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Maple Leafs vs Lightning Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2023

On the brink of elimination down 3-1 in their best-of-seven series, the Tampa Bay Lightning marched into Canada and emerged with a hard-fought 4-2 victory.

Once again, another golden opportunity to close out a series was squandered by the Toronto Maple Leafs, a sight die-hard Toronto fans have become all too familiar with over the past few seasons. The series now shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 6 with the pressure continuing to mount for the Maple Leafs.

Will the Leafs finally get over the first-round hump? Or will the Bolts force a Game 7 back in Toronto?

Find out below where I profile game odds, predictions, and best bets between the Maple Leafs and Lightning.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 6 Odds

NHL odds used for these best bets are current as of Friday, April 28 at 10:00 am ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Lightning (-110) • Maple Leafs (-110)
  • Puck Line: Lightning -1.5 (+220) • Maple Leafs +1.5 (-260)
  • Total Goals Scored: Over 6.5 (-110) • Under 6.5 (-110)

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 6 Prediction

Lightning 3, Maple Leafs 2

In addition to the blown opportunity to close out a series from the Maple Leafs’ point of view (this is a recording), Andrei Vasilevskiy had perhaps his strongest game of the postseason in Game 5.

The subject of criticism through the first four games of this series, the Bolts netminder responded in a big way allowing just two goals on 30 shots to go along with an impressive .933 save percentage, leading his team to victory.

The Lightning also received much-needed scoring from a few unlikely heroes in the form of Mikey Eyssimont, who had two points on the night, and Nick Paul, who snapped a 31-game goal drought. In a game where both teams’ best players were fairly quiet, it’s important to acknowledge the significant contributions the Bolts received from their depth forwards.

The Leafs will be in for a tough draw on Saturday night against a desperate Bolts team who posted an impressive 28-8-5 (.692) record on home ice during the regular season. Look for the Bolts to emerge victorious in Game 6 at home and extend the series to seven games.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 6 Best Bets

Lightning ML (-110) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

In what’s projected to be a close game that may even require overtime, we’ll target the Bolts to win outright on a single-unit wager.

Going into pressure-packed situations in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has not been kind to the Maple Leafs over the past few seasons. Since 2013, in games where the Leafs could advance and be on the correct side of the handshake line, Toronto has gone 0-11.

History is certainly not on Toronto’s side even with the current core of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Morgan Rielly, and until this team can show they can reverse the narrative and win the critical fourth game in a series, you have to lean with the Bolts.

It’s hard for me to envision a Tampa Bay team this good dropping all three games in a playoff series on home ice. For these reasons, we’ll ride with the Lightning at a decent price point, making it our NHL bet of the day.


Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 5 Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs triumphantly overcame a three-goal third-period deficit Monday, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime for the second-consecutive game.

Toronto now leads its best-of-seven series with Tampa Bay three games to one, pushing the Bolts to the brink of elimination in Game 5.

Can the Maple Leafs exorcise their first-round demons and finally win a series? Or will the Bolts force a Game 6?

Let’s read on and examine some game odds, predictions, and best bets between Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 5 Odds

NHL odds used for these best bets are current as of Wednesday, April 26 at 8:00 a.m. ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Maple Leafs (-155) • Lightning (+135)
  • Puck Line: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+175) • Lightning +1.5 (-205)
  • Total Goals Scored: Over 6.5 (-115) • Under 6.5 (-105)

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 5 Prediction

Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 1

After back-to-back emotional victories on the road in Tampa Bay, the Maple Leafs find themselves one win away from Round 2.

The Maple Leafs’ success thus far in this series stems from their explosive offensive output, which has seen them score 19 goals in just four games. Toronto’s “big boys” – Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Ryan O’Reilly – have also combined for 31 points, and each ranks in the top 10 in NHL playoff scoring.

The Leafs have also received a boost from top prospect Matthew Knies, who has injected new life into Toronto’s middle-six forward group with his speed, tenacity, and forechecking ability.

On the Tampa Bay side, Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to struggle this series posting an abysmal .856 save percentage (SV%) and 4.33 goals-against average (GAA).

Tampa Bay has played a ton of hockey over the past few seasons, having appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals for three consecutive years, and that finally will catch up to them this time around.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 5 Best Bets

Maple Leafs -1.5 (+175) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Puck line wagers are especially challenging in the NHL Playoffs, due in large part to the variance of outcomes and the overall competitive nature of each matchup.

However, the Maple Leafs seem to have a different look and feel this spring, so we’ll target them against the puck line spread in an elimination game.

Up to this point, Toronto has been able to get the better of Vasilevskiy and rank second in the playoffs in both Shooting percentage on SOG and Shooting percentage on Unblocked Shots.

Facing elimination, Tampa Bay coach John Cooper may even pull Vasilevskiy earlier than expected if his team is down by one or two goals, so there’s the option of an empty-net “freebie” to seal the series for Toronto.

Take the Maple Leafs to cover the spread as our NHL featured bet.


Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 4 Preview

In a game that had a little bit of everything, the Toronto Maple Leafs marched into Tampa, Fla., and escaped with a massive 4-3 victory in overtime.

Toronto now leads their best-of-seven series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1, with Game 4 set for Monday evening.

Below, we’ll examine some game odds, predictions, and best bets between Toronto and Tampa Bay in what’s been one of the most entertaining first-round matchups thus far in the NHL postseason. Let’s go ahead and meet our plays.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 4 Odds

NHL betting information used for these best bets is current as of Sunday, April 23, at 3:00 p.m. ET and was found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Maple Leafs (-110) • Lightning (-110)
  • Puck Line: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+220) • Lightning +1.5 (-260)
  • Total Goals Scored: Over 6.5 (-105) • Under 6.5 (-115)

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 4 Prediction

Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3

Tampa Bay outshot Toronto 39-27 and posted an expected goal (xG) of 4.17 (compared to Toronto’s 2.96, per MoneyPuck) while outplaying the Maple Leafs for the vast majority of the game Saturday. However, the home team ultimately fell short.

On Monday, the Bolts will seize a golden opportunity to even up the series on home ice.

In Game 3, Tampa Bay’s top line of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos racked up a whopping 15 SOG and 90% xG% but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Keeping one of hockey’s most lethal lines at bay on back-to-back nights will prove a tough test for Toronto.

Despite Toronto’s impressive, gutsy win in Game 3, look for this trio to explode in Game 4 en route to a much-needed Lightning win.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 4 Best Bets

Over 6.5 Total Goals (-105) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Given how the Over has hit in all three games thus far in this series, our featured NHL pick between the Maple Leafs and Lightning will target the total.

Games 1 through 3 have seen the two teams combine for a colossal 26 goals (8.6 goals/game), which has stemmed in large part to the subpar goaltending on each end of the ice.

Both starting goalies have struggled, with Ilya Samsonov posting a 3.70 GAA and .878 Sv%. On the other end, Andrei Vasilevskiy has countered with a 4.22 GAA and .853 Sv%.

Given what we’ve seen thus far between these two teams, there’s no real evidence to suggest this game will be anything short of yet another goal fest.


Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 3 Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs bounced back in dominant fashion on Thursday night, evening up their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning at one game apiece after an astounding 7-2 victory.

The series now switches to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4, with the momentum pendulum swinging in Toronto’s favor.

In this article, you’ll find some game odds, predictions, and best bets ahead of Game 3 between the Leafs and Bolts. Let’s read on and meet our plays.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 3 Odds

NHL lines used for these best bets are current as of Friday, April 21, at 4:00 p.m. ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Maple Leafs (-120) • Lightning (+100)
  • Puck Line: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+220) • Lightning +1.5 (-260)
  • Total Goals Scored: Over 6.0 (-120) • Under 6.0 (+100)

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 3 Prediction

Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 2

As it currently stands, the Lightning are once again set to play Game 3 without both Erik Černák (upper body) and Victor Hedman (undisclosed).

The combined absences of Hedman and Černák were greatly felt in the Tampa lineup as the Leafs dominated Game 2 from start to finish, led in large part, by their top players.

Thursday’s thrashing came on the heels of a four-assist effort from Morgan Rielly, two goals and one assist from Mitch Marner, and a hat trick from Leafs captain John Tavares.

Another key factor has been Toronto’s willingness to get to Bolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has given up 10 goals over the first two games of this series to go along with a 5.00 goals-against-average and .853 save percentage.

It’s unlikely we’ll see another blowout performance, but look for the Leafs to score early and often en route to a victory in Game 3.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 3 Best Bets

Maple Leafs Moneyline: 3 Way, Excluding OT (+135) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Our Leafs and Lightning best bet will target a regulation win by the Maple Leafs on a single-unit wager.

As a team, the Lightning struggled defensively throughout the 2022-23 campaign ranking 22nd in the NHL in both high-danger shots against and xGA/60 (Per MoneyPuck). Toronto, on the other hand, has shown that its offense can explode at any point, ranking 3rd in hockey in GF% and 7th overall in GF/60 (Per EvolvingHockey) during the regular season.

The omissions of Černák and Hedman from Tampa’s top-four defensive core can’t be understated, and I think the Bolts will continue to struggle in their own end.

There’s no way I can foresee this game requiring overtime, so we’ll ride with the Leafs to win in regulation at plus money (+135) for our NHL bet of the day.


Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 2 Preview

After a commanding 7-3 victory by the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road in their series opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the stage is set for Game 2 in what’s shaping up to be a must-win game for Toronto.

Will the Bolts take a 2-0 stranglehold on the series? Or will the Leafs even it up at one game apiece before the series shifts to Tampa Bay?

Let’s take a deep dive and look at some Game 2 odds, predictions, and best bets between the Maple Leafs and Lightning.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 2 Odds

NHL odds used for these best bets are current as of Wednesday, April 19, at 5:00 p.m. ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Maple Leafs (-165) • Lightning (+140)
  • Puck Line: Maple Leafs -1.5 (+165) • Lightning +1.5 (-195)
  • Total Goals Scored: Over 6.0 (-120) • Under 6.0 (+100)

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 2 Prediction

Maple Leafs 3, Lightning 2

The Bolts scored early and often in Game 1, neutralizing Toronto’s best players and taking home-ice advantage away from a porous Maple Leafs squad. On Thursday, Toronto gets a chance for redemption, and they’ll punch back with authority. For that to happen, they’ll need a much better effort from Ilya Samsonov in goal.

Samsonov’s Game 1 performance was an outlier; he finished the 2022-23 campaign with a whopping 19-3-3 record on home ice to complement a 1.98 goals-against-average and .927 save percentage.

A strong performance between the pipes, combined with a more complete performance from John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner, who by all accounts played anything but their best games Tuesday.

Expect a vastly different Leafs team in comparison to the one that was absolutely shelled in Game 1.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 2 Best Bets

Under 6 Total Goals (+100) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Our Game 2 best bet between the Lightning and Maple Leafs will target the Under.

It’s not often an NHL playoff game features 10 total goals, but that’s exactly what happened in the series opener.

As a team, the Leafs ranked eighth in goals-against (2.68) during the regular season. They also killed penalties with an 81.9% efficiency rate, good for 12th best in the NHL (Per StatMuse), which is a far cry from the effort to which the Leafs treated their passionate fan base in Game 1.

Look for a far more structured, less eventful, and low-scoring performance in Game 2, which should propel Toronto to a much-needed victory, making this our NHL bet of the day.


PREVIOUSLY: Maple Leafs vs Lightning Game 1 Prediction

  • PREDICTED SCORE: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 1
  • ACTUAL SCORE: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3

Previously: Maple Leafs vs Lightning Series Preview

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning will meet for the second straight year in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In this article, you’ll find series odds, predictions, and my favorite best bets as one of the most highly-anticipated first-round matchups takes center stage in the NHL postseason.

Let’s dive in and go over my marquee plays between the Leafs and Bolts.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Series Odds

To Win Series: Maple Leafs (-155) • Lightning (+135)

NHL odds used for these best bets are current as of Sunday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. ET and were found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Maple Leafs enter this series as favorites across a plethora of sportsbooks, and rightfully so.

Despite the countless first-round disappointments that have seamlessly hindered and followed the Leafs in recent postseasons, Toronto is a much-improved team in comparison to the one that was ousted by the Bolts in the first round last season.

The Leafs will also have the benefit of home-ice advantage where the club posted an impressive 27-8-6 (.658) record this season. This could play an important factor as this series progresses.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Series Prediction

Maple Leafs Win Series 4-2

Unlike past years, the Tampa Bay Lightning enter the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs on their heels, posting a 5-8-0 record over their final 13 games of the regular season.

Gone are the likes of Ryan McDonagh and Ondřej Palát, two key players that helped Tampa Bay make three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, are far better equipped this spring after the trade deadline acquisitions of Ryan O’Reilly, Jake McCabe, Sam Lafferty, Noel Acciari, Luke Schenn, and Erik Gustafsson to further compliment Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly.

Maple Leafs vs Lightning Series Best Bets

Maple Leafs to Win Series 4-2 (+450) • DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

For my series best bet, I’m targeting the Maple Leafs on a single-unit wager.

Although I typically refrain from wagering correct series scores because there are so many factors and variables that come into play over the course of playoff series, I love the value you’re getting with the Leafs at +450.

I anticipate a highly contested contest between two excellent teams that may even go the distance. Take the Leafs to finish off the Bolts in six in this NHL best bet.

Author

Domenic Lunardo

Domenic is a freelance sportswriter at The Game Day. Previously, he wrote for The Hockey Writers, Prime Time Sports Talk, and Faceoff Sports Network. Over the past few years, Domenic has provided analysis more frequently in the sports betting industry and maintains an active presence on Twitter, primarily posting daily betting cards across the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, college basketball, and soccer. Although Domenic has a diverse sporting background, he specializes in hockey and football.

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