NHL picks: 4 best bets for Leafs vs Jets
Our NHL expert has picked out his four best bets as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.
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Winnipeg Jets to win
In a battle between the top two teams in the North Division, a win for the Jets would allow them to leapfrog the Maple Leafs, who still have a game in hand.
Not much has separated these two teams in four previous matchups, with each club taking home two wins. The Jets have a slight advantage in the goal differential, though, at 13-12.
Winnipeg is back on home ice after going 4-3 on a seven-game road trip. They’ve been strong at home with a 10-5-1 record and have returned to Winnipeg after several successful stretches on the road recently.
On top of that, Connor Hellebuyck has been on a bit of a heater with wins in each of his last four starts. Assuming he’s in net Wednesday night, I like the value on the Jets in this one. He has a .921 save percentage in three previous starts against the Maple Leafs.
On top of that, Toronto is coming off of three consecutive overtime games over a five-day span, having lost their last one on Monday to Edmonton. The Jets could potentially be able to take advantage of a weary Leafs team.
Over 6.5 total goals
These teams have combined for seven goals in three of their four previous meetings this season.
The Maple Leafs have been one of the highest scoring teams on the road, with an average of 3.40 goals per game away from Toronto this season. Winnipeg is averaging 3.44 goals at home, which puts them eighth in the league right now.
While I think Hellebuyck will be the difference in the game, that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop everything. I think the fatigue factor could play into this one and it’s always difficult to gauge if that is going to mean more goals or fewer.
I think the tight race these two clubs are in is going to put the emphasis more on their offensive attacks as each tries to fight fire with fire.
Nikolaj Ehlers to score anytime
Ehlers is one of the most underrated point-per-game players in the league right now. His speed makes him one of the most exceptional offensive threats in the North Division.
Ehlers is currently in a seven-game goal drought but he had three goals in the last series with the Maple Leafs and has six total points in the four-game series to date.
He’s also coming off of a three-assist game against Calgary which could indicate he’s heating up again offensively after one of his quieter periods this season.
I like to look at players that have a bit of momentum going and Ehlers has that heading into the series.
Auston Matthews to score 2+ points
The NHL’s leading goal scorer has multi-point games in two of the four matchups with Winnipeg and has 11 multi-point games total this season. With five points over the four games against the Jets, I like Matthews’ chances of hitting the scoresheet a few times on Wednesday night.
He has seven points over his last nine games, a stretch in which he failed to record a point in just three games. With points in three straight, Matthews is looking stronger and stronger as he continues to battle through some injuries this year.
There aren’t a ton of players I often consider looking at for multi-point bets, but Matthews is in the regular rotation. I think the gravity of this game, with first place in the division on the line, will make him rise to the occasion.
#BETYOURWAY: Winnipeg to win, over 6.5 total goals, Ehlers to score anytime, Matthews to score 2+ points
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