/60 rating of 2.98 this season, even with the team looking highly disengaged and not at its best.
And sure, you could say it's looked worse than that to the eye, and that the soft schedule helps, but Toronto did play to the league's third best xGA/60 a year ago, and they are playing another soft offensive club in this spot.
Offensively the Leafs simply have not popped like we saw throughout much of last season, and have typically only had 1-2 lines playing at a high level in each contest, which has led to a 26th best goals for per game rate.
Flyers vs. Maple Leafs Pick
Coach Tortorella's Flyers team has found ways to hang around in hockey games, even if realistically, it seems unsustainable looking at the actual process.
We know full well that in this spot as significant underdogs, the Flyers will look to keep the game simple, keeping five guys behind the puck as often as possible, and to avoid complete breakdowns against a high powered Leafs team.
We should expect Toronto to play a defensively sound, tight checking game here based upon all of the narratives surrounding this side right now, and they could be somewhat in the mindset of playing "not to lose" as opposed to attacking aggressively in pursuit of a win.
And regardless of whatever narratives could be at play to keep this score lower, a betting total of seven is notably high for any contest.
So in a spot where I believe the game could set up to be a nervy, tight-checking affair, we are getting a well above average game total, and therefore I believe paying some juice is quite reasonable and I see value with the under seven down to -145 if Sandstrom starts.
If Hart starts we will likely see most shops end up with totals of 6.5, and I would certainly still be interested at that number at that point.
Pick: Under 7 -130 (Play 7 to -145)