NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Panthers (Jan. 1)
Joel Auerbach/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Ekblad (center) celebrates a goal with Anthony Duclair (left) and MacKenzie Weegar.
- The Panthers are a massive favorite over the Canadiens on Saturday, moving from -450 to -550 at DraftKings over the last day.
- Florida is actually the third-biggest favorite we've ever tracked in the Bet Labs database, which goes back to 2005.
- See how Nicholas Martin is betting Panthers vs. Habs below.
Canadiens vs. Panthers Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Panthers will look to build on the league’s best home record (16-3-0) as they play host to a heavily depleted Montreal Canadiens squad that holsd the league’s worst road record at 2-13-3.
Florida has seen the league’s highest combined game totals on home-ice as well. Is there some value in backing the obvious trend to continue here against a borderline AHL team?
Panthers’ Offense Dominant at Home
It may have come against a shorthanded Lightning team skating third- and fourth-string goaltending, but a 9-3 home thumping over their in-state rival surely felt good for the Panthers. Here’s hoping we see a rematch of last year’s excellent opening round series again this spring.
The game continued the Panthers’ absurdly high-scoring home ice trends. They own the league’s highest expected game totals marks, highest shots on goal mark, and highest goal per game average at 4.36 goals per game at home.
Florida is skating at considerably closer to full health than we have seen much of the last six weeks, with Sam Bennett possibly the only meaningful absence up front.
The Panthers’ dominant offensive results come as no surprise when you analyze the talent they hold up front, with a fleet of strong supporting pieces headlined two of the league’s truly elite in Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.
Sam Reinhart has thrived in a lesser role — skating outside the top six at times as well as just second power play duties — posting 24 points in 31 contests this season.
Rookie Anton Lundell has come as advertised, posting some excellent two-way play mainly leading one of the league’s best third forward units.
Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe and Bennett have all built upon great offensive seasons last year, and altogether it’s clear they will deservedly finish top two in production this season.
Florida will likely go with Sergei Bobrovsky in goal, and while he has regressed somewhat after an unbelievable start to the season, he still holds a +11.2 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) with a .917 save % throughout 20 games.
Canadiens Playing for Pride, Experience
Things continue to go from bad to worse for the Canadiens, and at this point getting some young talents some playing minutes in the NHL is main upside this season.
It would be easier to list which regulars from the Cup run are still playing than not at this point, and the situation goes from bad to worse with Brendan Gallagher joining the IR.
This David vs Goliath spot on New Year’s Day could offer a good chance for Montreal’s youthful enthusiasm to show through with a number of guys desperate to make their mark in the NHL. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them come out with more pace then expected and not just lie down.
That said, the team simply holds so little talent right now it’s hard to imagine the Canadiens able to hold Florida to a lower output here. Sam Montembault will likely be in for another tough night, and has been below league average so far, posting a -6.6 GSAx rating.
Canadiens vs. Panthers Pick
Outside of the possible angle that players could be a little out of it here after New Year’s Eve, I really do not see how DraftKings has opened this one at 6 and not 6.5, and again see some value in locking in that key number.
Florida has seen the over hit in 13 of 19 games on home ice this season, while posting a 16-3-0 record. The team has played absurdly high-event hockey on home ice.
The Panthers have allowed a high average of 13.6 high danger chances against per game over their last five home contests, but have still produced sound results with their deadly ability in front of goal.
Florida has arguably the league’s deepest offensive unit, and a defensive core who’s upside certainly revolves around helping to fill the cage.
Most books will allow you to play the over parlayed with the moneyline, just not puck-line (if yours happens to allow such that’s absolute best case here).
I like a play on the over 6 (even 6.5, which is what we likely see closer to puck drop) with Florida to win, which should come in around +126 (price available on DK at time of writing), although I do think most sites will certainly set the total at 6.5 as opposed to 6 and that early line is a bit of a gift.
To think we can at least hit that number of 6 to draw a push is very reasonable, and I think altogether it’s simply more likely Florida takes this one with a total above 6 than a line of +126 suggests.
Pick: Over 6 (Play to -150)+ Florida Panthers ML Parlay