Toronto at Florida O/U 5
Recommendation: Florida -1.5 +170
Easily the biggest surprise story of the first half has to be the emergence of the Florida Panthers. Leading the Atlantic Division with 61 points, they host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight in their last game before the All-Star break. The Panthers are coming off of a pair of big home wins over the weekend. They took down defending Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago, 4-0 thanks to a 27-save shutout by Roberto Luongo and then used a four-goal second period to beat in-state rivals Tampa Bay 24 hours later. Both games drew near sell-out attendance numbers and with a 14-3-1 record in their last 18 games, the buzz in South Florida should continue to rise during the second half of the season. Toronto comes into this contest on a 1-5-2 skid and have dropped three of their last four road games. With less than a month before the trade deadline, Maple Leafs management has already started shopping names of players and contracts they are willing to part ways with. It's tough to keep a steady focus when a team is losing, but even tougher when you know you're going to be moved to another team. The Leafs have failed to cover the puck-line in five of their last six losses and with Florida's offense generating 12 goals in their last four games, this becomes a solid play at laying the -1.5 with a nice plus payout.