Canadiens vs Maple Leafs NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions May 20

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Updated: May 20, 2021

The Toronto Maple Leafs (1) and Montreal Canadiens (4) will finally begin their best-of-seven Round 1 series on Thursday night in what will be the first playoff meeting between the two clubs in 42 years.

Toronto comes into the series as one of the top favorites to hoist the Cup, and the Habs will have a lot of work to do in order to knock off one of the deepest and best-attacking teams in hockey.

Here are our free picks and predictions for Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs for Thursday, May 20 (7:30 PM ET).

Canadiens vs Maple Leafs game info

Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Date: Thursday, May 20, 2021
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBC, SN

Canadiens vs Maple Leafs odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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Oddsmakers have Toronto as a heavy -200 home favorite with the total opening at 5.5.  Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Canadiens vs Maple Leafs series odds

Canadiens: +240
Maple Leafs: -315

Canadiens at Maple Leafs betting preview

Injuries

Canadiens: Shea Weber D (probable), Brendan Gallagher F (probable), Carey Price G (probable), Jonathan Drouin F (out), Cole Caufield F (likely scratch), Josh Anderson F (questionable).
Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman F (probable), Zach Bogosian D (probable), Riley Nash F (probable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The favorite is 23-8 SU in the last 31 meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs.

Moneyline pick

Last year, the Montreal Canadiens surprised many and won five games as a No. 12 seed. A lot of the success had to go to goalie Carey Price, who went 5-5 SU with a 1.78 GAA and a .936 save percentage. Fast forward to this year’s postseason and Price is entering the First Round under very different conditions.

Price has played just four games since the beginning of April thanks to a lower-body injury and, more recently, a concussion that has held him out of action for a full month. Price was also playing some mediocre hockey in 2021 before going down, as his .901 save percentage was the second-worst season mark in his 14-year career. 

Of the six other North Division opponents this year, Price struggled the most against the Buds, posting a .868 save percentage and a miserable 3.48 GAA. Price will have to be near perfect against a Toronto offense that finished second in nearly every goal-scoring category (behind Colorado) and was first in expected goals per game at 5-on-5.

Price will have to stand on his head because the Montreal offense has been stale all year and even worse of late. Since the trade deadline, only three other teams have scored fewer goals per game than the Canadiens at 2.28 — including just 1.5 at 5-on-5. 

The addition of Brendan Gallagher seems to be overblown as he had just a goal and three assists across nine playoff games last year. The big blow to this offense is likely the Game 1 spectating top prospect Cole Caufield will be doing from the press box as he has been practicing on the fifth line this week.

The Toronto power play has been a hot mess for as long as we can remember, but this is still one of the most dominant and deepest 5-on-5 lineups in hockey. Montreal is a physical squad, but Toronto is more than a two-line team like seasons past, and matching one line against the Marner-Matthews-Hyman (or Foligno) line will leave three more quality lines to have favorable matchups. 

This is also one of the best defensive teams the Leafs have dressed since the McCabe and Kaberle days. The addition of T.J. Brodie has anchored the backend all year and with Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott or Zach Bogosian taking the five and six spots this Toronto blue line can handle things even if injuries occur.

Outside of Auston Matthews and his league-leading 41 goals, goalie Jack Campbell has been the Leafs’ bright spot this season. After taking over the No. 1 job in late March, all the former first-rounder has done is go 17-3-2 with a 2.15 GAA and .915 save percentage. Sure, Campbell hasn’t played an NHL playoff game to date, but he’s mature (29 years old) and went 4-1-1 against the Habs this season with a 2.16 GAA.

PREDICTION: Toronto 3-way ML (-132)

Covers NHL betting analysis

Over/Under pick

Over the 10 meetings this year, the Under is 7-3 and 4-1-1 across the six most recent matchups. Both clubs finished the year as profitable Under teams and did so in very different ways.

Montreal lacks elite scoring talent as forward Tyler Toffoli led the team in goals (28 in 52 games) while the next highest goal scorer was Josh Anderson (questionable) with just 17 goals. Defenseman Jeff Petry was also the team’s No. 2 scorer with 42 points. This is an offense that scored three or more goals in regulation just four times across its final 17 games.

The Toronto power play used to be the best in the league — but those days are long gone. Since the trade deadline, the Leafs are just 4-for-39 with the man advantage (10 percent) which ranks in the bottom-five. They may be one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the league (58.33 goal percent, per Money Puck), but not banging in any PP goals is usually the difference in an Over or an Under. Toronto also draws and takes penalties at a bottom-seven rate decreasing the number of chances.

The Leafs have played remarkably well in front of Campbell this year, hence his record, and are much more comfortable playing in one-goal games. The Buds know how to win low-scoring affairs compared to a year or two ago. 

This total should keep creeping up to puck drop as the Leafs are a very public Over play. If you’re thinking of hitting the Under — like us — the price may be best closer to puck drop.

PREDICTION: Under 5.5 (-105)

Canadiens vs Maple Leafs betting card

  • Toronto 3-way ML (-132)
  • Under 5.5 (-105)

Picks made on 5/20/2021 at 4:45 a.m. ET

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