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Thursday NHL Odds & Prediction: Devils vs. Hurricanes Betting Preview (April 28)

Thursday NHL Odds & Prediction: Devils vs. Hurricanes Betting Preview (April 28) article feature image
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Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Hammond.

Devils vs. Hurricanes Odds

Devils Odds +200
Hurricanes Odds -250
Over/Under 6.5 (-105 / -115)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Carolina will host New Jersey for Game 82 as it closes out what has been an excellent regular-season campaign. The Hurricanes claimed another division title by winning on Tuesday in New York, and Rod Brind’Amour’s club will now mainly be looking to come out of this game with the roster intact.

We saw an excellent betting opportunity Monday when oddsmakers opened the lines for New York vs. Montreal as if the Rangers were not likely to rest a ton of key bodies. Could we be seeing something similar here?

New Jersey’s Young Attackers Provide Optimism

The Devils speedy young core can certainly give team’s problems when playing well, but we have also seen lots of losses due to sloppy breakdowns and poor goaltending. After a shocking win in Vegas, those woes have been on display with four consecutive losses.

The Devils did put together an impressive comeback Tuesday in Ottawa, which saw 2019 first-rounder Nolan Foote score his first two goals of the season. New Jersey also gave Carolina a stiff test last Saturday at home, ultimately falling in overtime after a late collapse.

The Devils have played to a 48.07 expected goals for rate (xGF%) in April and continued to post lowly results. However, this team should get a better-than-average spot to hang around here, especially if Carolina rests some of its more noteworthy names.

Mackenzie Blackwood will start the home finale on Friday, so it seems likely we’ll see Andrew Hammond get the start on Thursday.

Hammond has played to a -3.9 Goals Saved Above Expected rating (GSAx) with an .887 save percentage in 10 appearances this season. That’s shockingly about as well as any Devils goaltender has played this season.


Which Hurricane Stars Will Suit Up?

Even if Brind’Amour sits some important players, whichever Hurricanes are left could handle New Jersey most nights. Thursday morning’s -300 number, though, indicates that Carolina wins this game 75% of the time. I’m not sure it should be that high.

At full strength, Carolina has proven itself to be a worthy cup favorite. Goaltender Frederik Andersen’s injury could impact the Hurricanes’ first-round series against the Bruins, though.

Andersen will remain sidelined for this game, so the decision in goal will be between Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov. Raanta suffered a minor injury against the Islanders on Sunday but was able to be the backup on Tuesday. He has played to a +4.2 GSAx with a .913 save percentage in 27 appearances.

Kochetkov has managed a -1.0 GSAx and .902 save percentage in just three NHL appearances this season, but he has a strong .921 save percentage in 15 AHL games.

Devils vs. Hurricanes Pick

Situations like this can fly under the radar sometimes, and lines will still go up prior to official word or without consideration that the roster is likely to be so altered.

My expectation is that Carolina will ultimately end up resting a ton of bodies tonight, which means this line is far too long, even against a Devils team that isn’t at full strength. I’m happy to try to make a move that worked out well earlier this week for me.

Considering Carolina’s notable depth, I don’t see this as quite as strong a play as Montreal was on Wednesday, so I’m not going to go for the outright. I still think we have some clear value on the puck line at a plus number.

I recommend getting this in as early as possible since the line can really only shift in one direction if Carolina rests its starters. Obviously, contrarily my belief is waiting right up until puck drop makes sense if you want to back the Canes. If they don’t rest anyone, -340 or -345 should be the number.

It’s a delicate balance because this play obviously gets worse if not locked in prior to official announcement of the pieces sitting for Carolina. Either way, living with the line if Brind’Amour decides to roll everyone would still be fair.

Pick: New Jersey Devils +1.5 +105 (Play to -105)

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