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How Will John Tavares fare in his first season as a Toronto Maple Leaf?

Whenever the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they had signed center John Tavares into a seven-year contract, Leafs fans (annoyingly) bombarded social websites with speculation about what line he could play and when he needs to be captain of the squad. But online sportsbooks kept their eyes on the bigger picture and decided to concentrate on what matters most for bettors by releasing odds about how the forward will fare in his first season in blue and white.
BetOnline has restricted how many objectives and the number of points Tavares will score in the 2018-19 season with the sportsbook listing his O/U for goals at 34.5 along with the O/U for points at 79.5. While his acquisition has taken the Leafs up the oddsboard as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup next year, let us instead break down his chances of surpassing these lofty benchmarks.
Aims — OVER/UNDER — 34.5
Pick: UNDER 34.5 -110
Nobody can deny that John Tavares has ill trained hands and can score a good deal of goals in the NHL. He notched 37 in the past year’s campaign and has topped 30 targets in three. But choosing an OVER on 34.5 may seem like a risky proposition if you consider how many mouths there are to feed in Toronto.
In New York, Tavares was used to function as the principal option and led all Islanders forwards in ice time and shots within the last four seasons. In the T-Dot, however, his moments may decrease to the 17-minute selection, which might limit his chances to bury the puck, and the exact same trend may carry over to the power play. The good (and bad?) Side of becoming a Leaf is there is currently an abundance of talent on the roster and head coach Mike Babcock will not possess Tavares about the ice to the entirety of a power play such as he had been when he suited up in Brooklyn. At -130, there are simply too many unknowns at this stage to feel confident in Tavares exceeding 34 goals.
Factors — OVER/UNDER — 79.5
Pick: OVER 79.5 -150
This one sounds like a steal at -150 because Tavares will have many more chances to explore the playmaker role with the Leafs instead of being a sniper. Tavares had wingers Josh Bailey and Anders Lee on his own lineup using the Islanders last time and while those two are decent players, it is night and day when compared to the possibility of pairing up with Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau. For the 27-year-old to top 79 points, he’s going to require at least 45 assists and with this new squad, which seems achievable. Tavares had 47 assists last season and notched more than 40 in four of the last five seasons with the subpar Islanders.
Another factor which shouldn’t be overlooked is scoring in the NHL has significantly increased with the average goals per match at 5.94 final season, that’s the highest mark because the goal-scoring surge of 2005-06 following the lockout. This upturn allowed 20 players to capture over 80 points in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17 when just seven players topped 80. Apparently, factors like health may impede Tavares’ possible but when you consider he’s played more than 75 games in four straight seasons, it’s difficult to imagine that type of struggle for the former No. 1 overall selection.

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