Sports

Oilers offer value versus Maple Leafs

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Saturday night’s showdown between the Maple Leafs and Oilers did not disappoint, unless you bet on the latter. The Oilers went into the game as +135 road underdogs and played well through the first two periods. In fact, when the Oilers took a 2-1 lead, the teams were deadlocked in statistical categories such as expected goals and shot attempts, according to Evolving Hockey. A late second-period goal put the Oilers up 3-1.

However, the Oilers went into a defensive shell and the Maple Leafs enjoyed a 23-12 edge in shot attempts and generated approximately 80 percent of the expected goals in the third period. The home team tied the game with just under four minutes left in regulation and Auston Matthews tallied his 22nd goal of the season just 54 seconds into overtime to give the Maple Leafs the 4-3 win. Toronto has dominated the season series on the surface, having outscored Edmonton 3.6-2.0 on an aggregate basis in winning six out of eight matchups.

Monday will mark the final time the two teams go head-to-head in the regular season, and although the Maple Leafs clearly are the better team, there is value in backing the Oilers at the right price. Both clubs rank among the best in the NHL by expected goals (Evolving Hockey).

Bettors who would like to back the underdog Oilers should be looking for better odds than the closing line (+130) of the previous game. By my estimation, the Maple Leafs should be priced at -130 as their chance of winning is approximately 56.5 percent. The Oilers did not play a complete game on Saturday after sitting idle for a week due to postponements. Bet on the Oilers to steal two points from the Maple Leafs on Monday at +135 or better. But seeing the Oilers were available at +140 or better throughout that day, it would be wise to shop around.

Auston Matthews (l) and Connor McDavid
Auston Matthews (l) and Connor McDavid
Getty Images

Elsewhere in the North Division, the Jets will rebound in a third straight meeting versus the Flames after a brutal showing by backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit. The Jets played well in both games versus the hapless Flames, but couldn’t overcome the poor play of Brossoit. It wasn’t a great showing by the Jets’ skaters, but their goaltender’s inability to make the simple stops negated any momentum they seemed to generate and prevented the team from defeating the Flames on back-to-back nights. It’ll be a different story on Monday, though, with Connor Hellebuyck back in the Jets’ crease.

Jacob Markstrom likely will be in goal for the Flames, but the tradeoff is one that bettors should accept. Hellebuyck picked up the win on Friday and bettors should expect a repeat of that game. With Hellebuyck in goal, I estimate the Jets will win the game approximately 54.5 percent of the time, which means they should carry a -120 price tag into Monday’s matchup. Desperation can only take a team like the Flames so far. Their performance under new head coach Darryl Sutter has been lackluster. Bet on the Jets at -110 or better, but expect a nicer price as the Jets were a road underdog in both games prior to this one.

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