Devils vs. Flames Betting Odds, Pick: Is New Jersey Trending Up?
Ed Mulholland, USA Today Sports.
New Jersey Devils at Calgary Flames Odds
- Devils odds: +140
- Flames odds: -160
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
I was skeptical of the New Jersey Devils coming into the season. The Devils made some splashy moves in the offseason and that caused the New Jersey hype machine to go into overdrive.
As is often the case in betting, the market overreacted to the glitzy acquisitions and that made New Jersey a prime candidate to fade in the early going.
The Devils slogged through the first two weeks of the season and now are playing catch up in the competitive Eastern Conference. New Jersey’s 4-5-4 record isn’t impressive, so I don’t expect bettors to be lining back up to invest in the Devils. But now may be the right time to get involved.
New Jersey has started to find its game over the past few weeks.
The Devils are far from a finished product, but their defense has been terrific through the first 13 games. On average, New Jersey allows the fewest high-danger scoring chances and fifth-fewest expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
That type of “protect the house” hockey goes a long way to cover up for some mediocre goaltending and an offense that generates just 2.02 expected goals for per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
The Flames have endured an underwhelming start to 2019-20, as well. After putting up 107 points last season, Calgary has won nine of its first 18 games. The Flames’ 9-7-2 record is probably a fair representation for how they have played to start the season.
Calgary sits in the middle of the pack with a 50.7 xG% but is allowing more high-danger chances than it is producing. Given the talent Calgary has up front, their inability to create offense this season is a little puzzling.
It’s still the early days, but Calgary’s first 18 games of 2019-20 lack teeth. The Flames are throwing pucks at the net — they average the seventh-most shot attempts per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 this season — but they aren’t getting quality looks. The Flames are only generating 8.6 high-danger scoring chances per hour.
Scoring chances likely will be few and far between in this matchup of struggling offenses and in that type of low-event game, I’m happy to take the underdog at a nice price — especially considering the Devils are the more rested team as Calgary is playing its fourth game in six nights.
The market seems to agree that the Devils are the value in this matchup. After opening at +150 (38.4% implied probability) in some shops, New Jersey has shortened to +140/+145 around the market.
I still think those odds flatter the Flames a little bit. At -160/+140, Calgary has an implied probability of 59.6%. That is a bit much and think New Jersey is worth a shot down to +140.