After sitting out the first few nights of the Stanley Cup playoffs, we’re ready to take the plunge with our first bet of the postseason, going with an underdog play in the Leafs/Bruins clash.
We were also close to pulling the trigger on a first-period moneyline play on the Ducks, who are just -119 at Pinnacle and a couple of other sites at the moment. Anaheim’s in a pretty desperate situation tonight as it looks to avoid going out on the road down 0-2, and we think the Ducks should get off to a strong early start this evening.
Good luck if you’re tailing along!
Odds below are at the time we made the pick. Be sure to check out our live odds page for updated odds on today’s games.
Coming off a 5-1 loss in the series opener, the Leafs should come out as a pretty hungry team in the early going tonight. They’ve also been a phenomenal first period team the last 2 years under Mike Babcock, including this season when they were +25 in goal differential in opening frames. Even on the road, the Leafs were +6 in the first 20 minutes.
Boston’s been no slouch at home in first periods (+12), but that goal differential is still lower than either the second or third period of Bruins home games. So by taking the Leafs in the first period tonight, we’re taking Toronto where they’ve statistically been at their best all year while going against the Bruins when they’ve been at their worst.
There’s more to this handicap than that, of course. The Bruins are favored by around 15 cents more in this game than they were in Game 1, partly because of their 5-1 victory Thursday and partly because of the suspension of Nazem Kadri. That’s created a lot of value on Toronto in our opinion.
Thursday’s game wasn’t a typical 5-1 blowout, with the Bruins holding a slight 2-1 lead until late in the second period, then pulling away in the third. In fact, the Leafs would have taken a second-period lead if Mitch Marner hadn’t missed an open net from a tough angle, and Toronto’s powerplay looked pretty good much of the night as well. We also often see teams rebound strongly after lopsided losses (such as the Flyers last night), and the Leafs forwards should bring an extra focus tonight in order to compensate for the loss of Kadri.
Given all of these factors, +135 return on Toronto to simply hold the lead after the opening 20 minutes looks more than fair.
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