Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Game 1 Pick – May 2


Long-time divisional rivals Toronto and Tampa Bay will face-off in what is expected to be a hotly contested Round 1 playoff series in the NHL.

The Lightning enter as slight underdogs, both in Game 1 and the series, despite being the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. This is a group loaded with veteran leadership and experience, and a coach in Jon Cooper who knows how to get it done when it matters the most. By all accounts, the Lightning are fired up to once again play spoiler to a Leafs’ team that has squandered playoff berths in the past.

The task of reversing that trend will be up to the Leafs’ core talents, namely Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. That dynamic regular season duo has not fared well in past playoff games, and if they can’t elevate their game to mesh with the hardened style of NHL playoff hockey, expect another early exit for the Leafs. Jack Campbell starts in goal for the Buds in Game 1, and after an inconsistent season, all eyes will be on the American netminder in this pivotal opening clash.

With the amount of star-power on display, this Leafs/Lightning series is definitely one of the more fascinating ones across the NHL’s opening round. The Bolts will be seeking a rare three-peat, while Toronto is looking to burst through, exorcising the first-round demons of prior years. It should make for an exciting watch, and we’ve got all of your betting needs and analysis below. Keep reading on beneath the posted odds for up-to-date odds on this tightly contested series between the Leafs and Lightning.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Live Odds & Betting History

*These odds are provided by Bovada


  • Tampa Bay Lightning +1.5 (-200)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs -1.5 (+170)


  • Tampa Bay Lightning (+105)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (-125)

Total Points:

  • Over 6.5 (+100)
  • Under 6.5 (-120)
Overall Record 51-23-8 54-21-7
ATS Record 38-44 39-43
Home/Away Record 24-15-2 31-8-2
Goals Per Game 3.4 3.8
Goals Against Per Game 2.8 3.1
Shots On Goal Per Game 30.6 34.8
Power Play % 23.9 27.3
Penalty Kill % 80.5 82.1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Prediction:

While it is just Game 1 of what promises to be a lengthy opening round series, you can bet the Toronto Maple Leafs will be keenly set on making a statement come Monday evening. This team cruised all season long, but will be defined by what they do in May, and perhaps June as well. It’s a talented group, one that welcomes Jake Muzzin and Ondrej Kase back to the lineup, but one that still has question marks. Can the Leafs’ get it done when it matters most? Will their secondary depth scoring hold up? Will Jack Campbell give them average goaltending? All three of those pressing questions remain big doubts heading into Monday night, and the Lightning aren’t the type of team that lets their opposition off the hook that easily.

Look for Tampa Bay to be able to assert their dominance from the get-go. Julien Brisebois as General Manager has built a talented team, one that blends skill and physicality quite well. Expect shutdown centre Anthony Cirelli to be glued to the Matthews and Marner line, freeing up the likes of Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos to roam free offensively. That particular tandem ended their regular season on a torrid streak, and should be able to take advantage of some of Toronto’s uncertain defensive pairings.

In goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy remains the NHL’s best, and despite an underwhelming regular season, the ‘Big Cat’ finished his season strong. The Russian goalie is as elite as they come, and has consistently played a key role in previous post-seasons. With a three-peat on his mind, look for a professional Bolts showing here in Game 1.

Toronto might have a slight edge in 5v5 metrics and even strength chance data, but all of that tends to go out the window come the drop of the puck in Game 1. Expect Tampa to lean on Toronto’s star players, and in a series that should be tightly contested, look for Vasilevskiy to give Campbell the edge across all seven games. At a juicy underdog price right now, look for the Bolts to remind the Leafs just how far-off they remain on Monday night.


Leafs vs. Lightning Trends To Know:


  • Lightning are 5-0 in their last 5 playoff games as an underdog.
  • Lightning are 5-1 in their last 6 overall.
  • Maple Leafs are 1-4 in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
  • Over is 8-1 in Lightning last 9 overall.
  • Over is 5-1 in Lightning last 6 games following a win.
  • Over is 8-0 in Maple Leafs last 8 Monday games.
  • Road team is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.
  • Lightning are 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Toronto.


Expect a high-octane and physical series between two of the NHL’s best. The Bolts have historically dominated as playoff underdogs across their past two Cup runs, and will be keen on making a statement in Game 1. They’ve been through this before, and know what it takes to succeed. Look for Tampa to suffocate Toronto’s heralded offense, en route to a stifling performance against the Leafs here in Game 1.



My Pick
Will S. / Author

Will has been working with The Sports Geek since its early days back in 2010. He began as a soccer specialist, focusing on detailed reports for major international competitions, including the World Cup and European Championships. Since then, he has produced weekly pick articles on both the NFL and English Premier League, while also contributing blog posts on the NHL, MLB, and even WWE wrestling. Will is also an avid sports bettor and daily fantasy player, always eager to share his thoughts and insight on anything going on in the world of sports.

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