Maples Leafs vs. Hurricanes Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Carolina Still Underpriced in This Spot
Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Svechnikov, Frederik Andersen
- The Hurricanes are a short favorite over the Maple Leafs in Raleigh on Monday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+).
- Toronto has been bad to start the season, highlighted by a 7-1 drubbing by the short-handed Penguins on Saturday. Carolina meanwhile is building off a stellar season, starting 4-0-0- with a +11 goal differential.
- Get our Hurricanes vs. Leafs pick and betting preview below.
Leafs at Hurricanes Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
It’s only six games into the 2021/22 NHL Season, but fingers are already hovering over the panic button for the Maple Leafs. Such is the life in the center of the Hockey Universe — especially after what happened to the Leafs last spring — but as bettors it’s our job to try to suss out whether or not the market is overreacting to what’s going on in The Six.
What we do know is that things won’t get any easier for the Buds as they take on one of the NHL’s undefeated teams, the Carolina Hurricanes, who just happen to be backstopped by Toronto’s former goaltender, Frederik Andersen.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and are coming off an embarrassing 7-1 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oh, and the Penguins were missing Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter in that game. That loss came 24 hours after a home defeat to the longshot San Jose Sharks.
Toronto’s issue isn’t a lack of scoring chances, but rather that the Leafs aren’t finishing the chances they do create. Toronto has scored -7.44 goals below expected, which is the worst mark in the NHL, so some positive regression may be around the corner, but there’s still no excusing the lack of production so far. With all their scoring talent, Leafs are built to overperform against their underlying metrics, not wallow below them.
Auston Matthews has not scored in his three games so far, Mitch Marner has one point on the season and John Tavares only has one goal to his name. If the top of the Leafs’ roster isn’t performing it’s a huge problem because the team’s lack of depth is a weakness. The fact that Toronto’s defense is allowing 13.34 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes (28th overall) is also a red flag, too.
To no surprise, the Carolina Hurricanes have been very strong out the gate. The Canes currently boast a +11 goal differential and have been excellent on both sides of the puck.
It also helps that Frederik Andersen has been incredibly sharp in the early going. After struggling through the last 18 months in Toronto, Andersen is 4-0-0 with a .944 SV% and a +5.2 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx), per MoneyPuck. He has only allowed seven goals this season.
The Hurricanes have given Andersen plenty of run support, scoring 18 goals in four games. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trochek, Teuvo Teravainen, Jordan Staal and Tony DeAngelo all have at least four points on the season.
Maple Leafs vs. Hurricanes Pick
It would be pretty surprising if anybody but Andersen gets the nod for Carolina, while the Leafs will likely go with Jack Campbell. After a decent start to the season, Campbell was yanked against the Penguins. If Campbell doesn’t go, Michael Hutchinson will man the blue paint and he’s really struggled in his spot starts, skating to a .857 SV%.
Carolina’s hot offensive start is backed up by the numbers. The Canes are sixth in expected goals created at 5-on-5 and average the sixth-most high-danger scoring chances at even strength, too.
The Hurricanes are currently slight home-favorites over Toronto, which is a bit surprising. I get that the Leafs came into the season with high expectations, but so did the Canes and they actually have backed them up.
I think the number on Carolina is too good to pass up.
Pick: Carolina Hurricanes -115