Maple Leafs strong favourites hosting Senators on Saturday night

Auston Matthews and Mike Babcock discuss the importance of Frederik Andersen to their team; Meanwhile Andersen just tries to balance both aggression and patience in his game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking for their first home win over Ottawa in almost three years when they host the Senators on Saturday as strong -220 favourites on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto has claimed victory in seven of nine outings overall, including three straight victories at Air Canada Centre, but has dropped five straight decisions to Ottawa on home ice going into Saturday night’s Senators versus Maple Leafs betting matchup.

The Maple Leafs recorded a 4-3 victory in Ottawa as a -139 wager on Jan. 20 to end a four-game overall losing streak against their Battle of Ontario rivals, but have failed to tally consecutive wins over the Senators since April 2015, going 2-6-3 in 11 meetings since then.

Despite their recent struggles against Ottawa, the Maple Leafs have looked increasingly like a playoff team in the past few weeks. Toronto has outgunned opponents by 33-20 margin over its past nine contests, and has allowed an average of just 2.37 goals against over its past 16 games, generating a steady 12-3-1 run for the UNDER in totals betting.

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The Senators travel to Toronto as +175 underdogs after topping the visiting Nashville Predators in a 4-3 overtime victory as a +136 bet. With Thursday night’s victory, the Senators have now posted wins in four of five outings for the first time this season.

That stretch includes a 4-3 win in Philadelphia as +173 underdogs on Feb. 3. Ottawa has otherwise been a dismal road performer this season, joining the Arizona Coyotes with a league-worst seven road victories, and has been held to one or fewer goals in 10 of its past 15 contests away from Canadian Tire Centre.

In other Saturday NHL action, the Montreal Canadiens welcome P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators to the Bell Centre as +125 underdogs on the NHL odds. The Canadiens are coming off a 5-3 loss to the Flyers as +143 road underdogs on Thursday night, but have posted wins in three of their past four home dates.

Pegged as -138 chalk in Saturday night’s matchup, the Predators are looking to avoid their first three-game slide since mid-December. However, Nashville has picked up points in 13 of its past 14 contests, including nine wins, to climb into a two-way race with the Winnipeg Jets for top spot in the Central Division standings.

Subban has played a key role in the Predators’ recent success. The former Canadiens blueliner leads all NHL defencemen with 15 goals, and has emerged as a +900 wager on the odds to win the Norris Trophy for a second time.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

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