by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post

It’s fair to surmise the Toronto Maple Leafs play to the level of competition when they’re a heavy road favourite – so how one feels about their chances might depend on whether they think the Detroit Red Wings’ improvement is bona fide.

The Maple Leafs are the -200 away favourite while the Red Wings are the +170 home underdog with a 6.5-goal total on the NHL odds for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by Toronto is 9-3 in their last 12 games against Detroit and the total has gone OVER in seven of those contests.

Maple Leafs at Red Wings | OddsShark Matchup Report

Curiously, though, since the start of this calendar year Toronto is just 3-7 as a road favourite of -150 to -500 on the moneyline, with the total going UNDER in eight of those 10 games. In that same time span, the Red Wings are 6-8 as a home underdog at online betting sites.

The visiting Maple Leafs are off to a 2-2-1 start despite having played four of their first five games on home ice. In the wake of a humbling 7-3 defeat at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Toronto is now ninth in the 31-team NHL in goals per game (3.8) and 19th in goals against (3.8).

Six of the last nine games in this matchup have finished OVER and the teams’ first meeting of the season has gone OVER three years in a row, so it could be a high-offence environment for Leafs forwards like Auston Matthews who has 10 goals in 11 career games against Detroit.

Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen has a 3.75 goals-against average and .876 save percentage in four starts this season, and it’s reasonable to expect the Maple Leafs will come back with their No. 1 goalie after pulling him against Tampa Bay. Andersen is 7-0-1 against Detroit during his career.

The Red Wings are 3-1-0 so far this season, and are 12th in the league in both goal scoring (3.5 per game) and goals against (2.75). Detroit boasts an underrated top line of center Dylan Larkin between wingers Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha, the latter of whom is tied with Matthews for second in NHL goal scoring with six.

It will be interesting to see whether the Red Wings, who have had the total finish OVER in their last four home games against fellow Atlantic Division teams, will try to engage with Toronto in a track-meet type of game that might better suit the Maple Leafs’ talents.

Veteran goalies Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier have traded starts so far this season. Based on their usage through four games, Howard would be up to start for Detroit.

The Maple Leafs begin next week with back-to-back games, hosting the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and visiting the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

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