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Hurricanes vs. Bruins Game 1 Odds & Pick: Is Boston Being Disrespected? (Wednesday, August 12)

Hurricanes vs. Bruins Game 1 Odds & Pick: Is Boston Being Disrespected? (Wednesday, August 12) article feature image

Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Petr Mrazek, Andrei Svechnikov

Game 1 Odds: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins 

Looking for Game 2? Click here.

Hurricanes Odds +116 [BET NOW]
Bruins Odds -134 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time Wednesday, 11 a.m. ET

Odds 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.

Editor’s Note: The Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes game originally scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night has been postponed until 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning.

You’ve got to feel for both the Boston Bruins a bit. The B’s dominated the regular season, finishing with 100 points in 70 games to win the Presidents’ Trophy. Boston basically paced the NHL wire-to-hiatus but its reward was just a measly tiebreaker advantage in the seeding round.

The Bruins didn’t need to play the tiebreak card as they went 0-3 in the round robin and were doomed to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, setting up a date with the Carolina Hurricanes, fresh off a three-game sweep of the New York Rangers in the Qualifying Round.

Boston is still a clear favorite in this series but Carolina is a dangerous opponent and could be a trendy underdog coming off an emphatic performance against the Rangers last week.

Has the Canes hype gotten out of hand?

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.

Carolina Hurricanes

I’m not letting last week’s games sway me too much, but I will say once again that the Hurricanes were terrific against the Rangers. It was a clinic.

Overall, the Canes are a really good team but fall short of the elite tier where Boston and Tampa Bay live. Carolina can certainly give the Bruins a series, but you’re crazy if you think the Canes should be favored just because they looked great last week and the Bruins struggled.

At their best, Carolina is a forechecking buzzsaw. The Canes make no qualms about how they want to play. They will put the puck behind you, pressure you  to get possession whether through a retrieval or a turnover and then cycle the biscuit until a scoring chance emerges. It’s exhausting.

5-on-5 Stat Result Rank
Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.63 11th
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.53 18th
Expected Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.76 2nd
Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.51 20th
Shot Attempts For Per 60 Minutes 60.05 5th
Shot Attempts Allowed Per 60 Minutes 50.3 2nd
High-Danger Chances For Per 60 Minutes 12.39 2nd
High-Danger Chances Against Per 60 Minutes 11.14 23rd

It was a tale of two seasons for the Hurricanes and the line of demarcation was Jan. 16, the day when No. 1 defenseman Dougie Hamilton broke his fibula.

Hamilton has developed into one of the NHL’s best defensemen over the years; of all the injured players returning to their teams for this tournament, I’d say Hamilton is the biggest addition. The numbers tell you why:

Stat With Hamilton (47 games) Without Hamilton (21 games)
xGF/60 2.79 2.68
xGA/60 2.43 2.68
xGF% 53.4% 50%
GF/60 2.46 3.02
GA/60 2.34 2.95
GF% 51.2% 50.6%

With Hamilton, the Hurricanes played like a top-five team. Without Hamilton, the Canes were largely mediocre and downright bad defensively. While his status is still murky for Game 1, there seems to be some growing momentum that Hamilton will play in the opener.

Boston Bruins

Let’s just get it out of the way. The Bruins basically slept through the round robin last week. Not only did they lose all three games, but the B’s were uncharacteristically outplayed at 5-on-5. It doesn’t matter to me. Boston is still one of the best teams in the NHL.

The B’s ho-hummed their way to another stupendous regular season in 2019-20, riding a league-best defense to the top of the ladder.

Boston allowed the fewest goals and expected goals per hour at 5-on-5 during the regular season. That type of defensive prowess takes pressure off and allowed the B’s to produce best-in-class results with pedestrian offensive metrics.

5-on-5 Stat Result Rank
Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.56 15th
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 1.88 1st
Expected Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.22 27th
Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 1.98 1st
Shot Attempts For Per 60 Minutes 56 13th
Shot Attempts Allowed Per 60 Minutes 51.81 5th
High-Danger Chances For Per 60 Minutes 9.73 25th
High-Danger Chances Against Per 60 Minutes 8.97 3rd

Even though the B’s defense is the most impressive part of their game, this is not a one-dimensional team. Boston’s opportunistic offense is led by one of the league’s best trios: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Those three also make up a big part of Boston’s power play, which ranked second in the NHL during the regular season.

There’s plenty of scoring support behind the Bergeron line as David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle and Ondrej Kase are all capable of chipping in.

Boston’s blueline is similarly deep and well-constructed. Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug are both play-driving monsters while Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara provide balance with their defensive acumen.

Betting Analysis

On paper, this is a matchup between a great team and an elite team. It is also a fascinating market as you’re dealing with a trendy dark horse in good form and an established behemoth that just stumbled through three glorified preseason games.

It seems to me that bettors are putting too much stock into what we saw last week. Carolina is one of a few teams that can hang with Boston over the long-term and the Canes are certainly capable of beating the B’s, but I don’t think Boston is getting enough respect at the moment.

The odds for this series could also be a roller coaster from game to game. If Boston comes out and looks like its old self, I’d expect Carolina to have some value in Game 2 and beyond. If the opposite happens, Boston’s price could sink even further, which would really be something.

I rarely lay juice in the NHL because of the sport’s chaotic nature but this game is an exception to the rule. The Bruins were the best team in the NHL over the course of the season and a three-game stumble doesn’t change that.

The best number on Boston at the time of writing is -134 at BetMGM, but I’d play anything under -140 for Game 1.

[Bet now at BetMGM. CO, NJ, IN and WV only.]

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