NHL Tuesday best bets: Leafs to pounce on injury-plagued Golden Knights

Kevin Sousa / National Hockey League / Getty

We started the week off with mixed results. The Blackhawks bounced back in a big way, thumping the Senators 5-1 to win their first game of the campaign.

Our player prop didn't work out so well. Alex DeBrincat couldn't get in on the fun, failing to get three shots on goal for just the third time this season.

We have a jam-packed schedule on the docket Tuesday. Let's get into our best bets.

Golden Knights (+160) @ Maple Leafs (-180)

To say the Golden Knights have injury problems would be an understatement. The lineup is a shell of its usual self.

Vegas is expected to be without Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, William Karlsson, Nolan Patrick, and Zach Whitecloud, among others, against the Maple Leafs.

Those injuries leave the Golden Knights paper-thin, which is especially evident when looking at their centers. Nicolas Roy is expected to head the top line, while Chandler Stephenson, Mike Amadio, and Jake Leschyshyn will play behind him. Not ideal.

While the Maple Leafs can be inconsistent defensively, I really don't see these undermanned Golden Knights creating much offense. That's problematic given how poorly they're defending. Vegas ranks dead last in expected goals against per 60 at five-on-five. They're giving up quality chances in bulk, which is a recipe for disaster against the likes of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Co.

Toronto is playing well offensively despite its early struggles to find the net. No team is generating scoring chances and expected goals at a more efficient clip. The Maple Leafs are just struggling to convert. That will change sooner than later given all their high-end talent.

The Leafs should have no problem creating opportunities against this ailing Vegas team, and I expect them to capitalize.

Bet: Maple Leafs in regulation (-120)

Devils (-125) @ Ducks (+105)

Despite Jack Hughes' absence, the Devils have been a very strong five-on-five side in the early going. They've controlled 53.81% of the expected goals, good for seventh in the NHL. They're consistently getting the better of the chances.

The Ducks, well, are not. Anaheim owns a 45.51 xGF%, which ranks them 28th.

Even being their third game in four nights, the Devils are a good bet here to control the run of play. That bodes well for their chances of success, especially with Jonathan Bernier expected back between the pipes.

He's not exactly a household name, but he played well for a bad Red Wings team the last couple of years and has picked up where he left off in New Jersey. He owns a 3-0-0 record and has a +3.3 goals saved above expectation.

That's much better than Bernier's expected counterpart, John Gibson. He started the year well but has quickly fallen off. He owns a pedestrian .906 save percentage and a GSAE of -2.3.

However, I would hold off on this bet until we get a little clarity. New Jersey played the Penguins on Saturday and the Blue Jackets on Sunday. Both of those teams dressed at least one player who is now in COVID-19 protocol, so it's possible some Devils players were exposed.

I recommend holding off until the team is cleared. Should that happen, the Devils are worth backing.

Bonus round: I don't want to leave you hanging with just one play in the event the Devils encounter COVID-19 issues. As such, I'm also backing the Dallas Stars (+110). They've been playing very well since getting the likes of Jason Robertson and John Klingberg back in the lineup but have been scoring on an unsustainably low percentage of their shots. That's bound to change soon, especially if Connor Hellebuyck isn't available in the Jets' net. Winnipeg recalled an AHL goaltender as insurance because Hellebuyck may miss the game due to the seemingly imminent birth of a child.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

NHL Tuesday best bets: Leafs to pounce on injury-plagued Golden Knights
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