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Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds & Pick: Value on Underdog Detroit (Friday, Feb. 19)

Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds & Pick: Value on Underdog Detroit (Friday, Feb. 19) article feature image

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

  • The Detroit Red Wings host the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
  • Whether it’s the Panthers below-average even-strength rating or the Wings' sneaky-average numbers, Matt Russell doesn't see any reason for the Panthers to be considerable favorites in Detroit.
  • Check out Russell's full preview and betting pick for this game below.

Panthers vs. Red Wings Odds

Panthers Odds -180
Team Odds +150
Over/Under 5.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | ESPN+
Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet.

One of the more underrated elements of sports betting is using the mainstream media to evaluate value. I personally feel like I thrive on watching and listening to the talking heads who don’t bet on the sports they scream about, as I’m able to pick out the wild overreactions to what’s recently happened in games, or what the standings say. The more of these lemmings talking about the same thing, the more the people who are watching will buy into this when they go to make a bet. This is rampant in the NFL, because it’s the most dissected league in the world. 

The NHL isn’t in the top-five most over-examined league in the world, except for in one country. The nation I happen to have been born and raised in: Canada.

It’s not just the local team either, a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins will get the benefit of the doubt until Sidney Crosby’s dying day, no matter where they sit in the standings. When taking an analytical approach to hockey handicapping, it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming that everyone sees what your numbers see. Until you turn on to Canadian hockey coverage and realize why there’s a gap between your metrics and the perception of a player or team.

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Florida Panthers

Florida got the “Panthers are for real!” on one such show on Wednesday night.

After beating the Hurricanes and their third-string goaltender.

In overtime.

Don’t get me wrong, the Panthers have a dark horse MVP candidate in Jonathan Huberdeau, a top draft pick who’s coming into his own as he gets more experience in the league. They have a handful of other young players that are reaching their prime, and a top defenceman that no one talks much about in Aaron Ekblad. They are not, however, for real. 

Maybe it’s just semantics, but to me “for real” would mean that they are full and fair value for their place high up in the standings. The Panthers are at the top of the Central division with 22 points in 14 games, for an average of 1.57 points per game this season.

Their preseason rating in the market expected them to be a 0.99 points-per-game team. Could they be better than that? Sure. However, their play this season hasn’t indicated that. In the market, they’ve bumped them up to 1.14 points per game.

That’s still too high. My “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, has them at a 1.08 points per game level. In fact, at even strength, I have them rated at 5% below average. All this adds up to the Panthers being very much not for real. 

As for the aforementioned game against the Hurricanes, the Panthers racked up a grand total of three high-danger chances while at even strength, which is in keeping with the fact that despite the great record, they still haven’t accumulated 10 HDCs or more this season.

That stat? For real.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are no stranger to limiting their opponents’ high-danger chances. Unfortunately, like the Hurricanes against the Panthers, they tend to not convert enough in the offensive zone to win the game. The Wings haven’t allowed more than eight HDCs at even-strength in their last 12 games. They’ve only won two of those matches.

Detroit continues its homestand after dropping two straight coin-flip games to Chicago — a 2-1 overtime loss, and a 2-0 (empty-net goal). The Wings were good enough to actually improve their rating in my model, sneaking their way into the green as a slightly above-average team at even strength.

There’s no question the offense needs to pick it up to give Detroit a chance to win, as good as they’re playing in their own zone. Fortunately, their best offensive showing this season happened to come in their recent visit to Florida, where they converted three of seven HDCs in a convincing 4-1 win over Florida. Even though they lost the rematch, the Wings were good enough to out-class the Panthers in expected goals for (xGF), 1.36-1.04.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Whether it’s the Panthers below-average even-strength rating and the Wings’ sneaky-average numbers, or the recent pair of matchups back in Sunrise, there’s just no reason for the Panthers to be considerable favorites in Detroit on Friday night from a numbers perspective. 

I have this game much closer to a coin flip than the FLA -180/DET +150 that the opening prices indicate. If the reason the Panthers are getting this level of credit in the marketplace is due to overzealous announcers proclaiming their legitimacy, I’m happy to fade that sentiment and play the underdog Red Wings. For real.

Pick: Red Wings (+150 or better)

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