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Red Wings vs. Predators NHL Odds & Picks: No Reason Not to Back Detroit (Thursday, Feb. 11)

Red Wings vs. Predators NHL Odds & Picks: No Reason Not to Back Detroit (Thursday, Feb. 11) article feature image

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: The Red Wings celebrate after a goal.

  • The Detroit Red Wings have had their fair share of games as big underdogs this season, and much to our delight, have actually won a few.
  • Could they make it happen again on Thursday against the Nashville Predators?
  • Matt Russell breaks down this matchup and shares his betting pick below.

Red Wings vs. Predators Odds

Red Wings +160
Predators -190
Over/Under 5.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via PointsBet.

At this point it’s like finding an albatross in the wild. Or on a golf course, if we want to keep it sportsy.

In the 2020 season, with teams playing only within their own recently made-up division, finding two teams that haven’t played each other yet this season feels like something of which we should notify the Audubon Society. 

It feels like the Red Wings and Predators have played already. Maybe because the Panthers, Predators and Blue Jackets all kind of seem like the same team.

The Lightning won the Stanley Cup, the Stars made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and the Hurricanes are noticeably good, and have been for a while. The Red Wings and Blackhawks are the scrappy “Original Six” underdogs. The other three are all just kind of there.

As such, would you expect any of those three teams to be a -200 favorite against anyone? 

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Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings have had their fair share of games as big underdogs this season, and much to our delight, have actually won a few. Unfortunately for them, that’s literally how many games they’ve won this season — three. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not that bad!

The Red Wings have an even-strength rating at just below average compared to the rest of their division. For example, they’ve converted 13 of 79 High-Danger Chances (HDCs), while their opponents have converted 12 of 77 HDCs. Their HDC conversion rate is 16.4%, which is actually above average. The trouble is the opponent’s 15.5% conversion rate is also above average. 

Detroit is losing the number of games that they are due to some special teams struggles. The opposition is converting 30% of their power play opportunities against the Red Wings, so the penalty kill is rough.

Even rougher? The power play, which is clicking at just 9% so far this season. 

Nashville Predators

There’s good news for those wanting to fade the Predators as big favorites. Their power play isn’t much better than the Red Wings’, at just 14%, and their penalty kill is actually somehow worse.

Now I often write in this space that power play goals aren’t predictive from game to game, but at least this serves as a better matchup for the Red Wings should more than a few penalties get called.

Another good reason to not like the Predators — their goaltending. Juuse Saros took over the No. 1 role in the playoff bubble last summer, and didn’t run with it, as the Preds lost to the Coyotes in four games.

Now to start the season, Saros has struggled, finding himself dangerously close to the Senators’ goaltending duo at the bottom of the Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) metrics at -5.39. In fact, he’s dangerously close to losing the job back to long-time Predators netminder, Pekka Rinne, who’s actually bounced back in shorter duty this season to have a slightly above average GSAA.

The Predators have never been a team that can outscore any troubles in net, and that’s certainly not the case this year, either. Nashville has created more than eight even-strength High-Danger Chances in a game just once this season. Were it not for one great minute where they scored twice to tie the Panthers to force overtime — where they eventually won — the Predators would be on a six-game losing streak.

Betting Analysis & Pick

I’ll admit that I expected more from the Predators this season, as I had them rated higher than the market did before the season. Since then, the market hasn’t adjusted to what my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model (as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast) is seeing from the Predators at even-strength, which is a 6% below-average team.

Simply put, they don’t get as many HDCs as they give up, they don’t convert as many HDCs as they allow, and on average they have a sub-.500 Expected Goal Share (xG%). 

Obviously, I let the cat out of the bag on this one early, but given all the information, there’s no reason not to back the Red Wings in Nashville in what is way closer to a coin flip than the prices indicate. And should they lose to the Preds in the first game, fire away again in Game 2.

Pick: Red Wings (+150 or better)

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