NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flyers vs. Panthers (October 19)
Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Tkachuk.
- The Flyers are off to a hot start this season, but their underlying numbers might give you pause.
- The Panthers, meanwhile, are finding their way after an offseason of turnover.
- All the talent on the Florida rosters makes a Panthers puck line bet worth your while.
Flyers vs. Panthers Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
When many thought the Flyers would falter, they thrived. Philadelphia is off to a great start, going 3-0. They’re coming off a convincing win against the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
A season away from winning the Presidents’ Trophy, and the Florida Panthers are certainly looking different. Even after the moves they made, they stand with the same record as their opponents tonight.
Will Philly continue to surprise people? Or will the Panthers put an end to the Flyers ‘Cinderella’ start?
Flyers’ Hot Start Still Leaves Questions Early
Hiring head coach John Tortorella is always bound to get people talking. The often-outspoken coach can rub many people the wrong way (including his own players). However, Torts can bring a lot out of his players, too. Many things went the wrong way last year, including a number of key injuries but the talent is there. Management felt that the addition of Tortorella would spark this team, and the undefeated start shows just that. You can always expect a fight from guys like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Cam Atkinson, and Kevin Hayes.
The numbers aren’t exactly kind to the Flyers, though. They haven’t generated many high danger chances, and they’re putting up an expected goals rate of 39.73 xGF%, which is good enough for 27th league wide. Their special teams haven’t been bad, on the other hand. They’ve connected on the power play 3 out of 10 tries, and the PK has mainly shut others out.
Still, why this hot start? We’ve seen this a number of times over the past few years. A few years ago, when the Islanders hired Barry Trotz, their numbers weren’t eye popping, but they kept winning because of what the numbers don’t tell you. Similarly, this Flyers team is certainly hard to play against.
The Florida gauntlet is always a tough one for teams, especially a back-to-back. Carter Hart has had a great start to this season, including the win in Tampa. It would seem that Felix Sandstrom will get his first start of the season. Sandstrom only had 5 starts last season, but impressed the Flyers enough with a .910 SV% and a +5.2 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected) to give him the full time back up spot.
Finding a Groove in Florida
The reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners underwent some significant turnover this offseason by hiring coach Paul Maurice and trading Jonathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weegar. They did however, get 42-goal scorer Matthew Tkachuk, in return who’s bound to be a serious boost to a team that many thought lacked grit.
Behind Tkachuk is captain Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, and Sam Reinhart, so there’s no shortage of talent, but the Panthers are shorthanded in losing Anthony Duclair to injury in the offseason. I do wonder about this team, though, and if there will be some growing pains without key players that made them successful last season.
Florida has been pretty middle of the road so far this season which is encouraging, since the first 10 games for any team can be volatile. They’ve generated 5on5 offense at a solid pace with a 51.34 xGF% and have created a decent amount of high danger chances. I expect these numbers only to get better.
It looks to be a 1A/1B type of situation in net. Sergei Bobrovsky started two games, including the loss to Boston on Monday, so my guess would be Spencer Knight gets the nod tonight. The former first round pick is still getting his bearings in the NHL. It seemed to surprise many when he signed his 3 year $13.5 million contract, but that shows the amount of trust Florida has in him. So far in one start, he’s posted an .889 SV% and a -1.1 GSAx. Perhaps a start against the Flyers can get him into a groove.
Flyers vs. Panthers Pick
Philly is coming in as a heavy underdog at +240, which makes sense. While I don’t think they’re as easy of an out as many would think, the Florida back-to-back could be brutal. Coming off such a big win against a formidable opponent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flyers come out exhausted. I think Sandstrom will do a decent job at keeping them in it, but it’ll be too much.
I think Florida will only continue to get better as the season progresses. This is the perfect game for Spencer Knight to start and to gain some confidence. Not only that, but a player like Matthew Tkachuk is the perfect counter to Philadelphia’s style of play.
To get the best bang for your buck, I can see the puck line being the best way. It’s hard to calculate the goal total for this matchup, and the moneyline is too volatile.
Pick: Florida Panthers -1.5 (-125)
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