NHL Odds, Picks: Wild vs. Maple Leafs Betting Preview & Prediction (Feb. 24)

NHL Odds, Picks: Wild vs. Maple Leafs Betting Preview & Prediction (Feb. 24) article feature image

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  • The Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs meet in NHL action on Friday night.
  • The Wild have been carried by hot goaltending of late, while the Leafs have continued to build on stellar offensive performances.
  • Check out Grant White's full betting preview and pick for Wild vs. Maple Leafs below.

Wild vs. Maple Leafs Odds

Wild Odds+172
Maple Leafs Odds-210
Over/Under6 (-112 / -108)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs embark on a four-game Western Conference road trip after tonight, but not before hosting the Minnesota Wild in an inter-conference battle.

Both teams have playoff aspirations and are currently locked into divisional playoff matchups. However, the Wild's grip is more tenuous than the Leafs, as they sit just two points up on the Colorado Avalanche for third in the Central Division and three points clear of the Calgary Flames in the wild card race.

We should start to see more desperate efforts from the Wild as we race toward the end of the regular season.

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Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is riding a four-game winning streak into Friday night's showdown against Toronto, but its success has been contradicted in some of its analytics.

The Wild have been outplayed in two of those four contests, posting a cumulative 44.1% expected goals-for percentage. Extending retrospect further back, Minnesota has outplayed its opponents just four times over its last 11 contests.

Goals haven't come naturally for the Wild over their modest winning streak. Minnesota has been limited to two goals in all but one of those contests, and their underlying metrics suggest that growth isn't expected.

The Wild have eclipsed nine high-danger chances once over their last 10 contests, with an average of 7.6. Worse, Minnesota has abandoned defensive zone coverage, allowing a combined 28 quality chances over its past couple of outings.

The Wild owe their success to their goaltending; however, they may also be reaching a tipping point in their metrics. Minnesota goalies have combined for above-average save percentages in five of their previous seven games, with a 95.5% benchmark across that span.

Consequently, we should expect regression from Wild netminders over their coming games as their save percentage works back down toward the normal range.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto could help facilitate that regression, as it remains one of the best scoring teams in the NHL.

Overall, the Leafs are a top-seven team in goals-for and have metrics supporting sustained production. At five-on-five, the Maple Leafs rank top-three in scoring and high-danger chances and have dialed up their efforts of late.

The Leafs are flourishing offensively. Toronto has eclipsed double-digit quality opportunities in 12 straight games, averaging 15.3 chances per contest. More impressively, it's dictating pace on both ends of the ice and handcuffing opponents.

The Maple Leafs have accumulated a 60.4% high-danger chance rating across the 12-game sample while limiting their opponents to nine or fewer quality opportunities in 7-of 8.

As expected, that has shifted the expected goals-for rating in the Leafs' favor. The Original Six franchise has outplayed its opponents in all but two of its last 12, in which they have seven wins.

Toronto sits below its expected win total, and given its improved analytics, should continue to see more wins pile up.

Wild vs. Maple Leafs Pick

The Wild's offense has been running cold, and a hot goaltender can only carry a team so far.  In contrast to what we've seen from the Maple Leafs, this one could get ugly.

Toronto has one of the most dynamic offenses in the league and has inflated its metrics more recently. Minnesota lacks the defensive structure to limit the Leafs' attack and falls even further behind in production metrics.

Based on implied probability, the Leafs have a 66.7% chance of winning tonight's nonconference matchup. But we rate their chances better than that. Toronto is the right side to be on.

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