It’s not a holiday today in Toronto, but we should expect plenty of fireworks at the Air Canada Centre when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Maple Leafs in a matchup of potent attacks. Chicago’s coming off a seven-goal outburst in a rout of the Coyotes Monday, the fifth time in 10 games that the Hawks have put at least four goals on the scoreboard. The Leafs’ offense has been held in check of late, particularly an embarrassing 6-2 loss at home Monday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Toronto players should be licking their lips for the opportunity to face a Chicago team that has allowed the second-most goals in the entire league.
Any handicap of a Chicago game these days has to begin with a look at the Over. Before the Hawks’ 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, the Over was 20-1-1 in Chicago’s previous 22 games, and the Blackhawks cashed another ticket for Over backers Monday in their 7-1 win over Arizona. Even though the total here has been set at 7, no number may be high enough to suck all the value out of Blackhawks Overs, especially since the 7 is just slightly juiced tonight.
Another angle to attack here is a bounceback effort from the Leafs. Monday’s game against Tampa Bay was supposed to be a measuring stick of where Toronto stands a month before the playoffs begin, and the Leafs fell drastically short. Tampa Bay led 4-0 midway through the second period and held a 6-1 advantage before Toronto scored a meaningless third-period goal to make the score slightly more respectable. The last four times the Leafs have lost by three goals or more, they’ve bounced back to win. You won’t find a bargain in the moneyline unfortunately, but Toronto on the -1.5 puck line offers some nice value at the current +121 odds.
If your betting site offers them, Team Totals are one more way to find some hidden value in lopsided matchups like this one. A motivated Toronto team should find a way to get at least four pucks into the Chicago net tonight, and the Leafs may need at least four to get the job done, given how many goals the Hawks are scoring themselves. Bovada hadn’t released Team Totals yet at the time of writing, but if you can get the Leafs Team Total Over 3.5 at -150 odds or better, I think it’s worth pulling the trigger.
This game should feature lots of offense, and the higher scoring the game, the easier it is for the favorite to win by a comfortable margin. I’m betting the Toronto Maple Leafs on the -1.5 puckline at +121 odds.