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NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Devils vs. Panthers Betting Preview (March 18)

NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Devils vs. Panthers Betting Preview (March 18) article feature image

Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Hughes.

  • The Florida Panthers host the New Jersey Devils in an Eastern Conference tilt on Saturday night.
  • The Devils have dropped two straight, but they should have the edge over the Panthers.
  • Continue reading for Tony Sartori’s Devils vs. Panthers betting preview and pick.

Devils vs. Panthers Odds

Devils Odds-102
Panthers Odds-118
Over/Under6.5 o-140 / u+114)
Time6 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There is an Eastern Conference tilt set to take place on Saturday evening with the the Atlantic Division's Florida Panthers hosting the Metropolitan Division's New Jersey Devils.

In a game with big playoff implications, New Jersey looks to overtake Carolina for the first seed in the Metro while Florida attempts to inch closer to the last Wild Card spot.

Here's a look at the odds, as well as my Devils vs. Panthers preview and betting pick.

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New Jersey Devils

The Devils enter this contest looking to bounce back from a 4-3 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. From beginning to end, New Jersey controlled that game, but got Vasilevskiy'd as the Bolts' netminder made big save after big save.

Fortunately for the Devils, the Panthers do not have one of the world's best netminders attempting to shut them down, which means they are in a prime position to continue their dominant play and find themselves back in the win column. One of the best two-way teams in the league, New Jersey ranks fourth in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and seventh in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) at 5-on-5.

Backing up this elite two-way play is goaltender Vitek Vanecek, who is projected to get the nod between the pipes on Saturday. Through 43 appearances in the crease this season, Vanecek boasts a .908 save percentage (SV%) and 2.52 goals against average (GAA).

Florida Panthers

As mentioned above, the good news for the Devils is that they will not have to go against Andrei Vasilevskiy for the first time since last Sunday. Instead, they are projected to go against Sergei Bobrovsky in this matchup, a guy who just surrendered five goals on 30 shots against the lowly Montreal Canadiens.

It has been a tough slide for Bobrovsky lately. Over his last three starts, he possesses a troubling .840 SV% and 4.17 GAA.

Even more concerning is the fact that two of those three outings came against Montreal and Chicago. Making Bobrovsky's job more difficult is the leaky blue line in front of him. At 5-on-5, the Panthers rank in the bottom half of the league in xGA/60.

Devils vs. Panthers Pick

Bobrovsky's slide could continue against New Jersey, a club that he has struggled against over the past couple of seasons.

Over his last four outings against the Devils, Bobrovsky possesses a .864 SV% and 4.12 GAA. While Florida's offense equals that of New Jersey's, there is a big gap in the two-way play between these Eastern Conference foes.

The goaltending battle is also likely a wash between Vanecek and Bobrovsky. As a whole, New Jersey is the more balanced and better team, making them my favorite play in this contest as a short underdog.

Pick: Devils ML (-103; play to -125)

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