Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction: Can We Expect a Plethora of Goals in Game 2?

Game two of the first-round series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning is set to take place tonight. The Maple Leafs lead the series 1-0. NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi provides his best bet for the match.
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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction: Can We Expect a Plethora of Goals?

Game one of the series between the Lightning and the Maple Leafs did not go as expected. Tampa Bay looked disinterested for much of the game, with Toronto dominating in all facets en route to a 5-0 victory. Because the game went under the total (6.5), the line on the over/under for game two is lower than that of game one. Here's why I think that's a mistake.

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning Start Time and Where to Watch

Date: Wednesday, May 4

Game Time: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN2

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning Prediction

In game one, the referees made clear their intentions to call a tight series. A total of 11 power plays were handed out—six to Toronto and five to Tampa Bay. It's anyone's guess as to whether or not the trend of penalizing every borderline infraction will continue, but let's assume it does. Out of those 11 power plays (of which one was a five-minute major), only one resulted in a goal. Both teams' power plays were among the best in the league during the regular season; as such, it wouldn't be surprising to see one or both of those units bounce back with a stronger display on the man-advantage in game two.

More generally, I expect Tampa's offense as a whole to provide a much better showing tonight. The Lightning ranked eighth in the regular season in terms of raw goals output, scoring 3.5 goals per game. They are facing a team that ranked 19th by allowing 3.1 goals against per game, and whose goaltender had a subpar season by anyone's measure. That isn't to say that Toronto's game one performance was a fluke—it just seems highly likely that Campbell won't post a shutout every game for the rest of the series.

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On the flip side, Toronto will continue to produce goals if they generate offense the way they did in game one, especially at even strength. They generated a whopping 4.92 expected goals for, meaning that Vasilevskiy wasn't the primary reason that Tampa allowed five goals. This doesn't mean that he cannot play better than he did — he can — but rather that the Leafs' offense generated the chances necessary to put up a high goal total.

Sports betting, and especially betting on totals, is all about value. If this over/under was set at 7.5 goals, for instance, it would almost certainly be a bad bet to make. However, by moving the line from about even money to +111 on the total of 6.5, the oddsmakers might be overcompensating for a first game that seemed closer to the floor of potential goals totals between these teams than the ceiling. I think there's value on the over for game two—bet it down to around even money at the number of 6.5.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning Pick

Pick: Lightning/Maple Leafs O6.5 (+111) (Bet $100 to win $111)

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Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.

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