Bet the Total for Maple Leafs vs. Bruins NHL Pick

David Lawrence

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 1:21 PM GMT

It’s hard to believe that as we get set for Wednesday’s matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, it’s in fact the Bruins that are looking up at Toronto in the standings. The leafs are a -165 favorite on the NHL betting lines to get it done.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Can Win Because…
The Bruins are a shadow of the team we saw last year. Boston has won three of four but looking at the bigger picture in December, this is a team that’s lost eight of 13. They got the win on Saturday without Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic in the lineup, but obviously they are much easier to beat when their leading scorer and top winger are not playing. You’ll have to keep an eye on the wires to see if that tandem will in fact suit up.

The main issue for Boston this month has been goaltender Tuukka Rask. Normally, he’s a Vezina Trophy-caliber goaltender but he’s been pretty weak in December. He’s gone 4-4-2 this month with a 3.00 GAA. The last time these teams met, he gave up four goals in less than 24 minutes of action.

There’s an opening for Toronto here and if they play well, they can cash in as a big dog on the NHL odds.

 

The Boston Bruins Can Win Because…
They’ve won three of four, are getting back on track, and are facing a team that’s a mess right now. Sure, the Bruins have had their issues but a lot of that has been injury related. The Maple Leafs are a mess in their own right and it’s not because they’re missing key players. They’re pretty healthy and have still dropped five of six. Goaltending is the biggest conundrum as they’ve coughed up 24 goals in their last six contests, which boils down to 4.0 goals per contest. That’s simply awful.

While Rask has been struggling in December, he has won three straight starts and tends to play pretty well against Toronto. He’s gone 10-3-0 with a 1.85 GAA in his career against the Maple Leafs. His counterpart, likely Jonathan Bernier, is just 2-3-0 versus Boston with a 3.83 GAA in six career starts.

With the goaltending edge being the key, look for the Bruins to take advantage and get the win.

 

Outlook
This doesn’t look like a great spot for Toronto. They are 3-8 on the season when on the road with a total of 5.5 while Boston has won 14 of 21 at home with that same total. The Leafs have lost five of six while the Bruins have won three of four. Beyond that, the Leafs simply don’t play well in Boston.

However, the juice is too high here, so I’ll look for an over on the total as an NHL pick. Rask has a 3.00 GAA this month and the Leafs have one of the league’s best offenses. Combined with the fact that Toronto is giving up goals in bunches, we should see an over here.

NHL Pick: Over 5.5 at BetOnline

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