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Maple Leafs to win
The difference between winning and losing is always slim when these two teams meet.
On paper, the Canadiens have been the significantly better team at even strength and in all situations, but the goals have been beginning to dry up a little lately.
Apart from pounding Vancouver, the Canadiens have played some tight games against the Flames and Senators, while the Maple Leafs appear to be heating up.
Couple the Leafs’ superior top-end skill with that, not to mention that Carey Price hasn’t been great to start the year, and I think the Maple Leafs take the first of this set of three games over two weeks.
Auston Matthews to score a goal
The NHL’s leader in goals has scored in eight straight games. Even more impressive is the fact that a couple of those have been multi-goal outings.
Matthews is shooting at about the same rate as the last two years, but he’s getting more ice time than ever under Sheldon Keefe, and he’s rewarding his team for the extra trust.
That extra ice time means extra shots on goal. Over a full 82-game season, Matthews would be on pace for over 350 shots – a career high. The sky is the limit for his goal scoring.
Jeff Petry to score 1+ points
The Canadiens’ defenceman has been blistering hot to start the season with 14 points in 12 games.
With the way these two teams rack up the penalty calls, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to get some open ice to add to that point total – either on the powerplay, or at 4-vs-4.
Petry isn’t going to score on 18 per cent of his shots all season, but while he’s got the hot hand, it’s good to ride it.
Over 7.5 two-minute penalties
It’s become clear that these two teams are the class of the North Division and, with three games against each other in short order, statements will be made.
Add to that the fact that the Montreal Canadiens lead all teams in penalties taken per 60 minutes with 5.27, while the Leafs take the eighth-most at 4.29, special teams should be on display on Wednesday night.
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