Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Game 5 odds, prediction: NHL Playoffs picks, bets

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a do-or-die situation in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

But that’s not even half the story.

Toronto has dealt with mysterious ailments to two of its best players, a viral video of three-star hockey players fighting on the bench in Game 4 and, most notably, another pathetic performance in a massive playoff game. 

The Leafs are still alive, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who is counting on them to respond Tuesday night, especially with Auston Matthews looking like he’ll sit out.

Boston is a -150 favorite on home ice in Game 5.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins prediction

(7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

There’s a ton of noise to cut through in this series, but it does seem like a fair summary to suggest that Boston deserves the 3-1 series lead based on the way its managed things compared to Toronto.

The Bruins haven’t dominated the Leafs at 5-on-5, but Boston’s special teams, goaltending and ability to keep its composure in big moments have been the difference through four games. 

While it is a bit of a shock that Boston is crushing Toronto in the special teams battle, it shouldn’t be a shock that the Bruins are getting the better of the Buds in goaltending and that they’ve been the more clinical, composed team.

That’s been Boston’s MO for years. 

Brad Marchand leads the Bruins in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday. Getty Images

This series was projected to be razor-thin, and the team that won on the margins was always going to be in control, but what’s frustrating for handicappers (and Leafs fans) is that it’s very hard to project that kind of thing.

You’d imagine that Boston will continue to get stronger goaltending, and Toronto’s special teams haven’t shown any signs of life, but those are just hard factors to quantify.

All the noise and chaos in this series makes Game 5 really tricky to handicap, but the one thing I keep coming back to is that Toronto closed at +124 in a similar situation in Game 1.

Betting on the NHL?

That contest featured the same projected goaltending matchup (Jeremy Swayman vs. Ilya Samsonov), and the Leafs were missing one of their most dynamic playmakers (William Nylander).

Things change in a series, and teams will show cracks that need to be adjusted in the betting market, but this price does seem like a bit of an overreaction to the gloom surrounding the Maple Leafs.

It’s a good buy-low spot. 

The Bet: Maple Leafs (+128, BetRivers

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