Sharks vs Maple Leafs Picks and Predictions: Fade Toronto In Look-ahead Spot

The Leafs are big NHL betting favorites at home against the Sharks tonight, but with a date in Pittsburgh on tap tomorrow — and third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson between the pipes — there's value in fading the Buds.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2021 11:53 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs NHL
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to get their offense going versus the surprising 3-0 San Jose Sharks Friday night at Scotiabank Arena as the visitors will be on the backend of a back-to-back after winning 2-1 in Ottawa last night.

Adin Hill will get the start in net for the visitors, who opened as +208 NHL betting underdogs, while the Leafs (-236) will go with backup Michael Hutchinson. The total opened at 6 and has hit 6.5 at some books. 

Here are our free NHL picks and predictions for Sharks vs. Maple Leafs on Friday, October 22.

Sharks vs Maple Leafs odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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Sharks vs Maple Leafs picks

  • Sharks ML (+208)
  • Over 6 (-120)

Picks made on 10/22/2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Sharks vs Maple Leafs game info

Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Date: Friday, October 22, 2021
Puck drop: 6:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN4, NBCSCA

Sharks vs Maple Leafs betting preview

Injuries

Sharks: Evander Kane F (Out).
Maple Leafs: Ilya Mikheyev F (Out), Petr Mrazek G (Out), Ondrej Kase F (Questionable).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Sharks vs Maple Leafs head-to-head record (2017-2020)

Sharks: 2-3-1, 17 goals for.
Maple Leafs: 4-2, 21 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 3-0-1 in Sharks’ last four games playing on zero days' rest. Find more NHL betting trends for Sharks vs. Maple Leafs.

Sharks vs Maple Leafs picks and predictions

The Maple Leafs come into Friday’s matchup against the Sharks with a huge advantage as the Leafs have been off — and at home — since Monday, while the Sharks are coming off a 2-1 loss in Ottawa last night. However, it’s only an advantage if the Leafs can put the puck in the net... And so far this season, that has been a struggle.

Last season’s playoff scoring drought has leaked into the 2021-22 season for the Buds, and for a team that hasn’t left the province for a long time — and has had to constantly answer to these questions — there is starting to become a serious disdain between the players and the media as the pressure builds.

Toronto has had a ton of chances and sits in the Top 5 in expected goals but also has the second-worst shooting percentage at 5.2 percent — when the league average is closer to 10 percent. Despite the offensive struggles, the Leafs have managed to pick up a pair of wins in four games and a lot of that has had to do with goaltender Jack Campbell, who will sit this one out.

Campbell owns a 1.15 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage but with a date at Pittsburgh looming tomorrow, he will give way to longtime backup Michael Hutchinson, who has made 28 starts for the Leafs over the last three seasons and has picked up 10 wins with a GAA close to 3.00.

Toronto has the highest turnover rate in the league and the fifth-highest expected goals against/60 at 5-on-5. Without Campbell to bail them out — and an offense that is struggling — San Jose is a live dog at +208.

Adin Hill gets the nod between the pipes for the surprising 3-0 Sharks, who were outplayed last night but still pulled off the win (-116) thanks to some solid goaltending and a penalty kill that went a perfect 3 for 3. Hill has started two games this year already and is coming off a 27-save shutout against the worst offense in hockey in Montreal. Despite some high goals-against averages over his last two seasons in Arizona, Hill posted a very respectable .915 save percentage during his time in the desert. 

The Sharks have some of the lowest Fenwick% numbers in the league, meaning they are giving up more shots than they are producing, but if Toronto continues to struggle offensively — and San Jose can capitalize on Toronto’s abundant turnovers and facing a below-average goalie in Hutchinson — this price is too high not to take once again.

The Leafs will figure things out eventually but with them finally getting out of Ontario with a game at Pittsburgh tomorrow, this suddenly turns into a great spot bet as well for the Sharks. Toronto desperately wants away from the media and is already looking ahead as it has changed tonight's usual 7:00 p.m. ET start time to 6:00 p.m. ET to better help the player's sleep patterns in preparation for the trip to Pittsburgh (no really, that’s why).

So here we are, one more time fading the Leafs. We’ll bet them eventually, but we can’t pass this price up, even with San Jose on a traveling B2B — Hutchinson should not be a -236 on a ML.

With Toronto’s inability to put the puck across the line, the Under is a perfect 4-0 to start the season for the Leafs. However, metrics indicate that this should not be the case. The Leafs have the lowest goals for above expected (-6.28) at 5-on-5.

Basically, this means Toronto has six fewer goals than expected. A low goal tally, and high expected goals, will do that. 

Toronto also has -5.17 goals against above expected, which is tough to do as only three teams in the league are currently in the negative for that stat. This follows the same logic as above, so taking those two metrics, Toronto games are missing 11 total expected goals (six for + five against) over its four contests — which is a big reason for the perfect Under record.

Auston Matthews will have had more time to get acclimated after missing the first three games with a wrist injury. He had eight shots on goal last game and could have easily potted multiple goals — despite being six off the lead already, he is still the betting favorite to lead the league in goals scored at +350.

With Hutchinson in net tonight, we’d expect the visitors to get a few. The numbers prove that just as much as the Leafs should be scoring, they should also be allowing more goals against.

The Sharks aren’t loaded with scoring talent, coming into the season as a projected non-playoff team, but they potted four goals against Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck in the opener and are 5 for 12 on the power play this season. Defensively, this team has some liabilities on the backend in veterans Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, who are better with the puck than without it.   

Toronto has to catch a few breaks tonight and the Sharks can get some pucks past Hutchinson who, if you haven’t been paying attention, is actually a third-string goalie and option to fade.

This total opened at 6 but has hit 6.5 in many places — we’re getting on the 6 now at -120.

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