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Hurricanes vs. Red Wings Odds & Picks: Will This Line Get High Enough for a Bet on Detroit? (Thursday, Jan. 14)

Hurricanes vs. Red Wings Odds & Picks: Will This Line Get High Enough for a Bet on Detroit? (Thursday, Jan. 14) article feature image

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Bertuzzi

  • Coming off one of the worst seasons in recent memory, the Red Wings begin the new campaign at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • The Red Wings will rely heavily on their top line, which will face a difficult test against a staunch top defensive pairing from Carolina.
  • Michael Leboff, begrudgingly, tells you the point at which you should bet Detroit, which is presenting value in its opener.

Hurricanes vs. Red Wings Odds

Hurricanes Odds -200 [BET NOW]
Red Wings Odds +170 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 6.5 (+104 / -125) [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NHL Center Ice
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings.

As soon as the NHL released its schedule, my eyes immediately fell upon this game and a sense of dread came over me.

I knew that there was going to be a good chance that I would be betting on the Detroit Red Wings, fresh off a historically bad 2019/20 campaign, against the Carolina Hurricanes, a team I think profiles as a good Stanley Cup bet at +2000.

Let’s begrudgingly dive in.

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Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have a lot going for them heading into 2021. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen give the Canes one of the most dynamic top lines in the league. Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin are as good a defense pairing as you will find. And the Canes have depth to support their stars. Rod Brind’Amour can roll four lines and three defense pairings all game, should he so please.

Overall, the Hurricanes played like a solid, but not exemplary, team in 2019/20. They had the fifth-best expected goal difference (xGD) per 60 minutes and were 11th in 5-on-5 goal differential per hour.

However, a deeper look revealed a very distinct line of demarcation in the Hurricanes’ season: when No. 1 defenseman and Norris Trophy candidate Hamilton was injured. With Hamilton, the Hurricanes played to a near-elite level. When he was out, they faded into mediocrity.

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%

Carolina’s ability to push play has never been an issue. The Canes finished third in the NHL with a 54.4% shot share and only four teams averaged more shot attempts per 60 minutes than Carolina did at 5-on-5 last season.

You can expect Carolina to dictate the tempo of this game. Expect a barrage.

Detroit Red Wings

By all metrics, including a minus-122 goal differential in 71 games, the Wings were one of the worst teams in the NHL’s modern era.

The Wings sported a -1.37 goal differential per hour in 2019/20, the worst mark of any team since the Florida Panthers posted the same number back in 2012/13, but that was a 48-game season. Since that season, only six clubs had a goal differential per 60 worse than -1.0 and no team last season came close to Detroit’s number.

While a lot of the blame should land on Detroit’s skaters, goaltending was also a huge issue as Jimmy Howard posted a -26.86 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in 27 starts last season. In other words, Howard cost the Wings about one goal per game.

The Wings upgraded their goaltending situation in the offseason by signing the quietly-steady Thomas Greiss to take over for Howard in the blue paint. Greiss never really sets the world on fire, but he posted a +8.76 GSAx over his last two seasons on Long Island. Going from a Barry Trotz-coached team to the Red Wings will be night and day for the German netminder, but it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t provide a boost for the Wings.

Detroit made some other marginal upgrades over the fall, bringing in Vladimir Namestnikov to provide some middle-six depth up front, while Jon Merrill and Troy Stetcher give Jeff Blashill some NHL-caliber blueliners to work with.

Namestnikov, Merrill, Stetcher and Greiss won’t push Detroit into the mix for a playoff spot, but they at least ensure that what we saw last season was rock bottom for the Wings. Better days, not good ones, are on the horizon in MoTown.

Hurricanes-Red Wings Pick

Let’s get this out of the way at the top: You should not expect the Detroit Red Wings to win this game. Detroit basically has one line that can hang with the Hurricanes and you can expect that line (Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi) to see a healthy dose of Hamilton and Slavin.

If you’re looking for someone to just pat you on the back for thinking that the Hurricanes are going to win this game, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Hockey’s volatile nature makes it pretty hard to get by laying this kind of juice night in and night out. Additionally, this is the first game of the season for these two teams after a confusing, stop-start offseason. If there was ever a time for something kooky to happen, this is it.

Our projections make this line Carolina -200, which I think is close but still underrates the Wings because the model hasn’t adjusted for Detroit’s (hopeful) improvements quite yet.

That said, I’m not ready to bet a team at +170. At that number you need Detroit to win about 37.1% of the time to start showing value. I think that’s a bit lofty, so I’ll wait it out to see if the Wings can inch towards +200, but would be in at +190.

Pick: Detroit Red Wings +190 or better

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