NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Flyers vs. Sharks (Dec. 30)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Flyers vs. Sharks (Dec. 30) article feature image

Amanda Cain/NHLI. Pictured: Alexander Barabanov (left) and Logan Couture.

  • The Sharks are home favorites against the Flyers on Thursday night.
  • Can the Flyers survive the second leg of a back-to-back and pull the upset?
  • Grant White breaks down the game and his best bet below.

Flyers vs. Sharks Odds

Flyers Odds+135
Sharks Odds-155
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There's no slowing down now that the NHL is underway, as the Philadelphia Flyers will be playing their second game in as many nights against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

Philadelphia is coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Seattle Kraken. Still, the Flyers' success is contraindicated in their advanced metrics, setting the Sharks up for another strong showing on home ice.

Can the Flyers Keep This Up?

From an analytics perspective, the Flyers have been one of the worst teams in the league this season. This season, Philly has posted the 31st-ranked expected goals for percentage (xGF%) due to its questionable defensive-zone coverage. Opponents are averaging the third-most scoring opportunities and second-most quality chances per game at 5-on-5.

The Flyers offense is doing them no favors either, as they have even worse metrics in the attacking zone. Philadelphia is attempting the second-fewest high-danger scoring chances per game, with the worst relative ratings in the NHL.

Despite those metrics working against them, the Flyers offense has been flourishing recently, scoring 14 goals at 5-on-5 over their past five games and 20 overall. Those increases have come without any substantive increases to their production metrics, suggesting that they may be regression candidates over their coming games.

The offensive and defensive struggles continue to be evident over Philadelphia's recent outings. They Flyers have outplayed their opponents at 5-on-5 just three times over their past 16 games. Those poor efforts have been even more evident recently, with the Flyers posting an xGF% below 31.9% in two of three, with a cumulative 37.3% rating over that span.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have been competitive in the Pacific Division this season, and their analytics suggest we should continue to see good things from them moving forward. San Jose's metrics have been even better at home, but its actual outcomes haven't caught up to expected values, making this team a progression candidates.

San Jose has posted above-average xGF% at 5-on-5 in four of its past seven contests, with two of those game scores coming in above 61.4%. However, the Sharks have not translated that to on-ice success, winning just three of those games. That's analogous to their outcomes this season, as they remain below their xGF%. That difference is amplified on home ice, where the Sharks have an expected value of 51.3% but an actual percentage of 43.5%.

San Jose has underachieved relative to advanced analytics and has the sixth-worst PDO on home ice this season. The Sharks' recent efforts indicate that they continue to use last change to their advantage, and they should be able to take advantage of a Flyers team skating on the second night of a back-to-back.

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Flyers vs. Sharks Pick

The Sharks are in a good spot on Thursday night, having played two nights ago and getting to rest at home. They can take a bite out of the Flyers on Thursday night, who remain one of the worst analytics teams in the league, which will be compounded by having to travel for the second night of a back-to-back.

The betting line is low on the Sharks; anything below -170 is worth playing.

Pick: Sharks -155 (play to -170)

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