Hurricanes vs. Devils Odds
|Over / Under||6.5|
|Time||12:30 pm ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Carolina Hurricanes enter Saturday’s NHL contest in a dead heat with the New York Rangers on 108 points in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Carolina will be hosted by one of the season’s biggest underachievers in the New Jersey Devils, who will likely finish 25-plus points below the preseason betting markets projection for their finishing number.
The Devils were embarrassed by the Buffalo Sabers at home Thursday, and will surely be desperate to put together a better showing for the home crowd.
So, will New Jersey be able to hang around with a far better Carolina team? Let’s take a look at this contest below and see where we can find betting value.
The Hurricanes appeared in line for another less than dominant performance after one period Thursday against the Jets. They went down two goals in the first period before absolutely tilting the ice in the second and third periods, finishing with 46 shots in a 4-2 victory.
They entered that game in the midst of a 5-5-0 run, which has let the Rangers back in the division race, and it seems that the slow start could be somewhat of a breaking point.
Carolina has still dominated the overall run of play in its last 10 games, with a 57.24% expected goals rate, but has shown the ability to look a little stale in front of goal at times by generating too many chances that are simply supposed to be saves.
That’s a minor critique, however, as generating anything of note offensively against this Carolina group still proves difficult most nights for the opposition, and the visitor is still playing far more of the game in the offensive zone.
The shot-quality critique could be somewhat of a bonus as well, as more of those middling looks could certainly end up in the net against either of the Devils goaltending options.
Home ice has actually played to a worse record in recent playoff history, and the Capitals and Penguins sit in a tie themselves, so it’s tough to say who will even finish third or fourth in the division.
So, whether or not winning the division actually offers much advantage is debatable, but I fully expect Rod Brind’Amour’s group to play a high level of urgency to claim it with four games left on the slate.
Antti Raanta will likely start in goal for the Hurricanes, playing to a +3.7 goals saved above expected rating with a .946 save percentage in 26 games played.
New Jersey Devils
After what was one of its better wins of the season in Las Vegas on Monday, New Jersey returned home and showed more of the form we are used to seeing in a loss to the Sabers.
Maybe it was somewhat of a let-down spot after a big victory, but we have seen New Jersey continue to allow a ton of goals. Realistically, that Vegas win was pretty fluky all things considered when we look at the expected goals score and the fact both of New Jersey’s third-period goals were soft.
This club is simply not very good, and I believe at times it’s positive analytics have kept lines closer than they deserve to be this season, which has made them a profitable fade.
Defensively, there are a lot of soft pieces both up front and on the back end. And even as someone who doesn’t buy much into older schools of thought ,, this does appear to be more of an easy team to play against than its moderate xGA numbers continue to suggest.
The Devils planned No 1 goaltender in Mackenzie Blackwood is nearing a return and it could come here, but even he has struggled to horrible marks behind this team with a -10.3 GSAx rating and an .894 save percentage.
Hurricanes vs. Devils Pick
The gap between top and middling teams is clearly wider than normal, and the goal scoring at significantly higher rates has not hurt the chances of victories by two or more goals.
Carolina is very much a top team, and while New Jersey might be somewhat better than its record, getting plus money to see its awful goaltending tandem have yet another game where the visitor will likely hit for 35-plus shots again seems pretty good.
It’s getting a little boring constantly pumping these big favorites to cover the Puck Line of late, but what isn’t getting boring are the results.
At +105 odds, we have some strong value to back yet another wager like this as we look for Carolina to lock up two important points in comfortable fashion.
Even when New Jersey has controlled play at a reasonable rate, it’s losing by two or more goals often enough for this to hold value. However, I don’t expect the Devils to have the better of the run of play against an opponent fighting for the division crown.
Pick: Carolina -1.5 (+105)