Optimism For Leafs Among Ontario Sportsbook Bettors As Playoffs Begin

Optimism For Leafs Among Ontario Sportsbook Bettors As Playoffs Begin
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

There is a fair bit of optimism about the Maple Leafs among customers at Ontario sportsbooks, considering that the team is heading into a first-round playoff matchup with the team that eliminated Toronto last season.

Going into their first-round NHL playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 1 is 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday in Toronto), the Leafs are a solid betting favorite both in the first game and to take the series as of early Monday afternoon.

BetMGM Sportsbook Ontario has the Leafs at -160 to win the series, with the team getting 62% of the bets and 81% of the handle.

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Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Odds

On the odds front, the Leafs have held steady – opening odds at BetMGM, for example, to win the Eastern Conference was +425; that’s now at +500. The Boston Bruins are the runaway favourite to win the East at +185, according to BetMGM.

Toronto is +900 to win the Stanley Cup, tied for third on the board behind Boston (+325) and defending champion Colorado (+700).

NorthStar Bets Ontario Sportsbook has the Bruins to win the East at +175, followed by the Leafs at +500.

The big issue with the Leafs comes down to the health of their goaltenders.

Matt Murray, with a history of concussion issues, is out with a concussion. Ilya Samsonov will start in Game 1 but has been banged up of late. Joseph Woll is the backup and is emerging as a good NHL goalkeeper – he was 6-1, had a 2.16 GAA, and a .932 save percentage this season.

Check out our Stanley Cup odds tracker for all the latest.

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Edmonton Oilers Attract Betting Action

Oddsmakers at Ontario sports betting apps still like the Colorado Avalanche to emerge as a Stanley Cup finalist in the NHL’s Western Conference, but the Edmonton Oilers are making a move.

BetMGM has the current odds of the Oilers emerging from the West at +300. They opened at +650 and were at +450 last week. The Avalanche odds are currently at +275. At NorthStar Bets, the Avalanche are at +225 to win the West, followed by the Oilers at +325.

As for the Stanley Cup, the Oilers are +900 at BetMGM, tied with Toronto for third best.

The Oilers open their first-round series tonight against the Los Angeles Kings at 10 in Edmonton.

Caesars Ontario Sportsbook has Edmonton with -280 odds to knock out Los Angeles; the Kings have +222 odds to pull off the slight upset against the team that finished five points ahead of them for second place in the Pacific Division. Only the Avalanche (-320 against the Seattle Kraken) and the Bruins (-400 against the Florida Panthers) are bigger favorites to reach the second round.

There’s a lot of buzz about the Oilers and it’s clearly warranted. They have the best player in the world, Connor McDavid (64 goals, 153 points this season), who is even more motivated this time out to make a playoff statement. Regular season accolades are fine, but it’s time the Oilers make a serious run at the Cup while their roster core is still young enough.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also broke the 100-point barrier. To brand the Oilers as an offence powerhouse is an understatement. And remember, the Oilers won 18 of their last 21 games, finishing with 50 wins.

The Oilers are good on the injury front – D Ryan Murray has been out with a back issue but was sent to the AHL on a conditioning assignment, so that’s another thing for customers at casino apps Ontario to keep in mind.

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Winnipeg Jets Betting Odds

The Winnipeg Jets have also been moving – opening at +2800 according to BetMGM, and now sitting at +1100 to win the Western Conference. The Jets open against the favoured Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night at 9:30. BetMGM has Vegas at -175 to win the series while the Jets are +145.

Can’t decide among the three Canadian teams left standing? DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario has a prop on any of the three (Maple Leafs, Oilers or Jets) to win the Stanley Cup at +330 odds. If you think an American-based team will win it all yet again, that is -425 (remember, you get 13 teams with that wager).

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Operator: iGaming Ad Focus Should Be On Celebs

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has opened up the issue of using celebrities in iGaming ads to industry consultation before any changes in standards are made, a decision that one operator applauds.

“It really took me by surprise to hear the announcement from the AGCO,” BetRegal head of marketing Aly Lalani said. “But I am particularly encouraged by the fact that the AGCO seems to want to have a discussion on the topic before acting, a discussion that presumably will include points of view from all stakeholders, including operators.”

Indeed, as the Ontario industry crossed the line on its one-year anniversary last week, the AGCO is considering changes to advertising standards for Ontario gambling sites, “to prohibit the use of athletes as well as celebrities that can reasonably be expected to appeal to children and youth from internet gambling advertising and marketing in Ontario.”

The AGCO said it is open to consultation or input from industry operators until May 13, when the body will make a decision on whether to change the advertising standard.

“Operators use celebrity ambassadors to help gain a level of credibility with intended audiences. I don’t think a reasonable solution is to simply ban all use of brand ambassadors or influencers,” Lalani said. “I think the focus should be on making sure that the messages from celebrities/players/influencers are only reaching the eyes and ears of the intended audience.”

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Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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