NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Panthers (Feb. 24)
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 08: Florida Panthers Left Wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) is pictured prior to the National Hockey League game between the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers on November 8, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
- The Panthers host the Blue Jackets as heavy favorites on Thursday night.
- Florida won both of the previous matchups comfortably, but Columbus is hot, having won eight of its last 10 games.
- NHL betting analyst Tony Sartori breaks down this matchup and shares his best bet below.
Blue Jackets vs. Panthers Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+285|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||ESPN+ / Hulu|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Metropolitan Division’s fifth-place Columbus Blue Jackets travel to Florida to take on the Atlantic Division’s first-place Panthers. Tonight will be the third meeting this season between these two teams, as Florida won both of the first two matchups 9-2 and 8-4.
Will we get another high-scoring game between these two teams tonight, or will both defenses finally show up?
Blue Jackets’ Offense on Fire
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter this contest following Tuesday night’s upset victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Columbus has been buzzing recently, winning three straight and eight of their last 10 games.
Over this 10-game stretch, the Blue Jackets’ offense has been tremendous as they are averaging 4.6 goals per game. There have been seven or more total goals in nine of those 10 games.
A hot offense is not the only reason for this stretch of high-scoring games as the Blue Jackets’ defense and goaltending have struggled mightily. Over their last 10 games, opposing teams are averaging 3.8 goals per game against Columbus.
Columbus’ defense has been a problem all season as they rank dead-last in the league in 5-on-5 Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA) and 22nd in Average Expected Goal Value of opposing 5-on-5 shot attempts.
Panthers Looking to Bounce Back
The Florida Panthers will look to bounce back tonight following a rare home loss in their 6-4 defeat to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Florida has been outstanding at home this year, posting a 23-4-0 record.
Like Columbus, the Panthers’ offense has been one of the hottest in the league recently. Over their past 10 games, the Panthers are averaging 4.5 goals per game.
Florida’s offense has been the league’s best this season as they rank first in 5-on-5 Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and second in Average Expected Goal Value of 5-on-5 shot attempts. The Panthers live up to their metrics as they rank first in the league in goals scored per game this season with an average of 4.12.
Also like Columbus, the Panthers’ defense and goaltending have not been nearly as strong. Over that same stretch of games, Florida is giving up an average of 3.4 goals per game to opposing teams.
This combination has also led to a string of high-scoring games as there have been seven or more total goals scored in eight of their last 10 games.
Blue Jackets vs. Panthers Pick
Normally this is a pick I would not like to make as the over is juiced too much, and the entire betting public is going to be on the over. However, we will get a small amount of value laying the juice before this line inevitably moves to seven.
Despite my concern that everyone will be on this same play, there are just way too many indicators that this game clears the 6.5 total. Both offenses are on fire, the metrics suggest the Panthers could score at least seven goals just by themselves tonight (as they have against Columbus in both matchups this season), and these teams love to play at a super-fast pace.
I would not suggest playing this over after the line inevitably moves to seven, so you will need to get this pick in early or risk laying more juice at 6.5.
Pick: Blue Jackets/Panthers o6.5 (-135) | Play up to (-140)