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Leafs Ready to Rebound vs. Blackhawks?

Blackhawks vs Leafs Betting Odds January 18 2020

The Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves in a familiar position as they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. An incredible surge from Tampa Bay has knocked the Leafs back to third place in the Atlantic Division – where they spent the majority of the 2018-19 season. And they could face a tough test this weekend against a Chicago team that has won three straight.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Opening Odds Analysis

Oddsmakers aren't giving Chicago's current hot streak much credit, installing the Maple Leafs as -208 opening line favorites (the line has held steady in that neighborhood). The total opened at 6.5.

Chicago Blackhawks News & Notes

The Blackhawks still have plenty of work to do; they enter Friday still six points back of the second Western Conference wild-card spot. But they've certainly looked like a playoff team over the past week, beating Anaheim at home before rolling to road victories over Ottawa and Montreal. And they come into Saturday having won 15 of their past 20 encounters with the Leafs.

Getting back its physicality could be a key to Chicago extending its winning ways Saturday; while it ranks seventh in the NHL in total hits as of Friday, it has been dominated in that area throughout its winning streak, having been outhit 101-52 over that span. But the Blackhawks should get a bit of a reprieve Saturday, with Toronto ranked 29th in the NHL in hits (809).

Toronto Maple Leafs News & Notes

The good news for the Maple Leafs is that they were able to get their goaltending back on track last time out, limiting Calgary to just two goals after getting torched for 22 tallies over their previous four games. The bad news: It still wasn't good enough, as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Flames for their fourth defeat in the last five outings.

But back to the good news: William Nylander scored Toronto's lone goal in defeat and continues to make last year's struggles look like an aberration. Nylander ranks third on the team in points (42) and has produced consistently wherever he is, with 10 goals and 10 assists in 24 home games and 11 goals and 11 helpers in 24 games on the road. He's worth a prop look Saturday.

Betting Pick: UNDER 6.5

Toronto looks to have its back end a little more under control heading into this one, while Chicago is playing well at both ends and should put up enough defensive resistance to make this one a premier UNDER play.

Shark Bites
  • Chicago is 15-5 SU in its last 20 games vs Toronto.
  • Toronto is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games.
  • The OVER is 8-3 in Toronto's last 11 games.