Senators vs. Maple Leafs Odds & Picks: This Won’t Be Fun
Anne-Marie Sorvin, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Craig Anderson
- As part of the NHL's Opening Night, the Ottawa Senators travel to play the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- To no one's surprise, the Maple Leafs are massive betting favorites (-300 moneyline odds), with the Senators coming in at +240 odds.
- Our NHL betting expert Michael Leboff gives a preview for the game, along with his favorite betting pick.
Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Odds & Picks
- Senators Odds: +240
- Maple Leafs Odds: -300
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
Nothing screams “Hockey is back!” quite like putting your hard-earned money on the worst team in the league against a Stanley Cup favorite.
I must admit, I knew this day was coming. When the schedule was released back in July and I saw how this season was going to open, my first thought was, “I’m going to have to bet the Senators against the Maple Leafs.” I knew back then this line would get to the point where I was going to have to bet Ottawa.
Here we are.
The cold reality of betting the NHL is that if you want to have some success over time, you’re going to be investing bad teams against good teams regularly. So get to know these Ottawa Senators.
In fact, go buy yourself a Thomas Chabot or Brady Tkachuk jersey because those two blokes are going to be your heroes plenty of nights this winter. I want to tell you it’s going to be fun, but we both know that’s not true.
The Senators come into the season with the longest Stanley Cup odds and lowest season point total. The Leafs are the second favorite to win the title and have the second-highest season point total at 104.5, that is 36 points higher than Ottawa’s.
The Leafs play a high-risk, high-reward style and it works because they have more star power and shooting talent than almost every other team in the NHL. The Buds will happily bet on themselves coming out on top in high-scoring games because that is what they were built to do.
Last season, Toronto led the NHL with an average of 8.7 inner slot shots per game and finished fourth in the league with 2.55 expected goals for per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. There’s no stopping them, there’s only hoping you can contain them.
The gulf between these two teams is certainly wide, but the Leafs aren’t without their blemishes. Last season, Toronto allowed the seventh-most expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and its defense, despite some upgrades, is still not a strength. That weakness becomes exaggerated by the Leafs’ style of play, which goes all in on “the best defense is a good offense.”
The Leafs’ glitzy style of play does leave them exposed on the counter-attack and the Senators should generate high-quality scoring chances. If Ottawa can make good on a few of its opportunities, then who knows.
The point of all of this is to say that it’s very easy to see why Toronto is very likely to win this game. At the time of writing, the Leafs are -300 favorites and the Senators are +240 underdogs. Those odds, when you convert them to implied probability, suggest Toronto has a 71.8% chance of winning this game (without accounting for the vig).
I think that number flatters Toronto quite a bit, especially in this spot. It is the first game of the season and that should lead to a bit more chaos. Neither team will be at its sharpest, which should benefit the underdog. While I doubt the number will dip this low, I’d be comfortable betting the Senators down to +215.
You lose this bet more often than you win it, but that doesn’t make it the wrong bet.