NHL Daily Betting Picks: Our Favorite Underdog Bets Including Devils-Flyers & Red Wings-Predators (Tuesday, March 22)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Gagner
It’s an unusually quiet Tuesday night in the NHL but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of betting opportunities worth exploring.
Here are our two favorite underdogs for Tuesday’s five-game NHL slate:
Pete Truszkowski: New Jersey Devils (+135) vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Puck Drop: 7 p.m. ET
With just two regulation wins in their last 12 contests we can officially say that the Philadelphia Flyers are down bad.
After a strong finish to last year and a hot start this year, it looked like the Philadelphia Flyers could be a contender. However, a lot of what we saw during those runs was smoke and mirrors.
The Flyers are a below average team in terms of puck possession and shot quality. They rank inside the bottom-10 league-wide in expected goal (xG) rate and are also below average in both shot attempt share and high-danger chance (HDC) percentage. The Flyers’ offense is 28th in xGF per 60 and 25th in HDC per 60 at 5-on-5.
Through the first part of the year, the team survived based on an astronomical shooting percentage. That mark has fallen, but the Flyers still have the second-highest shooting percentage in the league. With the talent on the roster, it’s not shocking to see the Flyers score at a high rate, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this group continue to regress towards the mean.
With the goals drying up, the Flyers’ goaltending issues have come to the forefront. Carter Hart was a Vezina Trophy favorite before the season but he’s been one of the league’s worst goalies in 2021. Hart’s league-worst -21.1 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) means he’s costing his team over a goal a night.
New Jersey is not a great team, but the Devils have been a scrappy and competitive bunch in a spoiler role. New Jersey plays a pretty high-event style of hockey, ranking inside the top-10 in generating expected goals but bottom-10 in suppressing scoring chances.
The Devils talent level might not “wow” the casual fan, but they do have some nice pieces like Jack Hughes, Kyle Palmieri, Pavel Zacha and Ty Smith. MacKenzie Blackwood has come back down to Earth after a sensational start, but he’s still a much more solid option than Hart has been for the Flyers this season.
With the Flyers playing on Monday night and the Devils being rested, I like taking a chance on New Jersey as underdogs. Hart has been awful for Philly and New Jersey should have a goaltending advantage.
Michael Leboff: Detroit Red Wings (+136) vs. Nashville Predators
Puck Drop: 8 p.m. ET
Like Pete, I think the Devils are a good value bet on Tuesday night. But I also think there’s reason to back the Detroit Red Wings as underdogs against the Nashville Predators, too.
The Nashville Predators have struggled to find the back of the net all season. At 1.75 goals per 60 minutes, the Preds rank 30th in the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring, just behind the Red Wings. Nashville’s 5.92 shooting percentage (which also ranks 30th) suggests the Preds have been snakebitten this season, but it’s not just bad luck that is keeping this team off the scoresheet. Nashville ranks 24th in creating expected goals and 18th in creating high-danger scoring chances.
Add in the fact that the Predators will be without its two best players, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis, along with Matt Duchene and you start to see why the Preds may be worth taking on, even if it means a bet o the hapless Red Wings.
Detroit’s numbers are ugly, so there’s no real need to dig too deep into them, but I do think there is a viable path to success for the Wings against a team that is struggling to score. The Red Wings are not a dominant defensive force, but they also aren’t a leaky bunch. The Wings are the eighth-best team in the NHL at preventing high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 and are bang-average in terms of preventing expected goals, so they do stand a chance to containing this pedestrian offense.
The goaltending matchup is certainly a concern as Thomas Greiss has been awful for Detroit this season, but he should have a relatively easy night of work against an offense that is scoring just 2.31 goals per game.
This should be a pretty low-event game and I like the Wings’ chances of turning this contest into a coin flip. I don’t think there’s any reason to rush to the window to bet this game as I can’t see it getting much worse, but I like a bet on Detroit at +135 or better.