Today's Free Picks for
Posted on Wednesday April 11 before Game 1
Toronto +127 over BOSTON
Series pick – Begins Thursday, April 12
7:05 PM EST. The Boston Bruins are a very good team with great goaltending that came within a fraction of having the best record in the East. A series win over the Maple Leafs would surprise nobody but we’ll leave the predictions to everyone else. We are in the value business and frankly, other than experience with veterans like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, and even Rick Nash, we do not see where the Bruins have an edge. Boston stumbled into the playoffs by going 5-5 over their last 10 games while allowing the games’ first goal in the last seven. A bunch of media guys suggested that playing nine games in 15 days contributed to the B’s struggles in late March and early April but now combine that with playing every other day in the grueling playoffs and it gets even tougher. While the B’s do a lot of things well, their bottom six does not compare to Toronto’s bottom six. The Maple Leafs are deeper, quicker, younger and we still haven’t seen the best that they have to offer.
The Maple Leafs are 100% at full health coming into the playoffs. While we love Bergeron as much as the next guy, Toronto will feature the best player on the ice in this series and the best line that will play 18 minutes or so a night. Boston has to worry about four lines, not just the Matthews/Nylander/Hyman line. Let us remind you that Auston Matthews missed 25% of the season and has looked like the NHL’s best player since returning. Tomas Plakanec, easily the best fourth line center in the NHL, will be a factor in this series. Mike Babcock, Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan have more than proven that each move is carefully calculated. Plakanec was brought in for the playoffs. Kasperi Kapanen played less than half a season and so did Travis Dermott. Auston Matthews, Travis Dermott, Tomas Plekanec, Ron Hainsey and Kasperi Kapanen have suited up in the same game just four times this season and Toronto went 3-1 in those games, which included a 5-2 win in Nashville with only loss occurring against the Winnipeg Jets. The Leafs didn’t dress their best lineup until late March and it is now intact here. Maybe Boston has an edge in net with Tuukka Rask over Frederik Andersen but that’s not a given either, as Anderson ranked 12th in GSAA while Rask ranked 19th. Andersen also had a better save % and GAA than Rask as well. Finally, there is Mike Babcock, who is the best coach in the business and has the Maple Leafs on the same path he had the Red Wings on many years ago before they became a dynasty. There is a reason Toronto has defeated Boston in seven of the last eight games and it’s not because the B’s are the superior team. Toronto will dispose of Boston and then make easier work of the hugely overrated Lightning providing Tampa gets by New Jersey. The Maple Leafs have arrived and do not let anyone convince you that they are still a year away because of their suspect defense. Babcock knows precisely what he’s doing and you are absolutely going to see that defense tighten up to a high degree. Before this season began, the Boston Bruins were an afterthought. They’ll be an afterthought after the first round too and will pay a hefty price for not beating the Panthers last Sunday.
Please note: We have leans posted daily on Twitter and you can follow us there for leans, possible late plays or any other info we might have to pass along.
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Toronto +127 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.54)