Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews(34) during an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Toronto, Canada. (AP Photo/Peter Power)
- Odds have been released on whether or not Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews will score 50 goals in the 2020-21 NHL season
- Oddsmakers have listed Auston Matthews scoring under 49.5 at -2000 odds
- See the odds below, along with an analysis of Matthews’ season thus far and whether or not he’ll break the 50-goal barrier
The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken the North Division by storm as of late. Auston Matthews has blazed a trail in the early going this year. Before going scoreless in his last game against the Flames, Matthews had tallied seven goals in his five games prior.
Matthews has lit the lamp 18 times in his first 19 games and is the favorite to win in the Rocket Richard odds. That being said, can the Maple Leafs forward eclipse the 50-goal mark?
Below are the odds if Auston Matthews could accomplish the feat.
Auston Matthews Total Regular Season Goals Odds
|Total Goals Regular Season||Moneyline|
Odds taken Feb. 23rd at DraftKings
The Case for Eclipsing 50 Goals
The Toronto Maple Leafs forward has gotten off to a torrid start. Most NHL players do not get into their prime for a few more seasons and yet a perfect storm of circumstances have led Matthews to this point. For those wondering, the North Division is averaging around 6.4 goals per game combined so far. Matthews plays in a division where seven of the eight leading scorers in the league reside in the division.
Then, there is the aforementioned goal trajectory. The last three seasons below…
Auston Matthews Goals Per Game
|Season||Goals Per Game|
Numbers taken from HockeyReference.com
Matthews gets help by playing in a higher-scoring division with younger prolific point producers and below-average goaltending. Out of the seven highest scorers from the North Division, every player is 27 or less. The fact that Matthews aims this high has not been lost on anyone. Also, he will be pushed by goal-scoring talents like Connor McDavid, Brock Boeser, and Leon Draisaitl. Ottawa and Vancouver have some of the worst goaltending in the league, and Matthews has scored more on Carey Price than any other goaltender in the division.
Furthermore, Matthews scored 13 goals in the first 17 games last year (0.764 goals per game). So, he has been closer to this rarified level. For the forward to finish with exactly 50 goals, the Toronto center would need to average approximately 0.89 goals per game moving forward.
With a condensed schedule and Matthews’ ability to produce shots (4.14 last year — 4.1 this year), he would have to keep shooting at over 20% the rest of the season. Consequently, if scoring remains at the same pace in the North Division or close and Matthews is pushed enough, the Toronto center could hit the 50-goal plateau.
While Auston Matthews has enjoyed this great start, what happens in the Toronto media if he goes into any kind of downturn or the team does for that matter? Toronto media is some of the most fickle in the business. Toronto stands at a league-best 14-4-2 mark currently.
I literally said in comparison to prior years.
50+ goal scorers in years prior:
2020- (On pace for four)
That is what I mean by many.
— GoalSZN Elite. (@RentFree43) February 20, 2021
The Toronto center did drop off a little last season as well. His final 20 games saw Matthews score only 12 times. That is an average of just 0.6 goals per game. This included three instances where the center failed to score in two, three, and two consecutive games respectively. That many downturns would all but kill his chances of scoring 50 goals this season.
To hit this plateau in 70 games (2019) is very impressive, but 56 is daunting in this era of the NHL.
50 Goals Seems Out of Reach
Injuries, and yes even COVID could play a role. Auston Matthews missed one game earlier in the season. Who is to say that the center has a minor ailment or worse has to go into COVID protocol. The protocol could possibly cause him to be out of at least four contests or more. Even a day-to-day injury that lasts a week would derail his hopes.
Power-play goals could be an issue even. The center has scored seven through 19 games played. However, that does not seem sustainable. Toronto’s league-leading power-play could come back to Earth, and even with a jump, Matthews is unlikely to score 13 more goals on the man-advantage. His career-best is 12.
ICYMI: Auston Matthews can’t possibly score 50 goals this season…can he? https://t.co/ChHCFLG4gM
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) February 21, 2021
Finally, there is the shot percentage question. Can Matthews sustain a 23.1% shooting percentage? His career-best was over a 62-game campaign was 18.2% in his sophomore season. Matthews, healthy, would play 55 games in 2021. That is a close barometer. If Matthews averages around 4.1 shots per game over the final 36 contests, the center would have to score a goal on 21.7% of his shots on net.
That seems like a tall order. My honest opinion is that Auston Matthews comes very close and nearly hits 50. Nearly.
Pick: Under 49.5 (-2000)
A journalist veteran for over two decades, Chris has taught the gamut of fantasy hockey sports online from injuries to news to prospects, and more. He has bet on several sports and written sports betting articles about the NBA, MLB, NCAA football, the NFL, and NHL for USA Today.