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How Will John Tavares fare in his first season as a Toronto Maple Leaf?

John Tavares Scoring Betting Odds July 5

When the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had signed center John Tavares to a seven-year contract, Leafs fans (annoyingly) flooded social media with speculation about what line he could play on and if he should be captain of the squad. But online sportsbooks kept their eyes on the bigger picture and decided to focus on what matters most for bettors by releasing odds on how the forward will fare in his first season in blue and white.

Bovada has capped how many goals and how many points Tavares will score in the 2018-19 season with the sportsbook listing his O/U for goals at 34.5 and the O/U for points at 79.5. While his acquisition has shot the Leafs up the oddsboard as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup next season, let’s instead break down his chances of surpassing these lofty benchmarks.

Goals – OVER/UNDER – 34.5

Pick: UNDER 34.5 -110

No one can deny that John Tavares has sick hands and can score a lot of goals in the NHL. He has topped 30 goals in three of the last four seasons and notched 37 in last year’s campaign. But picking an OVER on 34.5 may seem like a risky proposition when you consider how many mouths there are to feed in Toronto.

In New York, Tavares was accustomed to being the main option and led all Islanders forwards in ice time and shots over the last four seasons. In the T-Dot, though, his minutes may decrease to the 17-minute range, which could limit his chances to bury the puck, and that same trend may carry over to the power play. The good (and bad?) side of becoming a Leaf is that there is already a wealth of talent on the roster and head coach Mike Babcock won’t have Tavares on the ice for the entirety of a power play like he was when he suited up in Brooklyn. At -130, there are just too many unknowns at this stage to feel confident in Tavares surpassing 34 goals.

Points – OVER/UNDER – 79.5

Pick: OVER 79.5 -150

This one seems like a steal at -150 because Tavares will have so many more opportunities to explore the playmaker role with the Leafs instead of being a sniper. Tavares had wingers Josh Bailey and Anders Lee on his line with the Islanders last season and while those two are decent players, it’s night and day when compared to the potential of pairing up with Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau. In order for the 27-year-old to top 79 points, he’s going to need at least 45 assists and with this new squad, that seems doable. Tavares had 47 assists last season and notched more than 40 in four of the last five seasons with the subpar Islanders.

Another factor that shouldn’t be overlooked is scoring in the NHL has significantly increased with the average goals per game at 5.94 last season, which is the highest mark since the goal-scoring surge of 2005-06 after the lockout. That upturn allowed 20 players to record over 80 points in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17 when only seven players topped 80. Obviously, factors like health could impede Tavares’ potential but when you consider he’s played more than 75 games in four straight seasons, it’s hard to envision that type of struggle for the former No. 1 overall pick.

OVER/UNDER Goals for John Tavares in 2018-19
  • OVER 34.5 -130
  • UNDER 34.5 -110
Odds as of July 5 at  Bovada
OVER/UNDER Points for John Tavares in 2018-19
  • OVER 79.5 -150
  • UNDER 79.5 +110
Odds as of July 5 at Bovada