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NHL Odds & Pick for Flames vs. Jets: Calgary Has Value on Thursday Night (Feb. 4)

NHL Odds & Pick for Flames vs. Jets: Calgary Has Value on Thursday Night (Feb. 4) article feature image

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Tkachuk

  • The Winnipeg Jets host the Calgary Flames on Thursday for the rubber match of their mini-series.
  • From a situational standpoint, the Flames get the better of the goaltending matchup as the starters for both teams return to their respective creases.
  • Matt Russell breaks down this game and shares his betting pick below.

Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets Odds

Flames -120
Jets +100
Puckline +1.5/-1.5
Over/Under 6
Time | TV Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings.

On Monday, there’s no way the team in red could possibly score and you’re terrified of every shot the team in blue flips towards the incompetent bozo between the pipes.

On Tuesday, there’s no way the team in blue could ever muster a goal and you’re convinced that every shot the team in red flips towards the net is going to get past the terrible goaltender you’re backing.

Such is the attitude of the ‘Zig Zag’ bettor, switching betting allegiances for the rematch after cashing in the first game. The team you feared in the first game, all of a sudden seems benign. But what happens in the rubber match?

Calgary Flames

After giving up a pair of near-identical first period power play goals on Monday, it seemed like backing Calgary was a bad idea. Especially after lacklustre games in Montreal. Then the hockey gods intervened to start the second period and the Flames got their big break of the season as Chris Tanev floated a shot from his own blue line that eluded Connor Hellebuyck.

Calgary was alive again. It took them until a shootout to get the victory, but out-High-Danger-Chancing the Jets 17-4 on the way to that win proved they were full value for it.

On Tuesday, they gave big-money starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom a much-needed night off, and tried to steal a win this time with backup David Rittich in net. Close, but no cigar.

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.

Winnipeg Jets

The Jets also sat their starter, Connor Hellebuyck, in the rematch, but in their case it wasn’t a downgrade to backup goalie Laurent Broissoit. “Larry Bros” was solid in his rare turn stopping 28 of 30 Flames shots, and held up against a frantic attack from Calgary to help the Jets to a 3-2 victory. 

As expected, the issue for Winnipeg wasn’t their replacement in net, it was taking advantage of the Flames’. The Jets mustered 10 High-Danger Chances while at even-strength, but were only able to generate two power play opportunities. The difference-maker was actually a short-handed goal that opened the scoring. 

It wasn’t as drastic of a discrepancy, but the Jets failed to get the best of the even-strength Expected Goal Share as the Flames had the edge in that metric 2.06-1.7, putting the two-game total at 4.86 to 2.61 in favour of Calgary.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Through more than 100 minutes of 5-on-5 play the Flames have shown to be the better team this week. Calgary’s overall rating in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast puts them at 9.85% better than average, while the Jets have dipped to almost 8% below average. So I’m not surprised that the Flames continue to be a small road favorite at -120. That’s right in line with the model’s projection.

From a situational standpoint, the Flames get the better of the goaltending matchup as the starters for both teams return to their respective crease, and not enough is being accounted for in the moneyline prices, in the same way they weren’t on Tuesday when the Jets should have been the favorite.

In a game priced as nearly a coin flip, I’ll take the better team, with the better goalie, in a situational spot that might be to their advantage in this unprecedented season.

Pick: Flames (-120 or better)

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