NHL weekend preview: Back Toronto to extinguish the Flames
We had a solid night on the ice Thursday. Powered by a 3-0 record on shot props, we finished with a 4-2 record across our best bets.
We'll look to build on that with our favorite plays for the weekend ahead.
Flames (+145) @ Maple Leafs (-165)
Nov. 12, 7 p.m. EST
The Maple Leafs are better than their record indicates. They rank second in the NHL in expected goals for percentage at five-on-five. No team has generated more scoring chances or high-danger opportunities than the Leafs. It's not even close, really; they're 66 clear of Florida in the former and 21 ahead of Detroit(!) in the latter.
Despite that, they actually have a negative goal differential at full strength. A big reason why is their team shooting percentages. They rank 27th overall and 26th on high-danger shots. That's not going to continue given all the high-end talent they possess.
What could help them get right in this spot is a Daniel Vladar start. Jacob Markstrom (6.1 goals saved above expectation thus far) is expected to get the night off. But no official announcement has been made, Markstrom's started seven in a row, and this is Calgary's third game in four nights. We're going to put two and two together here.
Vladar isn't as equipped to slow Toronto's attack. He owns a .887 save percentage through seven career games and has allowed 1.5 more goals than expected over his first couple of contests with Calgary.
The Flames are a good team, but the Leafs are playing very well right now, they're rested, and they have the edge in goal based on projected starters (Vladar versus Jack Campbell).
Bet: Leafs in regulation (-115)
Canadiens (+100) @ Red Wings (-120)
Nov. 13, 7 p.m. EST
The Canadiens were an absolute tire fire to start the year, but they appear to be righting the ship.
They own a respectable 2-2-1 record over their last five games and have downright dominated at five-on-five in that span. They've controlled 60% of the expected goals and won the high-danger chance battle 61-38.
Dictating play is half the battle. The other is capitalizing on the chances generated. Right now, the Canadiens are doing both, as Nick Suzuki, Brendan Gallagher, and the team's stars are starting to pile up the points and perform up to expectations.
The Red Wings are a fun story, and they're playing well. But they still have shortcomings defensively and on the penalty kill.
I expect Montreal to get the better of play at five-on-five and its power play, which is trending upward, is in a good spot to do some damage as well.
Bet: Montreal -110 or better.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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