Remember when Columbus swept Tampa last year? That was nuts.. So why not another upset?!
#8 Toronto Maple Leafs (-160) vs #9 Columbus Blue Jackets (+140)
Toronto Maple Leafs
People this is going to be an absolute mess of a qualification round.. Who knows whose going to do what, whose getting Covid, whose getting suspended for being out at the bars and breaking team rules.. I’ll tell you one thing The Toronto Maple Leafs, and that group of absolute Rock Stars lead by Austin COVID Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander (DMV Bump) might land themselves in some trouble. That being said Toronto is a powerhouse still. They have been a top team and have a roster that is absolutely stacked right through. This team has what it takes to make a serious run.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Does Torts have it in his group to pull another serious early upset like they did last year? The good news for them is they only need 3 Wins and have a solid young fast roster. Torts is a good coach who knows how to Win playoff series. Also let’s not forget about one of the top D pairs in the league in Jones & Werenski. Combine that with one of CBJ’s young goaltenders getting hot. We could see Columbus pull this off.
Grose’s Picks: I am taking the Blue Jackets at +145 1u. Why bother laying juice on the -175 for the leafs in a weird August playoff format where anyone can win. Its a pretty bold choice when you compare rosters but I am taking Torts and his Blue Jackets. With the goaltending of freak Elvis Mekzlikins & Joonas Korpisalo. With these two young guns who knows what the Jackets can do.
Series Price CBJ 3-1 +500 .5u
Coaches Picks: Every point Grose makes about last years upset just makes me want to pick the Blue Jackets again. Also, the system Torts runs and the way they can muck it up and win a series only becomes that much easier with the Maple Leafs (and every other team for that matter) coming off a four month break. So because of that, i’m laying $160 on the Leafs to win $100. That’s right, screw last years sweep (even tho it was sweet) and screw Torts. While it may not seem like it, I think the Leafs have a MASSIVE upper hand playing in their home arena and city. The whole familiarity aspect comes into play here.. it’s like if the Caps had a home game for every single game of the 2018 cup run. The blue line up there, eh, has always been an issue, but they get Jake Muzzin back from that broken hand in Feb. The Leafs just need to whether that relentless Jackets forecheck that will suck you up and ruin your gameplan… but speed kills, and the Leafs have plenty of it with their young guns, a little chip and chase hockey, turn on the jets and buzz the net and the Leafs have it handled. Plus, I just wanna see the Leafs win just to hopefully have to play Boston again and get dummied in the first round. Lastly, lay me $100 to win $290 as I’ll be betting Leafs in 5. Columbus is good, but they don’t have enough fire power to outscore the Leafs in this series. At the end of the day in this one, we’re bettin’ $260 to win $650.
AB’s Picks: This is an interesting matchup here. You have two polar opposite teams going up against each other in which one side is a completely grind it out using all 4 lines with a strict coach that wants you to run by his structure. The other side is a free flowing game with speed and creativity with a players coach that will let you play to your own strengths. The Leafs have a star-studded roster in guys like Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Nylander and added some defensive depth as well which has always been their issue. However, the Blue Jackets have gotten great goaltending all year which was their main concern to start the season, and they have great defensive studs in the back end and play a physical playoff type game. This series also will all depend on how tight the refs will call it. If they’re letting the boys play, that’ll turn to the Blue Jackets favor. If not, the Leafs will have a field day on the powerplay. However, FROM THE GAMBLERS PERSPECTIVE, the value is all on the Columbus Blue Jackets and so is the play. I’m taking the Blue Jackets at +140.