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NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blackhawks vs. Panthers (March 31)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blackhawks vs. Panthers (March 31) article feature image
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Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

  • The Florida Panthers look to continue their dominate play Thursday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • The Panthers are big -350 favorites, so analyst Nicholas Martin has turned toward a Single Game Parlay with plenty of value.
  • Check out below how he's found a way to back Florida to triumph via this betting pick.

Blackhawks vs. Panthers Odds

Blackhawks Odds +275
Panthers Odds -350
Over/Under 7
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

After one of the worst collapses in recent history in Monday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Chicago Blackhawks have now allowed 11 goals over their last two games.

That said, it’s probably not the time you want to head in to Sunrise, Fla., to face the lethal Florida Panthers, who hold the league’s highest offensive output on home ice.

So, will Florida hang another crooked number on Chicago in Thursday’s clash? Let’s break down this meeting below and see where we can find betting value.

Florida Panthers

Florida found its way past the Montreal Canadiens yet again Tuesday, but the 7-4 win still offered some concerns for Panthers’ faithful.

We know this group’s offensive skills are ridiculous, but the defensive play and goaltending are far from as dominant as the other true contending teams. The Panthers have allowed 3.33 goals against per game over their last six contests, with a 3.22 expected goals against per 60 minutes during that time.

The more discouraging part of that number is the teams faced in that span. Only Atlantic Divison power Toronto will be heading to the postseason from that group in the six-game sample and the Canadian side took a 5-2 victory.

The combination of Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight have looked quite average in goal, and the loss of Aaron Ekblad from the looks meaningful.

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Ekblad should return for the postseason, but Bobrovsky offering less than dominant play has to be concerning as his form has been far better, which makes me feel that it’s easy to see his play regressing from where it’s been this season.

The good news is the Panthers’ strong offensive play still has it winning at a strong clip, with this game setting up as a great contest for that to continue. Chicago has allowed the ninth-most goals in the NHL this season.

Similar to its season-long results, Florida has generated a whopping 4.45 expected goals/60 minutes over its last six contests, actually scoring less than expected with a 3.83 goals for average.

I imagine we will see Bobrovsky get the start, as you would think Florida will be keen to let the clear Game 1 starter find his form quickly heading into the final stretch of games before a critical postseason. He has a .914 save %, with a +20.4 goals saved above expected rating throughout 43 games played.

Chicago Blackhawks

People love to talk up the narrative that eliminated NHL teams can be deadly down the stretch. However, I think what’s lost is the worst teams still win a third of the time or better, and we regularly see clubs like Arizona put together small hot streaks in the middle of the season.

With Marc-Andre Fleury and Brandon Hagel shipped out at the deadline, Chicago is very much just skating out the season looking to keep its heads high and offer some minutes to young talents.

Yet, the remaining talent is very thin and the results have been far from strong. Chicago has played to a 3-4-2 mark over the last nine games, with a very poor 44.49 xG rate during that span.

Kevin Lankinen hasn’t effectively followed a solid rookie campaign by any means but should get the start in goal. Lankinen has a -21.1 goals saved above expected rating, with a very poor .886 save % in 20 games played.

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Blackhawks vs. Panthers Pick

Florida’s offensive play remains unparalleled, and it’s easy to see why it could post another five-goal night here. In 12 home games this year, the Panthers’ goal-per-game average is 5.08 and they will face subpar defensive foes.

With the way the Blackhawks have been playing of late, this appears as good a time as any to go back to the well on some wagers that have been profitable for contests in Florida this season.

Surely, Chicago will be desperate to lock it down after an embarrassing collapse against Buffalo, but I just don’t feel the players on hand can keep this Florida in check regardless of the game plan and work rate.

However the Panthers’ defensive play has certainly been far from strong and it’s easy to imagine the Blackhawks finding a way to put in two or three goals.

So, altogether something like a 5-3 Panthers victory seems more likely than these current lines offered suggest. I will be backing Florida and the total clearing seven goals in a Single Game Parlay at current +157 odds.

If you have the option to play Panthers giving -1.5 goals on the spread line paired with the total over 6.5 goals, I see a lot of value there as well.

Pick: Single Game Parlay — Florida ML & Total Over 7 Goals (+180)

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