NHL Odds & Pick for Devils vs. Bruins: Can New Jersey Upset Boston Again on Tuesday? (March 30)
Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: David Pastrnak
- The Bruins enter their matchup against the Devils struggling on the ice and with injuries.
- New Jersey pulled off an upset and beat Boston on Sunday, 1-0, and the Devils are heavy underdogs again.
- Michael Leboff breaks down where the betting value lies in this matchup.
Devils vs. Bruins Odds
|Time||Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via Unibet|
Are the Boston Bruins still the Boston Bruins? That’s the question that bettors, fans and pundits alike have been trying to answer over the past couple of weeks. Sure, the B’s are dealing with a laundry list of injury issues, but even so there do seem to be some legitimate reasons to be skeptical that these Bruins are of the same caliber as the teams we’ve grown used to watching in Beantown.
While the Bruins are in pretty shaky form, the New Jersey Devils have found some life over the past fortnight. After a brutal stretch, the Devils have won five of their last eight games and four of those victories have come against teams above them in the standings. New Jersey is relegated to a spoiler role this season but the Devils have shown they are a dangerous side and one that’s worth a bet when their odds begin to climb.
The Devils upset the Bruins, 1-0, as +150 underdogs on Sunday. Is there value going back to New Jersey 48 hours later?
How They Match Up
Even at their pinnacle the Boston Bruins were not an offensive juggernaut. Instead the Bruins relied on the league’s most dynamic top line, a terrific power play and reliable depth forwards to score enough goals to make their splendid defensive numbers stick.
Boston’s defensive numbers are still sound, but a struggling offense has kept the B’s from climbing the table in the East Division. Boston still has games in hand on Washington, the Islanders and Pittsburgh, but they’re not that far from basically locking themselves into a race for the No. 4 seed in the division. Things have not improved for Boston over its past 10 games:
|Stat||Last 10 Games||Season (31 games)|
|Goals for per game||1.2||2.61|
|Goals against per game||1.7||2.29|
|5-on-5 Goals per 60 minutes||1.2||1.95|
|5-on-5 goals against per 60||1.7||2.02|
|5-on-5 expected goals per 60||1.8||1.97|
|5-on-5 expected goals against per 60||1.88||1.97|
|5-on-5 high-danger scoring chances for per 60||5.6||8|
|5-on-5 high-danger scoring allowed for per 60||9.1||8.9|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
The Devils have not been a great offensive team this season but they do produce enough scoring chances at 5-on-5 to make them interesting, even against this well-structured defense. New Jersey ranks 13th in expected goals for at 5-on-5, so it’s not like this team doesn’t generate good looks. And with Boston’s offense sputtering, it may take only one or two of those opportunities to be the difference on Tuesday night.
Devils vs. Bruins Best Bet
I am confident that the Boston Bruins will figure things out and right the ship at some point this season, but that sentiment doesn’t matter when you’re looking at a one-game sample. What matters is how much of a chance you think the Bruins have to beat the Devils in this game. And considering their current form and injury list, I have no interest in laying this kind of juice with the B’s.
The listed odds imply the Devils have a 40% chance of taking the two points on Tuesday night and while I am definitely interested in the Devils at the current price, I will wait for some lineup clarity for the Bruins before getting involved. Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk are both questionable, but if they are able to play I’d need this number to climb above +165. Should both Marchand and DeBrusk be ruled out, I like New Jersey at +150 or higher.
Update (12:30 p.m. ET): Brad Marchand and Brandon Carlo look like they will both play for Boston on Tuesday night and the line has moved towards the Bruins on that news. I would still be OK with playing New Jersey, but would see if I could get +175 or better.