Better tell Toronto Maple Leafs brass to cancel the Stanley Cup parade their backers had planned after the team started the season with four straight wins. 

Weekly NHL Betting Report

I always get a kick out of Leafs supporters, although you have to respect their never-ending optimism. Every season, Toronto bettors overvalue their club to no end and it bites them where it matters – in their wallets.

Things have taken a turn for the worse for the Leafs after their hot start. Toronto is 1-7-3 in its last 10 games, including seven consecutive losses against the moneyline on the NHL betting odds board.

Predictably, the Leafs are having trouble scoring, and unfortunately, that’s been coupled with a turn for the worse on the penalty kill.

After Phil Kessel, Toronto doesn’t have one single forward that would make the top two lines on any team that has a whiff of the playoffs. Shut down Kessel, and you beat the Leafs: it’s that simple.

It doesn’t help that captain Dion Phaneuf (leg laceration) is out until early next month. Phaneuf adds offense from the back end and helps out when the team is a man short. After starting the season in good shape, Toronto is now in the bottom five in penalty killing.

The bottom line: Look to fade the Leafs in any way, shape, or form when they host Vancouver on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.



On a wing and a prayer



As tough as it is for Toronto right now, it’s worse in Buffalo where head coach Lindy Ruff is in jeopardy of losing his job. The Sabres are in last place in the Northeast Division and have yet to cash for moneyline bettors at HSBC Arena this season (0-6-1).

Buffalo was one of the best defensive teams in the NHL last season, but it’s taken a serious turn in the other direction.

Ryan Miller, who was arguably the best player in the league last season, is on the shelf with a lower body injury. Not that Miller and the Sabres’ defense were shutting anyone down when he was healthy.

Before getting hurt, Miller was 3-5-0 with a 2.71 GAA and .903 SVP. Last season, Miller put up a 2.22 GAA and .929 SVP. Suffice to say, I don’t see value in Buffalo on Thursday night against the Rangers and on Saturday night against the Capitals.



Red, white, blue, and in the black



Speaking of Washington, it’s rolling right now. The Caps lead the league in scoring and have cashed five in a row and seven of eight to sit at 11-4-0 and 7-1-0 at the Verizon Center.

Reports of Alex Ovechkin’s demise have been Alexander the Greatly exaggerated. After a slow start by his lofty standards, Ovechkin is second in league scoring with eight goals and 12 assists in 15 games.

Looks like Ovie is just heating up with Tampa Bay coming to Washington on Thursday night for the Capitals’ first game of a three-games-in-four-nights stretch. After traveling to take on Buffalo on Saturday, Washington faces off with Atlanta at home on Sunday.



King me



Back in the preseason, I predicted that the Los Angeles Kings would be one of the sharpest wagers in the Western Conference. I called for the Kings to play ‘over’ their season win total and to be a strong sleeper play to win the West outright.

So far, so good, this season for Los Angeles, which has won six of its last seven to stand at 10-3-0 with Dallas rolling into Staples Center on Thursday night. The Kings also invite the Islanders to L.A. on Saturday night, so that’s another good opportunity to reel in a modest return this week.

There are plenty of reasons the Kings are taking names this season, but the progression of goaltender Jonathan Quick is at the top of the list. Quick is 8-1-0 with a 1.64 GAA and .942 SVP this season.



Coming up



Matchups on which to keep an eye on this week include Thursday night’s showdown in Boston between the Bruins and Canadiens. Friday night’s slate features a game between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, while on Saturday night, Colorado heads to the Motor City to battle with Detroit