For Toronto Maple Leafs fans, the Heritage Classic was pretty much a bust.
Putting the pomp and circumstance of the March 13 event behind, plus the fact it was a rare outdoor NHL game in southern Ontario (Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton), the Leafs lost to the upstart Buffalo Sabres, handily, for the second time in two weeks. This time it was 5-2 (the Sabres had beaten the Leafs 5-1 at Scotiabank Centre on March 2).
Not only that, Maple Leafs star, Auston Matthew, cracked Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with a cross check during a goal crease scramble and was suspended by the league for two games for the infraction.
So it wasn’t fun for the Leafs and their fans. For Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corp. (OLG) and Ontario sports betting, though, the event was a whole lotta fun. And what a way to launch its new partnership with the NHL, with PROLINE the official NHL sportsbook in Canada (announced a few days before the Heritage Classic).
One of Highest-Bet NHL Games
The Heritage Classic was one of PROLINE’s highest bet NHL games all year, perhaps a harbinger of things to come when talking NHL sports betting on home teams when the full, competitive market goes live on April 4.
OLG took more NHL sports betting wagers overall on the Leafs. The Over/Under went the bettors’ way, as they liked the Over and the two teams managed to squeak just over the 6.5 goal mark. The conditions for the game — high wind, snow — favored more of a low-scoring game.
The highest bet props were both very one-sided. PROLINE players really liked Matthews Over 0.5 Goals and Mitch Marner Over 0.5 Assists. The aforementioned Matthews delivered with a nice one-timer. Marner did not.
The most popular in-play bet was the moneyline on the Leafs as the Toronto faithful believed the team could pull out the win. Those people obviously don’t know the organization well enough, with its long history of heartbreak, or were truly starry-eyed.
The odds on the comeback reached a stratospheric 111.00 at the end, but it was not to be.
March Madness Optimism
As for March Madness, an OLG spokesperson said it does expect high volume as NCAA Basketball betting has rivaled the NBA in February and March. Patrons were more focused on the play-in games (Tuesday/Wednesday).
No surprise, with Gonzaga taking the largest volume of bets so far, but numbers that are entirely expected based on its odds to win. In the medium range, Tennesse and Iowa are taking a decent amount and provide a reasonable return.