Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs odds, picks and best bets
The Toronto Maple Leafs turned the tables on the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday and mounted an incredible comeback of their own to force Sunday's Game 5 of their Eastern Conference best-of-five qualification round series at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The puck will drop for this final game of the opening round at 8 p.m. ET. Below, we look at the Blue Jackets-Maple Leafs betting odds and lines and make our NHL picks and best bets.
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs: Projected starting goalies
Elvis Merzlikins vs. Frederik Andersen
Merzlikins played hero Thursday by replacing Joonas Korpisalo and stopping all 21 shots he faced in the Game 3 comeback over the Leafs. He stopped another 49 of 53 shots in Friday's overtime loss, but he wasn't able to withstand Toronto's final onslaught and gave up three goals in the final four minutes of regulation.
Andersen has made 33-plus saves in three of four games in this series, including his 36 stops on 39 shots in Friday's victory. He let Columbus on the board with RW Cam Atkinson's opening mark just 3:58 into the first period, but he was in peak form when the Leafs needed him the most in the third period and overtime.
Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs: Odds, picks and betting tips
Blue Jackets 3, Maple Leafs 2
The BLUE JACKETS (+140) continue to be underpriced underdogs against the high-profile Maple Leafs (-167) despite how close this Eastern Conference 8-9 matchup has been played through four games.
After splitting shutout wins in the first two games of the series, both sides have traded 4-3 comeback overtime victories. This game should be priced as a pick 'em. Take the free value on the Jackets.
New to sports betting? A $10 bet on the Blue Jackets to win would return a profit of $14. The same bet on the Leafs would net a profit of $6.
Also take the BLUE JACKETS +1 (-121) with a push offered with one-goal of insurance in the event of a Columbus loss. I'd even consider backing COLUMBUS +1.5 (-200) with the half-goal hook allowing for a $10 bet on a one-goal loss or outright win to return a profit of $5.
The first two games of this series played to the Under and Games 3 and 4 played to the Over.
Play the UNDER 5.5 (-121) in the decisive Game 5 with a spot in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the line.
Esten's NHL betting record: 18-21
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