The Boston Bruins are in unfamiliar territory, riding a three-game losing streak, and tonight vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs is the last day to end the skid until February 11 thanks to the All-Star break.
Is there value in the Bruins as short road favorites or are the constant line juggling and recent adversity a detriment vs. a Toronto team that is still without Auston Matthews?
Find out my best bet for the Bruins vs. Maple Leafs in my NHL picks and predictions.
Bruins vs Maple Leafs best odds
Bruins vs Maple Leafs picks and predictions
I’m expecting some goals tonight in a game that could see some optional defense, with the All-Star break coming and the Over steaming to 6.
Michael Bunting is playing on the top line with John Tavares and Mitch Marner, as well as on the first power-play unit (taking Auston Matthews’ spot).
Bunting is -120 to record a point and the winger is coming off a two-point game vs. Washington on Sunday and had a goal (power play) and an assist in the last meeting vs. the Bruins two weeks ago. He’s taken advantage of his increase in power-play time with two goals in his last five games on the top unit.
Looking at another play, David Pastrnak practiced with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand yesterday and is joining the top line as the team looks to shake things up during a season-high three-game losing streak.
Practice lines:— Scott McLaughlin (@smclaughlin9) January 31, 2023
This is great news for Bergeron, who will be centering the prolific goalscorer at even strength and on the power play. Bergeron to record an assist is priced at +170 and with so many touches and a more talented supporting cast, the Big Three will contribute tonight vs. a Toronto team that has been riding goalie Ilya Samsonov harder than it likely wanted to.
I’m expecting both top lines (and power-play units) to factor in on the scoring and Bergeron and Bunting are showing the best value with overpricing of William Nylander, Marner, Tavares, Marchand, and Pastrnak.
My best bet: Michael Bunting Over 0.5 points (-120 at SIA) and Patrice Bergeron Over 0.5 assists (+170 at SIA)
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Bruins vs Maple Leafs moneyline analysis
The Leafs and Bruins will meet for the second time in the last two weeks but there are plenty of differences this time around.
The Bruins won a back-and-forth 4-3 meeting at home vs. Toronto as -150 favorites two weeks ago but the Bruins come into Scotiabank Arena riding a season-high three-game losing streak.
Losing tonight would leave the Bruins with a lot to think about over the 10-day break, thanks to the All-Star game. This is basically the first real adversity the team has had to deal with all season, as it has dominated the league, but there's plenty of pressure to get that win before the holiday.
The Bruins will face a Toronto offense that’s still without Auston Matthews, which is worth roughly 20 points on the moneyline. The Leafs still have enough offensive talent in the top six to get by and the team bounced back well Sunday in a 5-1 win over the Caps, which followed a no-show at home vs. the Sens on Saturday night in prime time.
The Leafs opened at +100, briefly hit +105 at sharp books but took on some money and moved back to +100. The last meeting with Matthews in the lineup closed with the Bruins as -150 home favorites but -120 still seems short here when you consider Boston was +105 in Carolina last game.
This will be another close divisional game between two teams who hate each other but the break on the horizon increases the variance as this is a spot. The teams might give their least-motivated performance with a likely holiday on the horizon, and that could be why we’re seeing this line 20ish points longer on the visitors.
Samsonov will see his seventh straight game as Matt Murray is being Matt Murray. The Russian goalie, who has wrangled the No.1 job, is 5-1-1 with a .925 SV% over those seven games and wasn’t in net in the 4-3 Boston win two weeks ago.
That meeting saw 44 minutes in penalties and I’m unsure if we’ll see that much rough stuff tonight as an impending break could turn this game into a more lackadaisical contest than usual. However, the Boston losing streak should force the Bruins to put in a 100% effort tonight.
This will also be Toronto’s 11th home game over a 14-game stretch since January 1. The longest it has closed was -155 vs. the Rangers and tonight’s +100 price is the longest it has been at home all season.
I think there is a little value on the Toronto ML at +100 but it's not enough for me to play it.
Bruins vs Maple Leafs Over/Under analysis
The last meeting saw a closing total of 6 and I think that’s where tonight’s total will close after opening at 5.5. Some sharper books hit 6 just before noon and the other books are playing catch up.
We also saw last night that defense might be optional with the 10-day break on the horizon. All three games hit the Over last night and both games tonight are trending towards the Over today. No player wants to get injured with family holiday plans around the corner.
In saying that, Boston does have more to play for tonight because of the losing streak but this is also a team that is about as comfortable a team can get in first place with just over 30 games left on the schedule.
David Pastrnak has moved to the top line with Brad Marchand and Bergeron, which means the Bruins are loading up the line. Even without the last change, this top line will have a decent matchup without Matthews and his great defensive game keeping them in check.
Toronto's offense, fresh off a five-goal outing vs. the Caps, will see a Boston team that has been slipping defensively over the three-game losing streak, having given up 10 goals and 107 shots. The Bruins' No.1 penalty kill has also surrendered a goal in three of their last four games.
Linus Ullmark has taken the loss in two of the last three games and it’s possible the Vezina betting favorite takes a seat tonight and gives way to Jeremy Swayman, as Ullmark has played back-to-back games just once since the Christmas restart.
If the 5.5 is available, I’d suggest taking the Over, as you will certainly finish with the better number as defense could be optional with the break right there.
Bruins vs Maple Leafs betting trend to know
The Over is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings in Toronto. Find more NHL betting trends for Bruins vs Maple Leafs.
Bruins vs Maple Leafs game info
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 1, 2023|
|Puck drop:||7:30 p.m. ET|