NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Flames vs. Wild (March 1)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Flames vs. Wild (March 1) article feature image

Derek Leung/Getty Images. Pictured: Milan Lucic #17 of the Calgary Flames takes a shot on Kaapo Kahkonen #34 of the Minnesota Wild

  • The Minnesota Wild host the Flames after a 7-3 beatdown by Calgary on Saturday.
  • Can the Wild bounce back here or will the Flames continue on a hot streak?
  • Our analyst breaks down the matchup, plus his prediction and pick, below.

Flames vs. Wild Odds

Flames Odds-105
Wild Odds-115
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Minnesota will look to return the favor to the Flames here after being dominated in a 7-3 loss in Calgary Saturday night — the fifth loss for the Wild in  their last six contests.

Can the Wild get things moving in the right direction here against a Flames team that has won 13 of their last 15 games?

Minnesota Wild Must Bounce Back

Things have gotten pretty bad for a very talented Minnesota roster. This team legitimately in the midst of its worst downswing we have seen during Dean Evason's entire tenure as head coach.

Minnesota has lost five of its last six contests, while playing to just a 42.84 expected goals rate. The team seems notably irked by the lack of form given the comments coming out of a very competitive practice Monday.

Simply "trying harder" doesn't solve a lack of talent, but this group is far from untalented. Hopefully this new wave of motivation means the Wild should be far better moving forward, especially with Matthew Boldy contributing at a near point-per-game pace now.

The Wild have gone 16-4-1 in front of what is — by all accounts — a notably raucous crowd in St. Paul, and will look to keep that trend going here against the Flames.

Cam Talbot has been confirmed as the starter — he holds a -1.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .910 save percentage throughout 31 games played this season.

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Calgary Flames Creating Hot Streak

Calgary enters this one in the midst of some more tremendous play, bouncing back after a 7-1 pummelling at the hands of the Canucks with a firm win over the Wild Saturday.

The Flames hold a 60.15 expected goals rate over their last 10 contests, which is in line with the strong play we've seen plenty of across what has been an exciting season for the Flames. Add in Tyler Toffoli fitting in seamlessly as expected and Calgary certainly has the look of true cup contender.

One interesting point to keep in mind for the Flames is how well this team has fared when it comes to injuries — the top pieces of this roster have all played almost every game.

The top four forwards in Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane, as well as the top two pairings on defense, have missed two man games combined this season.

Calgary's core has always been relatively durable, which is an underrated asset, but luck also plays a role. This means that the Flames have likely played closer to their full potential this season, whereas most other clubs have had to fight through roster volatility.

With the Flames so far ahead of the pack of the wild-card clubs in the West, I feel that managing Jacob Markstrom's starts seems like a logical idea. This is especially true considering that falling into the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup in the Pacific could offer just as easy of a matchup as winning the division. Therefore, we may see Dan Vladar go here.

Flames vs. Wild Pick

When betting the NHL, you have to go beyond the numbers and results at times. Sometimes that means making picks based off perceived notions about where a team should be instead of where it is.

The Flames have been a team I have ridden hard and followed closely this year. Since Dec. 30, article picks involving Calgary contests have gone 11-4 and +6.68 units (some two-play games), with most involving Flames puck-lines or three-way selections.

But for this contest, I feel leaning toward Minnesota makes more sense than I imagine most would view it. This play has more to do with my perception of this spot for the Wild and how strong their play can be, as well as the idea that these teams are still far closer together with regards to peak potential than recent results indicate. This is especially the case with the Wild offering up one of the league's most notable home-and-road splits.

Saturday's game became a comedy of errors for Minnesota, but I believe we are going to see the Wild manage one of their sharpest efforts here — and I am going to stray away from Calgary's recent dominant form.

I am going to back Minnesota at -115 if we don't see a  better number closer to puck-drop, but — based off of how I perceive this game will be bet by most everyone — I am comfortable waiting to see if better lines on the Wild are available closer to the game.

Barring a start from Dan Vladar from the Flames, I am confident we will not see worse than -115. Should Vladar start, we can live with possibly taking a lower price anyways.

Pick: Wild -115 or Better

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