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Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds & Picks: The Side to Bet in Game 3

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds & Picks: The Side to Bet in Game 3 article feature image

Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrei Vasilevskiy

  • The Maple Leafs and Lightning will face off in Game 3 with the series tied 1-1.
  • Tampa Bay secured a big win in Game 2 and now returns to home ice looking to take control of the series.
  • Tony Sartori shares his best bet for Friday's Game 3 below.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Odds

Maple Leafs Odds +100
Lightning Odds -120
Over/Under 6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Game 3 of the first-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs is set to get underway on Friday night after the two teams split the first two games of the series. Tampa Bay returns to home ice following Wednesday’s 5-3 victory in Toronto and will look to build upon its momentum.

Will the Lightning take a 2-1 series lead, or can the Maple Leafs get their revenge on the road?

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Toronto Maple Leafs

Following a dominant Game 1 performance, the Maple Leafs appeared to have woken up the back-to-back champions. Starting goaltender Jack Campbell came back down to earth and allowed five goals on 34 shots for a 0.853 save percentage.

While the defense in front of him was not good, Campbell certainly owns some of the blame as he had -0.63 goals saved above expected (GSAx) in Game 2. This figure is consistent with Campbell’s ability, as he possesses a five-on-five GSAx per 60 minutes of -0.2 this season.

It is fair to say that Campbell’s Game 1 performance was more of an outlier than Game 2 as he boasted a 1.39 GSAx in the win against Tampa Bay on Monday. Though, in some fairness to Campbell, the defense in front of him also regressed back to the mean in Game 2 as they gave up 4.37 expected goals against (xGA).

This number represents a 2.84 point increase from Game 1. Toronto’s offense also took a step backward in Game 2, as their expected goals for (xGF) dropped 1.85 points from Game 1.

Toronto will have its hands full as it now has to play on the road. On the road this season, Toronto went just 23-18 straight up and 1-1 with a -3 goal differential in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning return home with momentum in their hands following their great performance on Wednesday. Tampa Bay has been fantastic at home this season, going 27-14 straight up.

Amalie Arena is an extremely tough rink to play in during the postseason. The Lightning went 9-3 on home ice in the 2021 postseason, which ended with six straight wins and a +18 goal differential at Amalie Arena. On top of that, starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was much more like himself in Wednesday’s victory.

In Game 1, Vasilevskiy had a -0.3 GSAx as he allowed five goals on 31 shots for a 0.839 save percentage. In Game 2, Vasilevskiy had a +0.07 GSAx as he allowed three goals on 34 shots for a 0.912 save percentage.

Game 2 was more similar to Vasilevskiy’s performance this season as he boasts a 0.916 save percentage and a +0.4 five-on-five GSAx per 60 minutes.  Despite guarding the pipes against a dangerous Toronto offense, I believe it is more likely Vasilevskiy keeps positively regressing back to the mean, rather than posting another performance similar to Game 1.

Vasilevskiy is even more dangerous on home ice during the playoffs. Last postseason he boasted an incredible 0.940 save percentage at home. Betting against Vasilevskiy in the postseason on home ice is not a profitable endeavor and I would not be shocked if Toronto returns home for Game 5 down 3-1 in the series.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Pick

The mood in Tampa Bay is much different following Wednesday’s victory over Toronto. While the Maple Leafs punched them hard in Game 1, the Lightning responded exceptionally well with a great road victory and looked like the back-to-back champions that they are.

Momentum should carry over from that performance into their first home game of the postseason. While I think the public will also be all over Tampa Bay, I have to back Vasilevskiy on home ice in May.

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning ML (-115) | Play up to (-130)

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