NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Sharks vs. Maple Leafs (November 30)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs
- The Maple Leafs are in fine form as they host the Sharks on Tuesday night.
- San Jose has been playing better than many analysts had expected, but this game features a mismatch in the goals.
- Below, Nicholas Martin explains how he's betting the matchup, including prop and parlay considerations.
Sharks vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds
|6 (-122 / +104)
|7 p.m. ET
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
After an uneven start to the season, Toronto has righted the ship with a 10-1-3 record in November. The Maple Leafs next will look to put a bow on one of the best months in club history with a win on the night Borje Salming will be remembered Wednesday.
San Jose continues to be a tier above the pure lottery teams, and the Sharks made another big statement with last night's emphatic 4-0 win in Montreal.
Toronto's current roster core has garnered somewhat of a reputation for letting down in these kinds of spots over the last few years. Will a scrappy San Jose side prove troublesome for the red-hot Leafs?
San Jose Sharks Better than Basement-dwellers
San Jose has played a more well-structured team game than the vast majority of sides at the bottom of league standings, and the team is a far cry from the likes of the Blue Jackets, Blackhawks and Ducks.
San Jose has played to a 50.64% expected goals for rate in the month of November, and the team has been rewarded with a 5-5-4 record.
Beyond Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl, the Sharks do not feature many skaters able to generate offense and at an above-replacement level clip, and a lack of depth in that area will always prevent this roster from achieving too greatly.
Karlsson's early resurgence has been a massive story and has him in the Norris conversation, but it's worth noting that his offensive production is due for a hit once his team's shooting percentage with him on the ice regresses to a more standard rate.
The greatest current concern for San Jose – or at least for fans who are still cheering for wins – is that top netminder James Reimer has landed on the IR with a lower-body injury.
Dating back to last season, Reimer has been quietly steady in the Sharks goal. He has played to a very reasonable -1.1 goals saved above expected during that time.
Since Kaapo Kahkonen worked last night versus Montreal, my expectation is that we will see third-stringer Aaron Dell make his season debut on Wednesday.
Dell has played to a .904 save % with the AHL Burracuda in seven appearances this season, and he struggled to an .893 save % and -4.4 GSAx with the Sabres in his NHL work last season.
No Easy Goals on Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite its reputation for being soft and easy to play against, as well as apparently holding two bad goaltenders entering this season, Toronto continues to allow the opposition few goals.
That trend that has dated back to the start of last season, and losing to an extremely strong Tampa Bay side in seven games last postseason seems to have extended that narrative for yet another year. But the fact is that none of the stats actually supports that idea.
The Leafs have allowed the fourth fewest goals against in the league this season at 2.54, and their strong play in front of goal has allowed the duo of Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray to thrive to a combined +9.6 goals saved above expected rating.
Toronto owns a 52.95 xGF% over the last 10 games, and it also owns a +10 goal differential over that span, which has included a number of tough opponents.
Toronto's blue line is currently depleted with the likes of Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, Jordie Benn and Jake Muzzin, but it is worth noting that several of those pieces have not actually been overly key to the Leafs' success over the last two seasons anyway.
Ilya Samsonov is set to return to Toronto's crease tonight, and he has been very strong with a .921 save % and +4.9 GSAx throughout eight appearances.
Sharks vs. Maple Leafs Pick
Toronto has settled into a dominant run of play, and even while paying respect to the fact that San Jose has simply been better than most expect, I believe the Leafs should win comfortably Wednesday.
Samsonov vs. Dell is a fairly notable goaltending mismatch, and the likes of Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander are probably excited looking at this matchup.
The Leafs will need to keep the workrate and urgency at the level it was at throughout the road trip, and if we see Toronto play at its highest level again, San Jose likely will not generate much in return.
Toronto has covered the puck-line in four of its last eight contests, but in this highly favorable spot, I believe it is far more likely than a 50% chance that trend continues.
At -112 to -120 for Toronto to cover the puck line, I see value and would play that down to -130.
Single-game parlays involving a Leafs win and Marner points are also intriguing to me if you have the ability to play them.
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (-112) | Play to -130