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NHL Odds & Pick for New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: The Devils Are a Live Underdog on Tuesday (March 23)

NHL Odds & Pick for New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: The Devils Are a Live Underdog on Tuesday (March 23) article feature image

Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Palmieri

  • The Flyers have completely fallen off a cliff over its last 20 games.
  • Despite this, Philadelphia is favored on Tuesday night against the Devils.
  • Michael Leboff breaks down below why there is betting value on New Jersey.

Devils vs. Flyers Odds

Devils Odds +135
Flyers Odds -159
Over/Under 6
Time Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via Unibet

The Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils came into 2021 at different ends of the oddsboard. The Flyers were listed as one of the favorites in the East Division, while the Devils were saddled with the longest odds of the group during the preseason.

While the Devils have basically played to their preseason expectations, the Flyers have underwhelmed and we can now confidently say that Philadelphia is a mediocre team that was overrated by bookmakers and pundits alike before the season.

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How They Match Up

The Flyers have completely fallen off a cliff over its last 20 games, going 8-9-3 with a -17 goal differential at 5-on-5. Even more frustrating than that is that the Flyers have not really had any trouble scoring goals over that span but are losing games thanks to mediocre 5-on-5 play and terrible goaltending.

No team is going to outscore an .885 even-strength save percentage, but it’s especially worrisome for the Flyers since strong goaltending was a big part of their identity with Carter Hart expected to take a leap into stardom this season. Instead Hart has taken quite a few steps back. The 22-year-old sports the worst Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in the NHL this season at -21.13.

That type of performance from your No. 1 goalie can sink a season, but the Flyers have been able to stay on the fringe of the playoff race thanks to some clinical finishing but that’s really it. Outside of their goal-scoring number the Flyers grade out as a pedestrian team.

5-on-5 Stat Devils Flyers
Goals For per 60 minutes 2.13 2.74
Goals Against per 60 2.37 3.35
Goal Differential per 60 -0.24 -0.61
Expected Goals For per 60 2.3 2.17
Expected Goals Against per 60 2.45 2.28
Expected Goal Differential per 60 -0.15 -0.11
High-danger chances for per 60 9.7 9.1
High-danger chances allowed per 60 10.8 10

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 Flyers aren’t the only team in this matchup that has struggled over the past six weeks. Following a decent start to the season the Devils have skated to a 7-11-2 record over their last 20 contests. During that span New Jersey has a 48.9% expected goals rate, a 48% high-danger chance rate and 51% shot share. In other words, the Devils have been just below average. Unfortunately they haven’t been able to capitalize on their opportunities as they have the fourth-worst 5-on-5 shooting percentage in the league during that span.

Philadelphia hasn’t played like a team that will be able to come in and push around a less talented team like New Jersey. The Flyers are deeper and have more high-end skill than the Devils, but I don’t think the gap between these two teams is as wide as these odds indicate, especially with the way that Hart has been playing in goal for the Flyers.

Mackenzie Blackwood has also seen his form dip since he returned from the COVID protocol list, but he’s coming off an encouraging performance in which stopped 35 of 36 shots in a win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, so I am OK with backing him in this spot.

The listed odds imply that New Jersey wins this game 42.6% of the time and I think that flatters the Flyers quite a bit. I think there’s value on New Jersey at +130 or better on Tuesday night.

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