Jets vs. Maple Leafs: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Jets vs Maple Leafs NHL
Winnipeg vs. Toronto, Bell MTS Place

The Toronto Maple Leafs have begun to build a little separation again in the North Division as winners of four of their last five games. The Winnipeg Jets are hoping to close that gap Friday night when they host the Maple Leafs for the second game of their two-game series. This will be the fifth meeting between the teams in the last three weeks and most of them have been close games and the teams have split their last four games. The Maple Leafs will increase their division lead to a league-high five points if they can secure a win over the Jets on Friday.

Free Picks

Trying to pick a goal scorer in this game is a bit crazy because most of the big names have such short odds that there isn’t value. So I ended up picking a guy who hasn’t scored in his last eight games for +240 odds at the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey. I chose Nikolaj Ehlers not only for his value, but his past performances against the Maple Leafs. It was just a few short weeks ago that Ehlers scored twice in an overtime loss to Toronto than turned around and scored again two nights later. He’s scored just once in 10 games since then, but I think he has the chance to make an impact on this game offensively on home ice.

NIKOLAJ EHLERS SCORES GOAL

These are two of the highest-scoring teams in the league, so it doesn’t make much sense to bet a low total in this game. The previous five games between these teams has either ended with seven or four goals, and I’m betting on a big offensive explosion in this one. The +250 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey help, but I expect this game to be more like the seven-goal outbursts than the four-goal contests because it’s the second game of this mini series. We could see two backup goalies, and the scores tend to be higher when one or both teams go away from their regular starters.

OVER 7.5 TOTAL GOALS

It’s been a month since the Maple Leafs last won a game with Michael Hutchinson in goal, so this is why I’m picking Winnipeg in this game. Toronto may decide to go back to the hot hand in Jack Campbell, who has won all seven starts this season, but the condensed schedule and a busy next week make me believe Toronto will go with the backup. The Jets are a strong team despite scoring just once in Wednesday’s loss to Toronto and I expect a stronger effort from them in this game. The Maple Leafs deserve to be the favorites at the NHL betting sites in New Jersey, but I like the risk of Winnipeg at +124 odds.

WINNIPEG JETS WIN

Best Odds

Winnipeg Toronto
888Sport
+120 -148
FanDuel
+124 -146
BetMGM
+115 -135

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the sixth of 10 scheduled matchups this year between Winnipeg and Toronto as the Maple Leafs have won three of the five previous meetings this season.

Stats

  • This game features two of the best power plays in the league as Winnipeg ranks fourth with a 26.2 percent success rate and Toronto is close behind in sixth with a 24.8 percent success rate.
  • He flies under the radar for the most part in the NHL, but Mark Scheifele is fifth in the league with 44 points this season. His 15 goals and 29 assists do not rank in the top five in either category, but he has played a large role in the Jets’ success this season.
  • The Maple Leafs have five players with double digit goals and assists this season. Besides the obvious two in Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, John Tavares (10 goals, 18 assists), William Nylander (13 goals, 13 assists) and Zach Hyman (12 goals, 12 assists) have reached the mark.
  • No goalie in the NHL has faced more shots than Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and no one has turned away more shots than the Jets goalie. Hellebuyck has also played the second most minutes of any goalie in the NHL this season.

Our Prediction for Winnipeg vs. Toronto

Winnipeg Jets to win

This is a true toss-up, but I lean toward the Winnipeg Jets for simple fact that Michael Hutchinson will likely start Friday for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is not nearly as good this season in front of Hutchinson as it has been in front of its other goalies, in particular Jack Campbell. The Maple Leafs might go back to Campbell after his stellar performance Wednesday. However, Winnipeg also has alternated wins and losses with the Maple Leafs this season and this would set up to be a Jets victory in that pattern. In such a close matchup, these little details are what determine my pick.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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