NHL Playoffs - Game 1
Florida +160 over Toronto

Posted at 2:15 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +152 BET365 +160 Sportsinteraction +142 888Sport +150

Florida +160 over Toronto

7:08 PM EST. OT Included. A gigantic (and lucky) weight was lifted off the Maple Leafs’ shoulders after a fortunate bounce off a skate in OT to send Toronto to the second round for the first time in a very long time. Meanwhile, Leafs’ fans, still rejoicing on Sunday morning, got more good news when Florida eliminated the mighty Bruins in Game 7. It was a tremendous weekend for Leafs’ fans and now the Maple Leafs are the odds on favorite to win the Cup at 3½-1. Frankly, that’s absurd. They might be the fifth best team left in the playoffs and we’re going to try and capitalize on market perception that the Leafs are finally over the hump and the stars are aligned just right for them.

Our hypothesis that 90% of all single game outcomes are decided by nothing but pure puck-luck was proven once again in Round 1 of the playoffs and none epitomized that more than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto should not have won a Game 3 in which they trailed by a goal with less than a minute to play. They absolutely, positively should not have won a Game 4 in which they played for 10 minutes of a 60-minute contest. They got very lucky in Game 6 when they were outplayed again but scored a lucky one in OT. The Leafs were crazy fortunate that they were not eliminated last week. Toronto played far better last year in being eliminated than they did this year in advancing. Tampa was the better team in every game but one and it wasn’t close. If Toronto plays like they did in Round 1 against Florida in Round 2, the Leafs will be eliminated in five games. If they play much, much better, they’ll still likely be eliminated.

Playoff hockey is luck plus wanting it more and from our perch, Toronto did not want it more than Tampa. If you’re a Leafs’ fan or if you are betting Toronto, that should concern you. Meanwhile, we were preaching all year that Boston was beatable and might have just come off the most fortunate regular season in history. The B’s were lucky all year and that luck ran out after Game 4 of the first round. Florida was clearly the better team and wanted it more.

Unlike Toronto, every player on the Panthers played their hearts out every shift of every game. They did not let up for a moment and that hard work combined with the immense talent that Florida has finally paid off. Tkachuk is playing out of his mind, Montour is on fire, Barkov hasn’t played his best hockey yet but still looks dangerous. Toronto has its hands full and then some. We would even suggest that the Leafs might have been better off playing the Bruins. Florida’s win over Boston was not a fluke. Toronto’s win over Tampa was. Remember, the Panthers had the best record in the NHL just one year ago and now with almost the exact same team, you can add some playoff experience and a win over the Bruins that gives them an added boost of confidence. The Matthew Tkachuk for Huberdeau trade (the only difference between last year’s team and this year) looks like a stroke of genius right now, as Hurbedeau had a nothing year while Tkachuk is a monster.

The price on Florida to win the Series is absurd. The price on Florida to win in Toronto is just as preposterous. We’re going to attack these single game outcomes aggressively and it begins here in Game 1. Sorry Leafs’ fans, it’s just business


Our Pick

Florida +160 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.20)

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Vegas +109 over Florida