As the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare for their return to action, we take a look at the latest odds for their play-in series versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
We’re getting ever closer to the return of hockey, and Toronto Maple Leafs fans are understandably excited (and probably slightly nervous as well). First up will be an exhibition game versus their long-time rivals the Montreal Canadiens on July 28, before we turn our attention to the real action.
The Leafs are set to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in a best of five series, starting on Aug. 2. The winner will then advance to the first round proper of the playoffs. (Interestingly, stats from the play-in round will be included in the final playoff totals, but that’s a topic for another time.)
Toronto enters the play-in series as favourites and this is backed up by the latest odds. First up, consider this information from Scott Hastings of Odds Shark:
- Toronto Spread: -1.5 (+170) Moneyline: -155 Total: U 6.0 (-110)
- Columbus Spread: +1.5 (-200) Moneyline: +135 Total: O 6.0 (-110)
As Hastings notes, what’s particularly interesting is the Over 6 goals at -110. The Leafs have faced the Blue Jackets twice during the 2019-20 season, winning the first encounter 4-1 and losing the second game 4-3 in overtime.
From our perspective, fans should expect a lot of goals during the play-in series between the two sides. The Leafs were third among all Eastern Conference sides with 238 goals, while also allowing 227, which were fifth-most in the conference.
The Leafs are also favourites according to TheLines. They have Toronto as -149 versus +149 for Columbus.
What is clear though from all of the above information is that even though it is understandable why the Leafs are favourites, they won’t have it easy. Just one place separated the two sides in the standings when the season was suspended.
Further, Toronto and Columbus both had 81 points through 70 regular season games. One of the reasons the Leafs finished higher, was their +11 goal difference versus -7 for the Blue Jackets.
If the Leafs are to use any positives to their advantage, playing in Toronto may well help. Despite no fans being in attendance for games, there has to be something in having the comfort and familiarity which comes with playing on home ice.
Overall, it should make for an interesting series. While we would pick the Leafs to advance it doesn’t come with any solid conviction, as anything is possible in these most unique of times and circumstances.
Leafs vs Blue Jackets play-in schedule:
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Leafs, 8 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Leafs, 4 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, TBD
Friday, Aug. 7: Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Leafs*, TBD
* If necessary
What is your prediction for the play-in series versus the Columbus Blue Jackets? How confident are you that the Toronto Maple Leafs will advance to the playoffs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.