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Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds & Picks: Wait for Palatable Price to Back Florida (Sunday, Jan. 31)

Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds & Picks: Wait for Palatable Price to Back Florida (Sunday, Jan. 31) article feature image

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: (Left to right) Anthony Duclair, Aleksi Heponiemi & Anton Stralman.

  • The Red Wings welcome the Florida Panthers to Detroit for a Sunday rematch.
  • If the goaltending matchup shakes out like Matt Russell thinks it will and the market correctly adjusts for the run of play in the first game, the price might be right to back Florida.
  • Check out Russell's full preview for this game and find his betting pick below.

Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds

Panthers Odds -1.5
Red Wings Odds +1.5
Moneyline -175 / +145
Over/Under 5.5  
Time 5 p.m. ET
TV NHL Network
Odds as of Saturday night and via DraftKings.

In another life I could have been a scientist. Hypotheses, formulas and testing theories. The problem was I had no interest in cutting open a frog, and I still don’t really get the whole proton, neutron and electron thing. Plus, I would have eventually mixed up the wrong chemicals and blown myself sky high at some point. Maybe it was all for the best.

In betting the NHL this season, I’ve been in the lab and cooked up my own theory about how to handle these back-to-back games, especially during a very specific situation. The situational theory is called “Ya Blew It” and it applies to the second game of these new rematch games for this season.

When a team plays well enough to win, as defined by playing better 5-on-5 according to Expected Goal Share (xG%) and High-Danger Chance percentage (HDC%), but doesn’t win, don’t be sucked into backing that team in Game 2.

Why? Because they blew their chance for the split by not winning the first game. 

Teams are 31-19 (62%) in the rematch after losing the first game this season. However, they’re only 5-8 in games after they carried the play and lost the first game. If you applied the “Ya Blew It” theory, you’d turn 31-19 (not bad) into 34-16 (now we’re really talkin’!). The Florida Panthers’ rematch with the Red Wings in Detroit on Sunday will be a prime test case for the YBI Theory.

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Florida Panthers

Find someone who loves you as much as my model loved the Panthers through their first four games. It’s not hard to understand why with a quick skim of the numbers.

The Panthers have been very stingy at even strength this season, giving up High-Danger Chance totals of: 4, 4, 2, 5 and 6 (last night). Admittedly, the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets and Red Wings aren’t exactly the class of the NHL offensively.

The Panthers’ rating did take a hit on Saturday night as they struggled to generate much offensively in Detroit, and were lucky to get the game into overtime. Even luckier still, the Panthers scored on a pretty 2-on-1 in overtime to get the win, and instantly trigger a “YBI Theory” situation.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings were good enough to win on Saturday, and early on this season that would make them an attractive candidate to bet on in the rematch given that they closed around +150 on the moneyline and we should see a similar price on Sunday. Even my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model from THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast thinks that price is too good to pass up. However, there lies the rub. What’s happened this season is that the “better” team steps it up in the rematch and takes care of business. A ton of value goes to waste.

Unlike the Panthers, the Red Wings have played a full schedule, and this is the fifth pair of games for Detroit. Ignoring whether they won the game or not, the Red Wings have actually played to a worse win probability in the back end of each pair. Specifically, they’ve decreased their win probability by an average of 33.5% in the second game from the first by how they’ve played at even strength. On the plus side for Detroit, they’re somehow 2-2 in those games. 

With the overtime loss to Florida, the Wings are now 0-5 in the first games, which is one factor in why I wasn’t on them Saturday night. Now I can’t back them in the second. 

The league-wide trend mirroring water finding its level has shown the favorite will play much better, and Detroit’s tendency is that it won’t. The Red Wings played well enough 5-on-5 to win that game 88% of the time, given that they only gave up two High-Danger Chances and converted two of their six.

Panthers-Red Wings Pick

I can’t emphasize this enough: There is no numerical value in backing the Panthers on Sunday at a big price.

But there wasn’t any when the Panthers won in this situation against the Blackhawks, or when Detroit lost to those Hawks and then again to the Predators in the same spot they’re in now. That’s why it’s a situational play, rather than a value play. 

One more element in the favor of the Panthers is between the pipes. Each team is likely to look to their backup goaltender in the rematch. For the Red Wings, they’ll turn to Jonathan Bernier, who is, like many backups, below average so far this season with a -2.74 GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average).

The Panthers will likely sit starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who is a notorious slow starter, both in-season and in-game.“Goalie Bob” has given up 5 of his 9 goals against this season in the first period, and he brought a -1.54 GSAA into the game on Saturday night. Meanwhile, second-year ‘tender Chris Driedger has been very good in two appearances with a +1.74 GSAA after a strong showing last season in limited action. It’s possible at this point in the season the Panthers are getting an unaccounted for bump in the goaltending matchup. 

If the goaltending matchup shakes out like we think it will and the market correctly adjusts for the run of play in the first game, we might get a more palatable price to back the Panthers. Let’s just hope, unlike a bad science experiment, that it doesn’t blow up in our face.

Pick: Panthers (-170 or better)

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