NHL picks: 4 best bets for Flames vs Leafs
Our NHL expert has picked out his four best bets as the Calgary Flames visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
Create your own bet for the NHL with #BetYourWay. Simply tweet us your request @betway using the hashtag #BetYourWay and we'll get it priced up before kick-off.
Check out the Betway Insider's NHL picks and predictions page for best bets throughout the 2020-21 NHL season.
Toronto Maple Leafs to win
The Toronto Maple Leafs have just three losses in regulation and were shut out for the first time this season on Monday against the Flames. David Rittich was the surprise starter for Calgary after Jacob Markstrom was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Rittich has appeared in just six games so far this season, four of which were starts. Monday’s game was his first win. In three previous starts, all of which were on the road, he allowed a total of nine goals. That said, he has won three of four games against the Leafs in his career, so maybe he just enjoys playing Toronto.
This is less about Rittich, however, and more about the Leafs offense - it is really tough to keep them down. The number of weapons they have to respond after Monday gives me all the reason in the world to expect a significant bounce back. Toronto has not yet been swept this season and has only lost two straight once, too.
One thing that complicates matters is that it’s unclear who Toronto will turn to in goal. Frederik Andersen appears as though he’ll remain out after missing the game on Monday and practice on Tuesday. Regular backup Jack Campbell does not appear ready to play.
That suggests that Michael Hutchinson will make his third start of the season. Though he took the 3-0 loss against Calgary on Monday, he still made 30 saves and gave Toronto a chance. Now he just needs the goal support, which I think he'll get on Wednesday night.
Over 6.5 total goals
If the goaltending matchup is indeed Rittich vs. Hutchinson, I don’t know whether we’ll be seeing the same exceptional performance. The Flames offense has been really, really streaky, but Monday’s win should have given them a bit of confidence.
Hutchinson is 2-4-0 in six career appearances against Calgary with a .900 save percentage, allowing 18 goals over those contests. This just hasn’t been a team he has historically matched up well against.
Only one of the three previous contests between these two clubs saw the goal total hit the over, but the battle of backups in net combined with the way both teams have been playing recently suggests scoring will be up in this one.
Auston Matthews to score a goal
Matthews has been almost automatic this year, having scored goals in 13 of his 19 games so far.
He’s especially potent after the few losses the Maple Leafs have had this season. In each of the games immediately following a Toronto loss, Matthews has found the back of the net.
He may be starting to run away with the league’s goal scoring title, too - he leads the NHL with 18 goals, five more than anyone else.
If you want to value hunt, you might consider betting on Matthews to score the game’s first goal , which he’s done in the games following each of Toronto’s losses this season. Matthews has also scored the game’s first goal a league-best five times so far this season.
Mitch Marner to score 2+ points
While Matthews has drawn most of the headlines for his incredible goal-scoring prowess, Marner is actually leading the team with 30 points.
He's been held off the scoresheet only five times this season and has not yet gone back-to-back games without a point. In three of the previous four games after being shut out, Marner had multiple points. He also had two points in each of the two previous games against Calgary before Monday's blanking.
Marner and Matthews have been two of the most reliable producers in the league. Following such a disappointing game on home ice, you know both of those players are going to be looking to make a significant impact.
#BETYOURWAY BOOST: Toronto to win, over 6.5 goals, Matthews to score anytime, Marner to score 2+ points
Visit Betway's NHL betting page.