Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Game 7 prediction: NHL playoffs odds, picks, best bets for Saturday

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Saturday night’s Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs should be fantastic theatre.

Both the Leafs and Bruins are dealing with demons of past playoff failures, but Boston is the team under the most scrutiny.

The Bruins could become the first team in NHL history to blow 3-1 series leads in consecutive seasons. 

Boston is a -142 favorite at Fanduel as of Friday afternoon.

Let’s break down this matchup.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins Game 7 prediction

The first thing to note about this game is the status of Auston Matthews.

The general consensus seems to be that the league’s top scorer is doubtful to play Saturday, but the Leafs are 2-0 without him in this series. Matthews is obviously a needle-mover, so expect to see the price on the Leafs crash if he’s trending toward playing. 

Assuming Matthews is out, I would expect this game to have a similar flow to the last two. With their backs against the wall, Toronto has been pot-committed to playing a more defensive style of hockey that has seen them clog up the middle of the ice, block a ton of shots and keep things simple when they have the puck. That has led to some low-event contests, since Boston isn’t built to push the pace.

Can the Maple Leafs pull another upset in Game 7? NHLI via Getty Images

With Toronto happy to play things close to the vest, the onus has been on the Bruins to inject some life into these games but Boston has struggled to do that. The B’s played a terrible first 40 minutes against Toronto in Game 5 and followed that up by getting just one shot on goal in the first period of Game 6. 

It goes without saying that Boston will need a much better start in Game 7. 

The Bruins may hold the advantages on special teams and in goal, but Joseph Woll has been terrific for the Leafs since he took over for Ilya Samsonov, so the edge in the blue paint is a little muted.

And the special teams advantage is also not as important since referees tend to keep the whistles in their pockets in Game 7. Boston will likely need to win the 5-on-5 battle, which isn’t how this series has shaken out so far. 

Betting on the NHL?

Boston is at home, but I don’t think there’s any real home-ice advantage in a situation like this. The B’s are 1-2 in Boston in this series and the building will be tense considering the team is on the brink of another historic collapse. 

With both teams seemingly happy to lock things down, I’ll go back to the well on the first period to end scoreless in Game 7 as my favorite bet. This bet has already cashed twice (Games 3 and 6) and the environment for Game 7 should be conducive to a very slow start.

As for a side, it’s Leafs or nothing at the current prices. They’ve got this series on their terms over the past two games and have shown no signs of letting it slip away. Boston, on the other hand, has done the opposite. 

The Bet(s): 1p Under 0.5 goals (+320 or better, FanDuel), Leafs +125 or better 

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