Maple Leafs vs. Devils Odds & Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (November 23)
Pictured: Vitek Vanecek. (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)
- The Maple Leafs got off to a slow start, but have been playing better of late.
- Meanwhile, the Devils have been one of the best teams in the league this year and are looking to stay hot on Wednesday night.
- Ryan Dadoun previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Leafs vs. Devils Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||+115|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
A lot was expected of the Maple Leafs going into the season and despite a rocky start, they've gone 6-1-3 in their past nine games to climb to 10-5-5. That gives them the third highest point total in the Eastern Conference, but still puts them way behind the 16-3-0 Devils.
New Jersey already earned a narrow 3-2 overtime win in Toronto on Nov. 17. Will the Maple Leafs be able to even the season series?
Toronto Maple Leafs
It's a little weird to think of the Maple Leafs as being the third-best team in the Eastern Conference when they've lost as many games as they've won, but that's the nature of the loser point. No team has lost more games in overtime than Toronto, which is 1-5 in the extra period.
You'd think the a team with Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander and Auston Matthews up front — not to mention a superb offensive defenseman in Morgan Rielly — would shine in three-on-three play, but that hasn't been the case this season.
Toronto surprisingly had the 27th-ranked offense in October at 2.70 goals per game, but has moved up to 3.20 goals per game since the start of November. That's still not where the Maple Leafs should be given the number of star forwards headlining the team, but it's a big step in the right direction.
Matthews has heated up, scoring six goals in his past 10 games after netting three in his first 10 contests. Meanwhile, Tavares has provided an incredible seven goals and 13 points in his past 10 contests. Marner has two goals and 14 points in his past 10 games and Nylander has six goals and 11 points in the same span.
The Maple Leafs' ongoing issue is their lack of secondary scoring. Outside of their big four forwards and Rielly, Michael Bunting is the only other player with double digits in points and he's just barely there with 10. By contrast, New Jersey has eight players with at least 10 points. The Devils also have 16 players with at least five points, compared to Toronto's 11.
Toronto has been able to hang in games anyway thanks to its defense and goaltending. Injuries have been a big issue for the Maple Leafs on the goaltending front, but Ilya Samsonov was great when healthy and now that he's out with a knee injury, Matt Murray is more than holding his own, allowing just seven goals in his past three starts.
New Jersey Devils
How is it the Devils, a team that finished 27-46-9 last season, are now 16-3-0? Well, it starts with their goaltending.
Mackenzie Blackwood is out with a MCL sprain, but he hasn't been their best option anyways. His 4-2-0 record, 2.79 GAA and .880 save percentage falls well short to what Vitek Vanecek has done. The Devils acquired Vanecek from Washington over the summer and that move has that paid off for New Jersey.
Vanecek owes part of his success to the team playing in front of him, but he still deserves a good amount of credit for his 9-1-0 record, 2.14 GAA and .918 save percentage in 12 games this season.
With Blackwood out, Akira Schmid has served as the backup and he's taken advantage, posting a 3-0-0 record, 1.34 GAA and .941 save percentage. It's too early to pass judgment on the 22-year-old goaltender, but between that and his strong play in the AHL this season, there's plenty of reason to be encouraged by his development.
Beyond the strong goaltending, the Devils are also excelling offensively. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes went through some growing pains in the early stages of their careers, but at this point, they're some of the best forwards in the game.
Bratt set a career-high last season with 73 points and he's doing even better this season with eight goals and 24 points in 19 contests. Hischier could eclipse his career-high this season after setting it at 60 points in 2021-22. He's scored nine goals and 22 points through 18 contests. Hughes is right up there with them, providing seven goals and 21 points in 19 contests.
Leafs vs. Devils Pick
The Devils are deservedly billed as the favorites in this game, but are they overwhelming favorites? No. Toronto has a solid shot at winning this game, even on the road.
I don't feel confident taking the Devils on the puck line as Toronto has only lost by more than one goal once in its past nine games. In fact, I'm tempted to take Toronto on the puck line, but the potential payout there is an unappealing -200. You could take the Devils on the moneyline instead, but the potential payout is just -145, which I'm not thrilled with given the risk.
Ultimately, I like the Under. This game features some high-end forwards, but it should also include some solid defensive play and strong goaltending. The Devils are allowing just 2.32 goals per game this season while Toronto is surrendering an average of 2.70. The last time these teams played, they combined for just five goals and that was in an overtime contest. There is reason to believe this game will be low scoring and the Under offers a decent +100 payout. I don't see the Under as any riskier of a bet than just taking the Devils on the moneyline, so the better payout is what tips me over the scale.
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