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NHL Odds & Pick for Ducks vs. Wild: How to Bet in Ryan Miller’s Sendoff (Saturday, May 8)

NHL Odds & Pick for Ducks vs. Wild: How to Bet in Ryan Miller’s Sendoff (Saturday, May 8) article feature image

Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Miller

  • One of these teams can ride their strong stretch of defensive play to close out the season.
  • NHL betting analyst Nicholas Martin explains why that's the Ducks in their season finale against the Wild.
  • Find his preview of their Saturday night matchup below, complete with odds and a pick.

Ducks vs. Wild Odds

Ducks Odds+240
Wild Odds-286
TimeSaturday, 8 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.

An NHL legend and potential Hall of Fame candidate, Ryan Miller, will take his net for the last time Saturday night in Minnesota as Anaheim looks to finish another losing season on a positive note.

The Wild took the opener of the back-to-back set against the Ducks, 4-3, on Friday night after yet another overtime winner from Kirill Kaprizov. 

The overtime win keeps Minnesota’s (slim) chances to claim home ice in Round 1 of the playoffs alive — something most would not have believed at the beginning of the season. And while home ice advantage is likely overrated to some degree, given a combined record below .500 over the last two postseasons (excluding bubble stats from last year), the Wild can certainly feel confident from running up a 10-1-2 record over their last 13 games as they gear up for a tough first-round matchup.

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Certainly the Wild possess a ton of talent up front, specifically in terms of depth after seeing breakout years from guys like Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek and Victor Rask as well as, obviously, the addition of superstar Kaprizov. It doesn’t hurt to have great puck movers on the top two defensive pairings either, but it is still clear that the top six is not with the elite of the NHL, and I would say that it is likely we see some regression offensively — especially as we enter the playoffs.

Over their last five games, the Wild have averaged an xGF/60 of 2.08,  yet have managed 20 goals over that span. Certainly analytics do not catch everything, but I would say with good confidence that this group will settle down toward the upper middle of the pack in goals, where they have trended most of the season.

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 and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

No. 1 goaltender Cam Talbot will draw the start in Saturday’s matchup, looking to build on a quality season in which he owns a .918 save percentage over 30 starts.

Anaheim is in the midst of a better stretch of play, going 3-2-1 over the last six outings with an xGF% of 54.12, looking to finish what was always going to be a rebuilding year on a positive note. Over those six games the Ducks have been strong defensively, allowing just 2.50 goals per game with an xGA/60 of just 1.90.

The Ducks undoubtedly have a ton of guys looking to prove themselves as NHL regulars as this season wanes down, including blue chip prospects Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale. Zegras has put up seven points over his last seven games, and has definitely shown some flashes of his ridiculous skill level. Haydn Fleury has also shown some positives since arriving in a trade at the deadline, and offers some good upside for the Ducks going forward.

There is definitely some youthful enthusiasm and energy around this Ducks group, and they will be offered a great opportunity to finish the season with their heads held high tomorrow night as they look forward to the future.

Ducks-Wild Betting Pick

Anaheim should come out inspired to offer up a proper send off for its legendary netminder in his final game, as the Ducks did in Miller’s final home start, a 6-2 win over the Kings last Saturday. Wanting a very likable player like Miller to have a successful final outing is reasonable, but I believe there’s still  sound logic in backing the Ducks to continue what has been a much better recent run of play defensively.

Minnesota’s torrid stretch offensively has pushed its team total goals line up to 3.5, which is a good spot to back the under at -108 odds as Anaheim should be looking to play a very sharp, hard-working game defensively and give Miller a chance for success in his final start, with Minnesota already likely due for some regression offensively.

I also like a smaller play on Anaheim to win the game at +240.

Picks: Minnesota Team Total Under 3.5 (-108)

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