NHL Odds, Picks: Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 4 Prediction
Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs)
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 4 Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-114|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-104 / -118)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of this NHL Eastern Conference series on Monday night.
Goal scoring has certainly been a non-issue in this series thus far, with seven or more total goals scored in each of the first three games.
Will this trend continue, or can the goaltending step up in Game 4?
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Game 4 betting pick.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ trend of high-scoring outings stretches back to the regular season, with six or more total goals scored in 15 of their past 22 games.
Toronto’s success hinges on its dynamite offense, something it will surely lean on in an attempt to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, the Leafs finished the season ranked seventh in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at 5-on-5.
This explosive offense transitioned smoothly into the postseason, ranking third in the same category amongst Eastern Conference playoff teams thus far.
However, this blue line does not quite hold up compared to the powerhouse offense. While the defense is deep, it features six guys who are all solid, but not spectacular.
Toronto attempted to bolster this blue line with the acquisitions of Luke Schenn and Jake McCabe at the trade deadline, but the results have not been there.
Since the Christmas break, the Leafs rank in the bottom half of the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Like Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to ride a flurry of high-scoring affairs. There have now been six or more total goals scored in 12 of their past 17 games.
At 5-on-5 this season, Tampa finished eighth in the league in xGF/60, which should not be surprising given the immense amount of scoring talent in the top-six forward group.
With that said, this team’s biggest weakness is a thin blue line, which could ultimately prove to be its downfall in this opening round.
Ian Cole does a tremendous job on the defensive end while Mikhail Sergachev is basically the “new” Victor Hedman. Outside of those two guys, the rest of the Bolts’ defensemen played at replacement level during the regular season.
This year, Tampa ranked just 19th in the league in xGA/60 at 5-on-5.
Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Pick
With Ilya Samsonov slated to go against Andrei Vasilevskiy, goaltending is the biggest concern working against the Over in Game 4.
Both guys put together tremendous regular seasons with save percentages north of .914. However, the first three games of this series have not gone smoothly for either guy.
Samsonov possesses a .878 SV% and 3.70 GAA through the first three games while Vasilevskiy returns a troubling .853 SV% and 4.22 GAA.
Based on their underlying metrics, positive regression may be difficult to come by in this series, as they rank 12th and 13th, respectively, in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5 among postseason goaltenders that have played at least two games.
Pick: Over 6 (-137) | Play up to -145
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