NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick: Devils vs. Flyers (October 13)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier
- New Jersey and Philadelphia open their 2022-23 seasons with a clash at Wells Fargo Center.
- Goaltending is still a concern for the Flyers while the Devils are dealing with some injuries as they open the season.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game below and offers his best bet.
Devils vs. Flyers Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||ESPN+ / Hulu|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
New Jersey and Philadelphia finished just two points apart last season, in 28th and 29th place respectively in the league-wide standings.
Those dreadful finishes spurred some activity from each side this offseason.
The Flyers most notably acquired old-school head coach John Tortorella, who will surely be keen to clean up the disastrous defensive play we saw last season.
New Jersey brought in goaltender Vitek Vanecek from Washington. The team will hope Vanecek, in combination with a healthy Mackenzie Blackwood, will allow for significantly better results in goal than we saw a season ago.
New Jersey is priced as a short favorite at the time of writing, but is that slight to a Devils team that could be sneaky-good this season?
Goaltending Could Decide New Jersey Devils' Season
Last season the Devils received some of the worst goaltending in the league, with a revolving door of six different netminders combining to produce a -54 goals saved above expected rating.
Few teams could achieve much success with that level of goaltending, and the Devils certainly did not in the 2021-22 campaign, a year in which many expected the Devils' young core to take steps forward.
The addition of Vanecek could shore that up to an extent, though it seems likely we will see Blackwood draw the start in this contest.
Blackwood managed his worst NHL season to date last year as he fought through a messy injury situation, but the 25-year-old has had two excellent NHL seasons with a save percentage beyond .915, and it seems reasonable for the Devils to believe a bounce-back campaign is possible.
Outside of that, the rest of the Devils roster is very solid.
Jack Hughes and Captain Nico Hischier offer a very strong 1-2 punch down the middle, and they're insulated well by some strong young wingers in the likes of Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer, Yegor Sharangovich and rookie Alex Holtz.
Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald, therefore, decided that pulling the trigger on a high-priced veteran in Ondrej Palat was a reasonable move this summer, and his roster looks to take the next step forward into the postseason.
New Jersey's top two defensive units are quietly strong as well. Dougie Hamiton, fresh off a bounce-back season, and Jonas Siegenthaler should make up a quality top pair, and Adam Graves and Damon Severson should make up a great second unit.
We have been hearing this for a few years, but the ceiling is high for the Devils entering the 2022-23 season, and if the goaltending holds up, it is certainly possible to break through with a postseason berth.
Injuries a Concern for Philadelphia Flyers
Coach John Tortorella will surely have his Flyers side ready to go for this opening night battle after what was by all accounts a very intense training camp. He will certainly have his group fully believing that a surprise playoff berth is in play.
In the early going of this season that could very well be a factor to look out for, but the reality of the situation is that it is very hard to see how the Flyers can actually compete in a crowded Eastern Conference.
The Flyers were dealt a significant blow with Sean Couturier reaggravating a back injury from last season in training camp. He is the Flyers' clear No. 1 center and an elite two-way player.
Defender Ryan Ellis will also miss the vast majority of the season, which is a meaningful injury on a thin defensive core.
If the newly acquired Tony DeAngelo can hold the same form we saw in Carolina – which is a big if – and if Ivan Provorov bounces back under Tortorella, the top defensive tandem could actually be fairly strong.
Yet even still, Rasmus Ristolainen will likely skate big minutes again, which means the second pairing should be somewhat of a disaster, one that will be hard to hide against talented Eastern Conference offenses.
Up front, the Flyers are fairly thin, as well, and will offer an even worse roster opening night, with winger Cam Atkinson officially announced as unavailable.
Goaltender Carter Hart is, in my opinion, the greatest cause for optimism among this lowly roster. He fought through some awful play in front of goal last year to a .905 save % and -6.6 GSAx, and he was especially strong in the early going of the season when his side was competitive.
Devils vs. Flyers Pick
The level of intensity with which we know Philadelphia will compete in this home opener is somewhat scary betting-wise and prevents me from feeling like this is just a complete smash-spot. But the gap in talent between these teams is simply too vast for me to care.
As of Wednesday afternoon, New Jersey can be had at -115 (Caesars) to win this contest, and to me, that number is essentially the definition of an early season line.
There is a world where New Jersey finishes 20 points above the Flyers. In fact, that is what I am expecting, so I believe this is a spot where we have to try to get our plays on the Devils in early, as I really do not see who is backing Philly at close to pick-em.
The Devils hold far more high-end offensive talent, as well as a deeper defensive core. And the Flyers' only area of strength compared to New Jersey is its goaltender in Hart.
While goaltending is a massive factor, the gulf everywhere else on the ice between these two sides is significant, and I like the number we are being offered at opening with the Devils.
Should you be interested in backing the Flyers in this spot, I would highly recommend waiting; I feel fairly confident the Devils will close at around -135 on most sportsbooks.
Pick: New Jersey Moneyline -115, Play to -130