NHL Odds, Prediction, Preview for Hurricanes vs. Predators: How to Bet Game 4 in Nashville (May 23)

NHL Odds, Prediction, Preview for Hurricanes vs. Predators: How to Bet Game 4 in Nashville (May 23) article feature image
Credit:

Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Bean (left) and Filip Forsberg.

  • The Hurricanes look to take a 3-1 lead on Sunday when they face the Predators in Nashville.
  • The Preds were fortunate to have gotten on the board in Game 3 with a win, as Carolina has been the better team throughout the series.
  • Pete Truszkowski breaks down where the betting value lies in Game 4 and delivers his best bet for the game.

Hurricanes vs. Predators Odds

Hurricanes Odds -140
Predators Odds +120
Over/Under 5.5
Time Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN
Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet

Matt Duchene scored in double overtime to get the Nashville Predators back into their series with the Carolina Hurricanes. After an exciting back-and-forth affair, the underachieving superstar sent the home crowd happy with a neat individual effort.

Carolina entered the series as prohibitive favorites after an impressive regular season, and it’s no real surprise the Hurricanes held serve at home in the first two games of this series. Game 4 is pivotal, as it’ll tell us whether Nashville can turn this into a long series or if Carolina will put itself in position to make this a quick playoff cameo by the Preds.

Will the Predators be able to defend home ice, still down 2-1 in the series, or can Carolina put them on the ropes in Game 4?

What We’ve Learned So Far

To the surprise of nobody who paid attention during the regular season, the Hurricanes have been the better team in this series at 5-on-5. They’ve played to a 54.3% expected goal rate and generated 53.1% of the shot attempts. The Hurricanes ranked fourth in both categories during the regular season, while the Predators were average at best.

The issue for Carolina over the past two games has not been its play at even strength, but rather the lack of even strength play. Nashville had 14 power-play opportunities combined through games two and three. Nashville’s power play has been impotent, converting just once on these opportunities, but it still has had an impact on Carolina’s game.

Carolina coach Rod Brind’amour called out the officiating following his team’s loss in Game 3, implying that the discrepancy in power-play opportunities is unjust. Brind’amour realizes that if his team is constantly killing penalties, it can’t generate momentum or roll four lines. It’ll be interesting to see if his scathing words will impact the officiating in this series.

When at even strength, the Hurricanes have received dominant performances from their top line, as well as their third. The trio of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov have posted a 76% expected goal rate. The Canes’ third line of Jordan Staal, Warren Foegele and Jesper Fast has been even better, playing to an expected goal rate of 78.9%. 

On the other side, Predators head coach John Hynes might have stumbled on to something himself. Due to the injury to Viktor Arvidsson, Hynes put his best forward, Filip Forsberg, with two underachieving players in Duchene and Ryan Johansen. The trio has a 77.8% expected goal rate in the series. 

Entering this best-of-seven set, a lot was made of the goaltending matchup. These teams ranked first and second in even-strength save percentage, but we’ve seen 19 goals in three games. Granted, that number is inflated due to overtimes and empty-net goals, but it hasn’t been the defensive struggle some expected.

The Hurricanes’ Alex Nedeljkovic has outplayed Nashville’s Juuse Saros to this point. Nedeljkovic has a +0.9 goals saved above expectation, while Saros has been mediocre at -0.5. If Saros doesn’t turn up his game, it’s hard to see Nashville making much noise.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Entering this series, I believed there was a significant disparity between these teams. Despite some close games and impressive performances from the Predators, I still believe that. I think we’ve seen Nashville play near its ceiling so far in this series, while the Hurricanes still have another level they can reach. 

It’s pretty telling that Nashville needed double overtime and twice as many power plays than the Hurricanes to even this series. Teams coming home down 2-0 are often playing at full desperation and despite that, the Hurricanes hung right with them. In fact, Carolina had a 2.94-2.76 expected goal advantage at 5-on-5 in Game 3.

While I don’t love betting road favorites in the playoffs, I believe the Hurricanes are in range for a play here. Carolina is better than Nashville in every facet of the game. The Hurricanes are better at puck possession, shot generation, creating offense, special teams and arguably goaltending. 

I’ll take what I think is clearly the better team coming off a loss. Focus and motivation should be high. 

Pick: Carolina Hurricanes -140 (up to -145)

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