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Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Pick

A North Division battle takes center stage in Toronto on Thursday, as the Winnipeg Jets take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jets (16-8-1) have won three of their last four games and seven of nine capped off by their Tuesday victory over Toronto. Meanwhile, the Leafs (18-7-2) still hold onto first place despite three consecutive regulation losses heading into the evening.

Here is a glance at some of the key numbers and players to watch, along with a free pick. Toronto is a decent -180 favorite at home, while Winnipeg is a +150 underdog.

By the Numbers

Even with three losses in a row, Toronto’s offense is still one of the best in hockey. The Leafs are second in the NHL with 3.44 goals per game while also having the league’s top power play at close to 32 percent.

The Jets aren’t too far off, ranking fourth with 3.32 goals per game and a 24.3 percent power play rate. However, both teams have identical shooting percentages overall at 11.3 percent.

Defensively, the Maple Leafs hold some advantages as well. Toronto is sixth with 2.48 goals allowed on 28.5 shots. Winnipeg, on the other hand, is 13th with 2.84 goals allowed but on close to 32 shots, the fourth-most in hockey. Both teams also have nearly-identical penalty kills, while less than half-a-percentage point separating them.

Key Players

For the Jets, Mark Scheifele has been their main scorer. The center has 11 goals, one off of the team-lead, to go with 23 assists. The assist total for Scheifele has climbed recently thanks to a four-game point streak in which he has dished out six helpers.

Nikolaj Ehlers is another with 11 goals and 14 assists following a two-apple night on Tuesday, while Kyle Connor netted his team-leading 12th goal against the Maple Leafs as well. Winnipeg’s biggest blue-line threat is Neal Pionk, who has really come on recently with five assists in his last three games, which include three from Tuesday.

As for the Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews continues to rack up goals. The superstar center has 20 goals after netting two against Winnipeg on Tuesday, increasing his league-lead by four. Toronto’s other big fish is Mitchell Marner, who actually leads the team in points thanks to 25 assists along with 10 goals. As for others, the veteran John Tavares has points in three of his last four games, giving him 23 in total.

William Nylander is another who had a four-game goal streak snapped recently, giving him 10 on the year, while Zach Hyman’s score on Tuesday moved him to eight overall. On defense, Morgan Reilly’s assists against the Jets brought him to 17 this season, second behind only Marner on the team.


With the day off in between, expect both teams to trot out their normal starters once again. That means Winnipeg should roll with Connor Hellebuyck, who is 12-7-1 this season with a 2.75 GAA and .912 save percentage. Toronto would then counter with Frederik Andersen, who is 12-5-2 with a near-identical 2.76 GAA plus a .903 save percentage.

Betting Pick

Despite being in the same division with only seven total teams this season, the Jets and Maple Leafs have only played each other twice. The Jets took advantage of an off-night from Andersen on Tuesday and won despite being outshot 39-23. But when Andersen was dialed in back on January 18th, it was a different story. Toronto still outshot the Jets by double-digits and crushed them in the faceoff circle again, but managed to win 3-1.

The point being, in both games, the Leafs had far more shots and controlled possession and also were able to capitalize at least once on the power play. They proved they are the better team, so Thursday’s game may just come down to Andersen, who has given up four goals in each of his last two starts. For my money, I’m banking on a bounce-back from him, perhaps another goal from Matthews, and for the Maple Leafs to earn the win.

Pick: Maple Leafs -180

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