Bruins vs. Maple Leafs Game 4 prediction: NHL playoffs odds, picks, bets for Saturday

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No NHL series had tighter odds in Round 1 than Boston vs. Toronto, and, so far, things are playing out true to form.

The Bruins won two of the first three games, but the last two contests were decided by a combined three goals (including an empty-netter), and the game-winners scored with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period.

The betting market expects more of the same in Game 4. The Leafs are a slight -115 home favorite Saturday night. 

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs prediction 

(8 p.m. ET, TBS)

One of the themes of the first three games of this series is just how well both of these teams are playing defensively.

Both Toronto and Boston are committed to making things difficult in the neutral zone and that’s shown in the past two contests, which have seen a limited number of scoring chances at 5-on-5.

You’d think that a low-event, structured series would favor the Bruins since the Leafs are built to score, but it’s hard to say that’s been the case.

Both teams are playing quite well through three games, but Boston has just been better in goal and on special teams. 

While it’s no surprise that Boston is winning the goaltending battle, the disparity in special teams is certainly peculiar.

Boston’s penalty kill was really good in the regular season, but the power play struggled compared to previous years, and it wasn’t expected to be a difference-maker, even with Toronto’s struggles on the penalty kill. 

That has not been the case, however, as the Bruins are operating at 50% (5-for-10) on the power play, while the Leafs are sitting at 9.1% (1-for-11). 

Boston Bruins’ David Krejci (46) can’t get the puck past outstretched Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen. Boston Globe via Getty Images

You’d expect those numbers to regress towards the mean at some point, but the struggles for Toronto on special teams aren’t new and Boston’s stupendous goaltending is a huge reason why Toronto’s power play has been dormant. 

This series has played out incredibly close at 5-on-5, but the Bruins are winning on the margins.

Whether Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark is in goal, the B’s have an edge and, so far, they also have a serious advantage on special teams.

The way back into this series is for Toronto to continue playing a responsible, structured defensive game and trying to keep things at 5-on-5 as much as they can.

The Bruins will have no issues with that, as they’ve long been one of the league’s best teams at pulling out tight contests. 

The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are in a very physical series.
The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs are in a very physical series. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Betting on the NHL?

I expect Game 4 to play out pretty similarly to the last two tilts between these two evenly matched clubs and that puts value on betting this game to go beyond regulation at +360 odds.

The Bet: 60-minute draw (+360, FanDuel)  

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