Free Picks: Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Curtis Rush
NHL Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Maple Leafs vs Canadiens NHL week 17
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL, Bell Centre

The Maple Leafs (33-13-5) have been raising their game to a new level with the playoffs looming. They have outscored the opposition 22-7 in their five-game winning streak and have scored at least four goals a game through that stretch. Over their last 10 games, the Leafs are 5-3-2. The Canadiens (23-18-9) are hanging on to the fourth and final playoff spot in the North. This does not bode well for the Habs.

Toronto is in playoff-mode already

For my BetPicks, I like Toronto on the Money Line. Their offense is performing at a high level and their defense is tightening up. 

The NHL odds favor Toronto, who are in cruise control. Leafs forward Auston Matthews has a league-leading 38 goals, and he has scored a goal in each of his last three games. Against Montreal, he has scored five goals in seven head-to-head meetings.

Toronto has allowed only one goal over the last four games while the Habs have been outscored 15-13 in their last five games and only once have they scored more than three goals over that stretch. 

Montreal’s Nick Suzuki has four goals and seven points in his last five games. The Habs’ leading goal scorer, Tyler Toffoli, (27 goals) has four goals over his last five games. But against Toronto, he has tallied only two goals in seven games.

Montreal has injuries (Carey Price, Shea Weber, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher) and forward Jonathan Drouin has left the team for personal reasons. Toronto is still without Zach Hyman (knee).

Jack Campbell will be in goal for Toronto. Campbell has a 15-2-1 record with a 2.07 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. Jake Allen is the projected starter for Montreal. He is 10-10-4 with a 2.58 GAA and .909 save percentage.

Prediction: Toronto 4, Montreal 1

For my NHL picks, the riskiest bet is taking Toronto (-1.5) on the Puck Line (+164) with 10Bet. The implied odds suggest only a 37% chance of Toronto winning by two goals or more. But a $100 bet pays $164. I think the actual odds are better than 37%. I might take that bet. 

But I’m leaning more towards Toronto on the Money Line (-150) with 10Bet, which is a safer bet (60% implied odds) and pays $66 on a $100 bet.

With a 12-11-2 home record, I don’t think Montreal is going to upset Toronto, so I don’t think I would take the Habs with the Money Line.

On total goals, both Toronto and Montreal have scored more than five goals on only two occasions in the past five games, so I’m going with the Under (5.5) with 10Bet (-106). I would take the Over (-119) if you think Montreal’s offense is going to wake up.

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  • Toronto is 5-0 SU in their last five games.
  • Toronto is 5-2 SU in their last seven against Montreal. 
  • The total has gone Under in four of Montreal’s last six games against Toronto.
  • The total has gone Over in four of Montreal’s last six games as the underdog.

I live in the land of ice and snow in Toronto, Canada's largest city. I can't skate very well, but I know sports, especially hockey, after a long career writing about the Toronto Maple Leafs and other teams at the country's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star. Betting on sports can be a rewarding experience when you understand the trends and underlying characteristics of the teams and players before laying down a bet. That's how I hope to point you in the right direction.