Maple Leafs vs Coyotes Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: Bank on Bunting to Keep Shooting

The Coyotes give up a ton of shots, and Toronto LW Michael Bunting has not been afraid to let them rip as of late. Considering his juicy spot on the top line and top PP unit, our free NHL picks love the value for the Over on his SOG total tonight.

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2022 12:28 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their three-game road trip with a stop in Arizona to take on the Coyotes tonight as a heavy -300 road favorite.

It’s the shortest the Leafs have been on the road all year but bettors shouldn’t worry about the Leafs’ play vs. bottom feeders — they have won eight of their last nine games against teams with a losing record.

Instead of betting against the Buds, perhaps bettors should be looking at the total that NHL odds have had to adjust, and an NHL player prop for a winger who is getting new opportunities on the top power-play unit.

Find out exactly what I mean in my free NHL picks and predictions for Maple Leafs vs. Coyotes.

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes best odds

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes picks and predictions

On the season, only two teams allow more shots on goal per game than the Arizona Coyotes' 34.6 per contest. In the Mecca that is Mullet Arena, however, that number jumps to 36.4 shots per night.

The Toronto Maple Leafs' top line of Michael Bunting, William Nylander, and Auston Matthews totaled nine shots on goal Tuesday, with 15 attempts at even strength while adding another three shots on the power play — all coming from Bunting, who finished with six shots on goal.

That’s the second time in three games he’s recorded six shots as he has 15 total shots over that span. He didn’t find the scoresheet but had plenty of chances. 

Defenseman Morgan Rielly is likely to return tonight but he spent Wednesday’s practice with the second power-play unit, which will keep Bunting on PP1 for at least one more game.

The top-line winger is playing with confidence (five goals in his last seven games) and is getting PP1 time thanks to Sheldon Keefe going with five forwards.

His Over 0.5 points is a great play again tonight at -128 (a better price than Tuesday) and with books moving his shot total to 2.5 — and paying +120 — to the Over, the Over in that market is also worth it in a plus matchup.

It’s tough to find value in Toronto props — as Mitch Marner, Nylander, and Matthews all have point totals of 1.5 and taxed SOG markets — but Bunting playing his best hockey of the season and getting PP1 time is great for his Overs, especially with Arizona having a Bottom-10 penalty kill and taking more penalties per 60 minutes than any other team in the league.

My best bet: Michael Bunting Over 2.5 shots on goal (+120)

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Maple Leafs vs Coyotes moneyline analysis

Despite traveling to St. Louis a day early (and costing the franchise $100K), the Maple Leafs were anything but dominant vs. the Blues on Tuesday, blowing leads of 1-0, 3-1, and 4-3 before winning in overtime — thanks to a bad giveaway by Vladimir Tarasenko. 

However, a lot of that blame should be put on goalie Ilya Samsonov who saw just 34 shots, allowed four goals, and finished with -1.7 goals saved above expected. Toronto was nearly better in every metric and still scored five goals in the first game back from the holidays.

Now it travels to Arizona — the second game of a three-game road trip — to take on a Coyotes team that just beat the Avs 6-3 on Tuesday and already embarrassed Toronto earlier in the season.

The Yotes took a 4-2 win in Toronto back in October with Toronto closing as a -510 home favorite, which is the shortest they’ve been all season. Tonight the Buds enter as -300 road chalk vs. a team they’ve lost three straight against dating back to last season. 

The Leafs opened at -275 but have seen some money move this to -300. I still think there is some room for this line to become shorter, despite it being the shortest line they’ve been on the road since last season (when they closed at -390 in Montreal).

The Leafs lost as -295 favorites in Arizona last season but that game was also the backend of a back-to-back and the final game of a three-game road trip. This line could get as short as -330 today.

Toronto is also expected to get a huge boost as Rielly is probable to return after skating on Wednesday. The No.1 D-man has been out since late November and his return is certainly worth some points on the moneyline. He was skating with Timothy Liljegren and playing on the second power-play unit. 

Another good thing for Toronto backers is that Matt Murray will get the start for the Leafs. He has been more consistent than Samsonov of late and has a 2.18 GAA and a .932 SV% since returning from injury back in late November. The Leafs have also tightened up in front of him as Murray has seen just 64 shots over his last three starts. 

Arizona will likely go with Karel Vejmelka, who last played Dec 23 as Connor Ingram got the victory over Colorado on Tuesday. There was a point this season when Vejmelka was near the top of the league in save metrics, but the netminder has allowed three or more goals in 10 of his last 11 games and has been getting peppered with shots, seeing an average of 34 shots per game over that stretch. 

I’m not rushing out to bet the Leafs and would rather take their team total Over 3.5 (-143), but I’m also not buying into the head-to-head numbers too much and think this is a better team with Murray in the net.

Arizona is going to give up plenty of chances and unlike the Avalanche, the Leafs have no issues playing a high-scoring game. I’m sure Keefe will want to tighten things up after Tuesday, which is bad news for the Yotes. 

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes Over/Under analysis

The books have adjusted the Leafs’ totals over the last month as Toronto had become very profitable to the Under. Now the Buds are consistently seeing totals of 6 and are 5-2 to the Over on that number since the beginning of December.

The Leafs were also cashing Unders thanks to some unsustainable goaltending as Samsonov and Murray were two of the top goalies on goals saved above expected/60. The goaltending has regressed and this is still a team that is missing two of its top four defensemen in Jake Muzzin and Rasmus Sandin, plus it could also take Rielly some time to get up to game speed.

Arizona is one of the lowest-scoring teams in hockey, at 2.79 goals per game on the year, but the offense is coming off a six-goal performance vs. Colorado and is seeing an average of 6.37 combined goals per game.

If Arizona can get two goals tonight, a 4-2 or 5-2 Toronto win is very probable which has me leaning toward the Over, especially considering some books, such as FanDuel, opened this total at 6.5 yesterday morning.

From a side/total standpoint on this game, the Over 6 is my favorite play here especially with Vejmelka struggling and Murray being idle since December 20. 

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes betting trend to know

The Maple Leafs are 8-1 in their last nine games vs. teams with a losing record. Find more NHL betting trends for Maple Leafs vs Coyotes.

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes game info

Location: Mullett Arena, Tempe, AZ
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2022
Puck drop: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Arizona, Sportsnet Ontario

Maple Leafs vs Coyotes key injuries


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