Odds & Pick for Flames vs. Canucks: Bet Calgary, But Keep an Eye on Who’s Between the Pipes
Rich Lam/Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob Markstrom.
- The Canucks snagged a 3-1 win against the Flames on Saturday night.
- It was a tough outing for Calgary, which has been the superior team thus far this season.
- The Flames are favored in Monday's rematch, and Matt Russell previews the game and gives his pick on which side to back.
Flames vs. Canucks Odds
|Time | TV||Monday, 10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday night and via PointsBet.|
Roses, candy and flowers. St. Valentine’s version of the ‘big three’. The number of these you put into play this past weekend probably directly correlates to how secure you are in your relationship. If the answer is “all thre,e you’re probably at risk for a featured spot on the “Guys who are down bad” twitter account. On the other hand, if it’s none, either you have a partner who can see through blatant commercialism, or you’ve been together long enough to become complacent.
The difference between good and great in professional sports is often complacency. Particularly in the regular season, when it’s difficult to stay locked in each and every night. In the NHL, if you can read the tea leaves in certain situations, you might be able to predict a less-than-stellar performance from an over-priced favorite. The Flames were that team on Saturday night, even if the scoreboard didn’t necessarily indicate that.
The Flames came into Vancouver for the first of three games there and four overall with the Canucks feeling themselves a little bit. A win over their historical rival and a win over their more recent rival will do that. Calgary then grabbed the first of this series of games with Vancouver by a 3-1 score.
That final score may have been a little misleading, given a pretty even expected goal share between the two teams. Throw in a pair of wins over the Canucks early in the season and the Flames went into Saturday’s game with a three-game win streak over Vancouver and a three-game win streak overall.
Call it complacency, call it what you will, but the Flames didn’t show up to Rogers Arena with any fear of the Canucks’ offence. The Canucks racked up an expected goals for (XGF) of 3.13 at even-strength, just shy of a season-high, and for the Flames the expected goal share of 37.6% was one of their three worst of the season.
Even with the 5-on-5 play in their favor, the Canucks still only narrowly edged the Flames, needing a game-winner with just over five minutes left to give them the edge despite firing 46 shots towards their former teammate, Jacob Markstrom.
Speaking of goaltenders, taking a wait-and-see approach with who will be between the pipes is the first word of caution for this game. With another day off between games, there’s no reason to think Markstrom won’t be back in net on Monday night. But we always have to keep our collective heads on a swivel because of the downgrade from Markstrom to backup David Rittich, especially given the difficulty the Canucks have had in beating the ex-Canuck. Markstrom has a 1.26 GAA (goals against average) and .964 save percentage in four games against Vancouver.
With the assumption that Markstrom is back in net, I would expect the Canucks to turn to their veteran netminder, and quasi-replacement for Markstrom, Braden Holtby. To no one’s surprise, except maybe the Canucks’ brass, Holtby is continuing his struggles from last year, and is working his way from a 50-50 rotational split to a much lower percentage. While Saturday’s winner, Thatcher Demko, hasn’t been lighting the crease ablaze, he’s still a better option than Holtby.
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Betting Analysis & Pick
Fundamentally, I think Saturday’s effort from Calgary was more of a blip on the radar for a team I have rated as above-average at even-strength. Meanwhile, despite the big night for their analytics, the Canucks still linger at almost 10% below average.
The early price for this game looks to be around the Flames usual number, as they seem to always be about a -130 favorite, and I think that’s a reasonable price in this one. They closed a little higher for Saturday’s game, but the loss should knock their numbers back to this appropriate point.
I expect a bounce-back effort from Calgary, but when it comes to a bet, I think you’ll need to know it’s Markstrom before you bet the Flames at anything more than -135. Should Rittich get the start, I think you can still make a case for Calgary, but would want the discount that should come with his involvement. Something closer to -110.
Pick: Flames (-135 or better with Markstrom / -110 or better with Rittich)