November 16, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Hockey Betting:  Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Tough to figure Eastern Conference matchup. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers are tied with 17 points and are one of 6 teams within 4 points vying for second place behind the Montreal Canadiens. Both teams are playing decent though not mind blowing hockey. The Leafs are 6-4-0 in their last 10, Florida is 5-5-0 in their last 10. The Canadiens have lost two straight games for the first time this year though they’ve still got a 7 point advantage over the rest of the division.

On paper, Florida could be in the classic ‘letdown spot’ after a 4-3 win over the first place Habs. I say ‘in theory’ since it doesn’t work so well as a handicapping concept as it does in football or basketball. The Panthers have definitely been more competitive in their losses with only one loss but more than 2 goals all season. The leafs have looked good against substandard competition and caught Nashville in a tough spot due to a (hopefully) minor injury to Pekka Rinne. Along with those losses they’ve also dropped a 7-0 verdict to Los Angeles and a 4-1 loss at Pittsburgh.

The price on this game doesn’t give us much to go on either. This might be a situation where we’d take the underdog if we were getting a price but that’s not in play here either. The Panthers have won 6 of 9 overall during the past three seasons including 4 of 5 at the Air Canada Centre. Of course with the Leafs an absolute grease fire in recent years that’s a less significant metric than it would be ordinarily. The goaltending matchup is still ‘advantage Florida’ even though backup James Reimer is getting the start. Lest we forget, he’s a former Maple Leaf and with all of the abuse that he and Jonathan Bernier took from fans this could be a ‘kill spot’ for him.

Ultimately, Florida is the better team. The Maple Leafs have a ton of potential for the future but at a pick’em price we’ll take the superior side. The Panthers have the better defense and the god like presence of Jaromir Jagr. Just see a lot more upside at the price with the deeper and more experienced team with better goaltending.