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The Washington Capitals will be looking to even their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs at 2-2 as small road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark for Game 4 on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Capitals were one of the best road teams in the NHL during the regular season and will need to get a much stronger performance in net from goaltender Braden Holtby in order to head home with the series tied.
Betting line: The Capitals opened as -150 favorites; the total is at 5.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. Line updates and matchup report.
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.3-2.5, Capitals (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Capitals can pay on the NHL lines
Holtby stopped 24-of-28 shots in Game 3 at Toronto on Monday, taking the loss for the second straight game by identical 4-3 scores in overtime. All three games of the series so far have gone to at least one extra session, with Game 2 decided in two, so now is the perfect time for him to turn in his best performance of the playoffs and help the Capitals win in regulation.
Prior to the last two losses, Washington had gone 8-1 in the previous nine meetings with Toronto, so the team needs to remember that and play with more confidence.
Why the Maple Leafs can pay on the NHL lines
Despite that dominance in prior matchups for the Caps, Holtby went 0-1 in two games versus the Maple Leafs during the regular season with a dismal 5.39 goals-against average. Toronto may be in his head, especially after rallying back from a 3-1 deficit in Game 3 to win in OT.
The city also has Maple Leaf fever, giving the team a bigger home-ice advantage than most this postseason. Game 4 is critical to Toronto’s chances to win the series, and an early lead would make it difficult for Washington.
Smart betting pick
The Caps do not want to go home down 3-1 and realize how important this game is for them as well. Winners of the Presidents’ Trophy two years running, they also do not want a long series here with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins likely waiting for them in the next round for the second postseason in a row.
Look for Washington to turn in its best effort of the playoffs yet behind Holtby and pay off at online sports betting sites Wednesday night.
NHL betting trends
The total has gone under in five of Washington’s last seven games.
The total has gone under in four of Toronto’s last six games at home.
Toronto is 10-5 in its last 15 games.
All NHL lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.