Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Picks: Habs Layoff A Disadvantage?

Feb 20, 2021 |
Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Picks: Habs Layoff A Disadvantage?
The Canadiens haven't played since last Saturday—against these same Maple Leafs. Will Montreal have any rust against a Toronto team that had three games against Ottawa over that same span?
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
The Canadiens haven't played since last Saturday—against these same Maple Leafs. Will Montreal have any rust against a Toronto team that had three games against Ottawa over that same span?
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight week, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will highlight the NHL betting board for Saturday night.

Last weekend, Montreal skated away with a 2-1 third-period comeback win after Toronto failed to add to its 1-0 lead, thanks to the play of Montreal goalie Carey Price.

NHL odds have the Canadiens as a slight -105 home underdog with the total opening at 6.5 shaded to the Under.

Here are our free NHL picks and predictions for Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, February 20 (7:00 p.m. ET).

Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens betting preview


Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman F (Questionable), Wayne Simmonds F (Out), Jack Campbell G (Out).
Canadiens: Tomas Tatar F (Out), Paul Byron F (Out), Joel Armia F (Questionable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 7-0 in Toronto’s last seven games versus a team with a winning record. Find more NHL betting trends for Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens.

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NHL sharp money and line movement report

By Patrick Everson

This game has hovered around pick 'em since going up at PointsBet USA on Friday morning, with the Maple Leafs opening -115, the moneyline moving to -110 pick this morning and then back to Leafs -115 this afternoon. "The Leafs are getting most of the moneyline action, with 81 percent of the bet count and 86 percent of the handle," PointsBet's Patrick Eichner said of action at 4:30 p.m. ET. The total opened 6.5 (Under -115) and moved a few cents to 6.5 (Under -120), with 55 percent of bets and 82 percent of money on the Under.

Check out the full line movement for this game

Moneyline pick

The Leafs and Habs will play their fourth matchup of the season Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Toronto has taken two games but these clubs tend to play each other tightly, as indicated by a goal differential of 10-8 in favor of the Leafs.

Montreal will be well-rested as its last game was one week ago in Toronto. The break will help the club catch a breather after it finished a stretch of nine games in 17 days. The Canadiens went 5-4 SU over that stretch which, includes a 0-3 SU mark at home.

Carey Price stole the show last weekend as the Montreal goalie kept his team in the game until the offense tied things up midway through the third period. The one-goal performance was arguably his best game of the year but it will be tough for him to carry that momentum over having been off for an entire week. Price owns a 3.32 goals-against average with an .878 save percentage on three-plus days of rest this season, compared to a 1.76 GAA and a .933 SV% with more regular action.

The Leafs got the wheels back on the tracks this week following their third-period collapse to the Sens on Monday with a pair of wins over Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday. Toronto is the best team in the league at the moment with 28 points in 18 games and is offering bettors a great ML price of -110 against a team that has been idle for a week.

This month, the Leafs are a Top-5 team in goals for percentage, expected goals for percentage, scoring chances for percentage, and high-danger chances for percentage. Add in the fact that they are surrendering just 2.38 goals per game this month and that -110 sure looks like a bargain, despite the game likely to be another close one.

The Leafs are 5-2 SU on the road this year, while the Canadiens have managed just six points in seven home games. Toronto has been -120 or better just three times this year and is 3-0 SU—with all three wins coming in regulation.

PREDICTION: Toronto moneyline (-110)

Over/Under pick

Before their break, the Canadiens had hit the Under in five straight games and four of the season’s five Saturday games. Their road offense is the best in the league at 4.13 goals per game, but at home, it has been a different story with a Bottom-10 mark of 2.71 goals per contest—leading to the Habs going 2-4-1 O/U on the year at the Bell Centre. 

Toronto has done a good job at running up the score against sub-.500 teams but has turned into a much more disciplined team versus more talented competition. In games against teams with winning records, the Under is 7-0 in Toronto's last seven matches and this month the Leafs’ O/U record stands at 2-5.

Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen finally got a breather this week, after playing nine straight games. He will be back in action tonight and that should help keep this low scoring: The Under has hit in five of his previous six starts as the Danish goalkeeper has given up just two or fewer goals in five of those six matches.

Price has made a living stepping up in big games, as over the last two seasons, the Montreal goalie has posted a better GAA and SV% against the Leafs than his season averages, while he also loves playing in Saturday’s primetime games—where he has a career 2.26 GAA and has allowed just four goals across three Saturday starts this year.

Jumping on the Under after the Leafs potted seven goals on Thursday gives reason for caution, but the Buds have potted five goals in a game four times this year and the following contest has yielded an Under three times. This is a Toronto team that’s becoming a better defensive team than a year ago as its O/U record this month indicates.

PREDICTION: Under 6.5 (-120)

Maple Leafs vs Canadiens betting card

  • Toronto moneyline (-110)
  • Under 6.5 (-120)
NHL parlays

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