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NHL Betting Odds & Pick for Canucks vs. Flames: Bet the Underdog in High-Scoring Game (Saturday, January 16)

NHL Betting Odds & Pick for Canucks vs. Flames: Bet the Underdog in High-Scoring Game (Saturday, January 16) article feature image

Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Motte.

Canucks vs. Flames Odds

Canucks Odds +110 [BET NOW]
Flames Odds -148 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 6 (-125 / +104) [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV NHL Center Ice
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The all-Canadian division will deliver all season long. Almost every night, we’ll see extremely flawed teams going head-to-head in what most project as the most wide-open division in the league. Saturday will be no different as the Calgary Flames will host the Vancouver Canucks. 

The division has delivered in terms of excitement thus far as five games have been played to this point with all five going over the listed total. Many expected Canada to be filled with goals this season, and they’ve been proven right here in the early going. 

Will we continue to see a barrage of goals north of the border? Which of these teams will rebound off their Thursday night loss in order to get in the win column?

Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver opened its season by splitting a two-game set with the Edmonton Oilers. The two teams played each other relatively evenly, with Vancouver getting 48.82% of the expected goals per 60 minutes in the two matchups. 

Last season, 40 of Vancouver’s 67 games went over the total, and that hasn’t changed to start this year; the Canucks scored eight goals and conceded nine in their first two games. I expect this trend to continue for much of the season in Vancouver.

The Canucks rely heavily on their top six. JT Miller has missed the first two games of the season and will likely miss Saturday’s game due to COVID-19 protocols, but they still roll out Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and Bo Horvat every night. Tanner Pearson has also been a big body capable of scoring goals. 

Rookie Nils Hoglander looks like another potential rookie star for the Canucks as the youngster scored his first NHL goal in the Canucks’ opener. Vancouver’s playing at a 63.85% expected goal rate when he’s been on the ice in the first two contests. 

On defense, the Canucks are led by two exciting offensive puck-moving defensemen in Quinn Hughes and Nate Schmidt. Neither is particularly known for their defensive zone play, but both do a good job in terms of turning the puck up ice. 

In goal, the Canucks are hoping for a resurgence of sorts from Braden Holtby. The former Capitals goalie is well known for winning a Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy in his NHL career, but his -12.82 goals saved above expectation last season made it an easy decision for Washington to let him walk.

Replacing Jacob Markstrom with Holtby is a risky move for the Canucks, and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not last year was just an off-year for the veteran netminder. 

Calgary Flames

Prior to this season, I had the belief that Calgary could compete with Toronto for the North division title. If the Flames’ season opener is a preview of things to come, they’ll be competing with Ottawa for the basement of the division. 

Obviously, one bad game is not the end of the world, but the Flames were dominated by a Winnipeg Jets team that spent most of last season getting dominated.

Calgary had just 37.37% of the expected goals and 34.49% percent of the high-danger chances, and that’s adjusted for score effects. Even with the poor performance, the Flames still managed to find a 3-1 lead in the game and send the contest to overtime. 

One positive to come out of the game for the Flames is that Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano all found the scoresheet with either a goal or an assist in the season opener.

The Flames’ top line and No. 1 defenseman led the team to the best record in the Western Conference in 2018-19, but their slip in production in last season caused them to tumble down the standings. 

While it’s too early to officially declare Calgary top-guns as having put last year behind it, it’s a good first step. If Gaudreau can return to his 2018-19 numbers, he’s a dark horse to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. Similar things can be said about Giordano and the Norris Trophy. 

The Flames bought in goaltender Jacob Markstrom this off-season in order to solidify a position that has been a bit of a revolving door for Calgary over the past two decades.

His debut performance wasn’t strong — he got beat four times — but his defense did little to help him. Markstrom was under siege by the Jets in the opener, as the Flames defense allowed high-danger chance after high-danger chance. 

Markstrom and the defense will look to improve in Game 2 of the season. 

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Canucks vs Flames Best Bet

It’s rare that I like both a side and a total in the same game, but here we are. 

Vancouver is a team that has played in a lot of high-scoring games over the past two years. They’ve started the season playing a similar style. If you blindly bet the over in Canucks games last year, you’d have won nearly 60% of the time.

With names like Pettersson, Boeser and Hughes, I don’t expect them to struggle to score goals. On the flip side, Holtby is a big-time question mark in between the pipes. 

If Calgary’s play on opening night is a sign of things to come, then the Canucks will be finding high-quality opportunities all night long. Calgary also has some superstars of its own who can turn up ice and score in seconds. Gaudreau and the rest of the Flames’ top line are one of the best units in the league when they are on top of their game. 

I think we get a high-scoring game here on Saturday night in Calgary. There are still some books like BetMGM that have the total set at 6. Some books have already moved the line to 6.5, so act quickly.  I think the total will be at 6.5 across the board by the time we reach puck drop. 

At the same time, there are way too many question marks around the Flames in order to justify this line. The consensus line across most sportsbooks is -140, with some books like DraftKings at -148. Those odds imply that Calgary has nearly a 60% chance of winning this game. I make this game way closer to 50% than I do 60%. 

Bet: Over 6 Goals | Vancouver ML (+120 or better)

[Bet Canucks vs. Flames now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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