Updated Leafs vs Blue Jackets Series Odds Set Toronto as +125 Underdogs

Joonas Korpisalo and the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their play-in series. Photo courtesy @BlueJacketsNHL (twitter)

  • Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo recorded a shutout in his first career postseason game to give Columbus a 1-0 series lead
  • Game 2 of the best-of-five will be played on Tuesday, Aug. 4th, at 4:00 pm ET
  • The Maple Leafs are now listed as underdogs and are a great value bet for several key reasons

Two familiar story lines have emerged from the play-in series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets – Toronto is behind the 8-ball in an elimination series and Columbus is in prime position to pull off a big upset, thanks to a 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Sunday.

Updated Blue Jackets vs Maple Leafs Series Odds

Team Series Odds at DraftKings
Columbus Blue Jackets -150
Toronto Maple Leafs +125

Odds as of August 3rd.

How much can we take away from Game 1 between these two teams? The ice was choppy and the play was even choppier. Is this a series that favors the scrappy Blue Jackets or simply a slow start from the usually high-flying Maple Leafs?

For my money, I’m considering the change in odds a gift and sticking with the pres-series favorites.

Korpisalo Unlikely to Repeat Game 1 Performance

Joonas Korpisalo was named the opening game starter not too long before puck drop and he made head coach John Tortorella look like a genius. Korpisalo stopped 28 shots en route to a shutout in his first-ever game outside of the regular season.

There’s little to suggest that type of dominance will continue deep into the series. If he had given any indication he was capable of this, there would have been no doubt he’d be the starter.

Korpisalo had three shutouts in 127 games prior to Game 1. Despite playing for one of the better defensive teams in hockey, it’s a rare occurrence to see him blank the opposition. I chalk this up more to the rusty offense of the Maple Leafs than a sudden change in capability for the 26-year-old from Finland.

Will Auston Matthews Break Through In Game 2?

Despite coming up empty, Auston Matthews actually played a very good game for the Maple Leafs. He had six shots on goal including Toronto’s best chance to score on a one-timer from the slot. It wasn’t just the fact Matthews played well that is important; it’s how long he played well for.

Matthews finished the night with 24:38 in total ice-time. This is a big change from his previous postseason performances under ex-coach Mike Babcock. It’s three more minutes than any game during last year’s series against the Boston Bruins and five more minutes than his Game 7 total. It’s clear new bench boss Sheldon Keefe will run the wheels off Matthews if necessary and, eventually, elite scorers like him put the puck in the back of the net.

2020 NHL Eastern and Western Conference Title Odds Tracker

Double Down On the Maple Leafs

Toronto’s implied probability to win the series is still 44.4% and there’s reason for optimism when you factor in the conditions, the long lay-off, and the night of a lifetime from the opposing goalie. The problem with losing Game 1 to an underdog in a normal series is you lose home-ice advantage. There’s no travelling in this series with all the games being played in Toronto, so there’s nothing to fear on that front.

Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly didn’t play well in the opener. Look for them to shake off the rust and join Matthews on the score sheet en route to a Game 2 victory before eventually taking the series.

PICK: Toronto Maple Leafs (+125)

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Ryan Bolta

NFL NHL NCAAF Sports Writer