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NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Predators vs. Panthers (March 2)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Predators vs. Panthers (March 2) article feature image

Pictured: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Florida Panthers. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

  • The Nashville Predators head to Florida to take on the Panthers in Thursday night NHL action.
  • Our expert doesn't expect this game to be overly competitive, but still found some betting value.
  • Continue reading for Greg Liodice's best bet.

Predators vs. Panthers Odds

Predators Odds+146
Panthers Odds-178
Over/Under6.5 (-122/+100)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

With a new-look lineup, the Nashville Predators head south to take on the Florida Panthers. Nashville is seemingly waving the white flag and trading a number of its top players. I’m expecting the Predators to move further down the standings as the season progresses.

Florida is a confusing team. The Panthers are still in a solid race for a playoff spot, but they’re bordering between a playoff team and mediocrity. In their past 10 games, they’ve gone 6-4 and are three points out of the final Wild Card spot.

Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our prediction for the Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers.

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Nashville Predators

The Predators are looking much different after the trades of Mattias Ekholm, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Tanner Jeannot. Additionally, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen are out with injury.

It’s been a rough year for the Preds offense. This month, they’re ranked 20th in expected goals with a 48.39 xGF%. They also have an inefficient power play that scores just 18.5% of the time.

I’m not bullish on the Predators defense this year either. Roman Josi is a future Hall of Famer, but with Ekholm gone, it’ll be harder. Nashville allows 2.98 goals per game and is 18th in expected goals allowed (xGA), but I expect those numbers to get worse.

Juuse Saros has played every game since February 18th and will eventually need a rest. His backup, Kevin Lankinen, is on the trade block, so I think Saros still gets the nod against Florida. The former Vezina candidate is having a stellar year, playing to +27.6 goals saved above expected (GSAx) and a .916 SV%. Not bad for a goalie on a rebuilding team.

Florida Panthers

Matthew Tkachuk’s first year in Florida has been elite. The young power forward has posted 79 points in 59 games. Carter Verhaeghe is having a career year with 31 goals and Aleksander Barkov (game-time decision) is averaging over a point per game. Defenseman Brandon Montour is also having a career year.

February has been kind to the Panthers as they rank eighth in expected goals with 53.09 xGF. Their power play is also efficient, scoring 21.4% of the time.

I don’t think Florida would be as inconsistent if its defense held up. It allows 3.44 goals per game and is ranked 20th in xGA.

Sergei Bobrovsky’s stay in South Florida has been a rocky one. However, in February, Bobrovsky has been on fire, posting a .939 SV% and +9.8 GSAx.

Predators vs. Panthers Pick

I’m very low on the Predators moving forward. Having Saros as a safety pin is always great, but a great goaltender doesn’t solve all the problems. Nashville is dumping the whole team and bringing in the kids to show what they have.

Florida is nothing special, but it’s a much better option than the Predators. The Panthers are at near full strength with a lot more to play for. The Predators have nothing to work with anymore and Bobrovsky is getting to his peak of the season.

I don’t think this game will be close. Get it while the value is hot.

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