Hot Gus Sarros and the Nashville Predators will take on a Toronto Maple Leafs who are missing superstar scorer Auston Matthews on Wednesday night. Our NHL picks expect captain John Tavares to step up his game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will wrap up a five-game home stand and take on hockey’s best goaltender in Juuse Saros tonight as the Buds host the Nashville Predators as a top 200 player.
The big news isn’t who the Leafs play, but more who they won’t have in the lineup, as Auston Matthews missed practice on Tuesday and was ruled out of tonight’s non-conference game. Will Leafs captain John Tavares step up in Matthews’ absence?
Find out my best bet on the Predators vs. the Maple Leafs, and check out NHL picks and predictions for the Caps and NHL odds on Wednesday night.
Predators vs. maple leaf best odds
Predatory Picks vs. Maple Leaf Predictions
There are a lot of moving pieces in tonight’s game. Austin Mathews is out. William Nylander will move to center. Pierre Engvall will play in the first row. TJ Brodie is out and Conor Timmins is in. Meanwhile, Juuse Saros is the best goalkeeper in the NHL over the past 30 days.
Sarros has been great lately, and his team has allowed an appalling amount of shots. The Finnish goalkeeper has made more than 100 saves in his last two matches, and has averaged 35.8 saves per game in his last 10 matches. He posted a 2.18 GAA over that stretch, but it’s a pretty unsustainable average – even against an offense without Matthews.
The safest angle in this game is that Nashville will allow a lot of snaps. He has allowed at least 32 shots in eight of his last 10 games, and 374 total snaps over that stretch. The Leafs are going to get a lot of pucks on the net tonight.
Nylander’s move to center could cut off his offensive production as he worries more about his defensive responsibilities. This could hurt Michael Bunting, too. However, John Tavares will still be on his familiar streak with Mitch Marner and Callie Yarncrook. The captain also has a goal in three straight games, and has at least three shots in 18 of his last 22 games.
Tavares can also move from the web forward position in the power play, which could make him look more open with a man advantage.
With Matthews out and his streak intact, Tavares must shoulder more of the burden tonight with an offense that, coupled with his recent production, could mean a big night in terms of volume.
Your best bet: John Tavares has 3.5+ shots on goal (+110)
Bet with one of Canada’s best
Looking to bet on some lives action? Join Sports Interaction, Canada’s best for new bettors.
Open an account now
Predators vs. Money Line Analysis by Maple Leafs
Toronto will be looking to end the Predators’ four-game winning streak, but will do so without Matthews and defender Brodie in the top four. Matthews has been dealing with an undisclosed injury that Sheldon has said has been bothering ‘Rocket’ winner Richard for a while.
Losing your best position and last year’s top scorer is never a good thing, but with the recent play of goalkeeper Juuse Saros it just exacerbates that problem tonight.
Saros has won four straight games and averaged 38 tackles per game over this small stretch with a . 956 save percentage. The Predators have given up a lot of shots lately (37.4 per game over the last 10), but Saros has answered the call with the best SV% in the league. During that time. 942.
This is probably an unsustainable stretch for Saros, but he sees the puck better than any goaltender in hockey. His take on the Toronto shorthands team makes the Predators a slight live dog tonight.
The Preds are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games and have decided the games at 5-on-5 with a penalty that allowed just four goals over their last 10 games. That might hurt the Leafs, who have scored in six straight games with a man advantage, but losing Matthews 5-on-4 won’t help.
During their winning streak, the Predators have defeated Ottawa (+105), Washington (+150), Carolina (+200), and Montreal (-250). Carolina’s win was very unlikely, as they allowed 67 shots. They were 32-for-21 against Washington in a 3-2 win. Saros was the difference.
The Toronto side are scoring wins over the weekend against some weak opponents in Detroit and Philadelphia, and the goal-kicking duo appear to be back on track after some sloppy play after the break.
While I think the Predators’ recent wins aren’t that impressive, the performances of Saros and Toronto having to move Nylander to center and manipulate lines due to Matthews’ absence is in favor of the underdogs.
The money streak moved from -200 to -180 once the Matthews news was confirmed, lowering the Preds’ ML value. I’d rather take on Sarros in the save-ball market than bet on a team that doesn’t play well and gets saved by shooting on goal.
Both teams must play tomorrow, which may favor the Preds, who continue their five-game road trip with a tilt in Montreal tomorrow. The Leafs have to leave home, cross the border, and face the Wings.
I tend to be a predator, but this side doesn’t get any of my money.
Predators vs. Maple Leaf Over/Under Analysis
That total opened at 6.5 briefly before the pot dropped to 6, moving further to rarer after the Leafs’ practice this morning. It’s hard to ignore the loss of Matthews, the move of Nylander to the center, the play of Sarros, and these are the reasons why the market is heading lower.
The Predators are a team that rolls in four rows and lacks top-notch scoring. Not a single skater averages at least 1 point per game, and facing a Toronto team that ranks fourth in 5 goals-for-5 allowed won’t help produce a visiting goal tonight.
We’ve also seen the Leafs turn into a defensive powerhouse when they have to deal with injuries. They have a way of closing shot opportunities and if they can get a medium to good goal, they always have a chance to keep their opponents to two goals or less.
Losing Brodie isn’t a big deal, but Timmins looked fine, and his inclusion in the lineup doesn’t hurt this team defensively.
Losing Matthews is a different story. The power play has been dealing with some recent successes, and will miss him with the man advantage. The 5-on-5 offense is a hit as Nylander will spin Bunting and Engvall on the top line, which could take away Nylander’s production.
Saros is not a goalkeeper that I want to bet on now, although his team is not playing well against him. He’s stealing toys, and I’m not going to put it in front of him to choke on the shortened foliage tonight.
I have no play on that total of 6, but I’ll lean on less if 6.5 is available.
Predator vs. Maple Leafs betting direction to find out
The Maple Leafs are 0-4 in their last four games after scoring five or more goals in their previous game. Find out more NHL betting trends for Predators vs Maple Leafs.
Game information Predator vs. Maple Leaf
|Location:||Scotiabank Stadium, Toronto, Ontario|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 11, 2023|
|puck drop:||7:30 p.m. ET|
Predators against major Maple Leafs infestations