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Golden Knights vs. Panthers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pace of Play Puts Value on Over/Under (Jan. 27)

Golden Knights vs. Panthers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Pace of Play Puts Value on Over/Under (Jan. 27) article feature image

Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Aleksander Barkov.

  • Two of the NHL's best attacks face off on Thursday, when the Golden Knights face the Panthers.
  • Both teams play a very up-tempo style that has given the total value of late.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and makes his pick for bettors below.

Golden Knights vs. Panthers Odds

Golden Knights Odds +125
Panthers Odds -155
Over/Under 6.5 (-130 / +105)
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two teams with very legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations will meet in what should be another exciting showdown in Sunrise, Fla., where the Panthers are set to host the Golden Knights.

Both teams are facing similar concerns toward their Cup aspirations, however, as both defenses have been leaking a ton of high-quality chances over the last month.

However, that may prove a formidable task with a ton of offensive firepower on both sides of this matchup. So, what can we expect from this one?

Vegas Needs Defense To Step Up

In January, the Knights have allowed a third-worst expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60) in the NHL at 3.57. They’re also giving up three goals per game this month en route to a disappointing 3-3-4 record.

The bodies out of the lineup surely haven’t helped, as Alec Martinez, who may be the club’s top defensive defensemen, and Mark Stone, who’s in the Selke Trophy conversation every year now, have missed time among others. It’s still a stretch to think that kind of mark is going to allow the club to have success this postseason.

Vegas has continued to generate at a high rate of 3.39 expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and is altogether just playing a notably up-tempo style right now. That should make for a great showdown here, as the Knights will play in the league’s most fast-paced environment: Sunrise.

Vegas’ defense has struggles outside of the Pacific Division this season, as well. Against top Eastern offenses Carolina, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Toronto, the Knights have gone 0-4-2 while allowing 4.16 goals per game this season. That’s without facing the top-ranked Panthers attack yet.

Max Pacioretty traveled with the team on this five-game trip and could return here, which would be a massive boost. He has proven to be a huge driver toward this team’s offensive production yet again this season.

Robin Lehner will look to build on a spectacular shutout performance against Washington here, and has been strong with a +6.7 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx) and .907 save percentage this season.

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Panthers Playing Very Fast Tempo

Tuesday’s 5-3 victory in Winnipeg offered yet another comment toward the ridiculous offensive depth of this Panthers team.

The Jets did something few teams have accomplished of late by holding Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau without a single point in the contest. However, the ridiculously talented third line of Anton Lundell, Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment picked up the slack, combining for seven points as the Panthers scored five or more goals for the 10th time in 13 games.

As you may expect, Florida has generated the second-highest xGF/60 rate in the league this month at 3.87, but the play going the other way continues to be a little concerning, even if the Panthers are clearly getting the results.

Unsurprisingly, the Panthers are among the teams in the mix for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. It does seem that the acquisition of more capable depth defensemen behind Aaron Ekblad and Mackenzie Weegar, both of whom have struggled this month, would offer a notable boost to Florida’s Cup hopes.

Sergei Bobrovsky will likely draw the start in goal here. He has been a pleasant surprise to Panthers fans with his bounce-back season, which has seen him post a +22.0 GSAx and .922 save percentage throughout 30 games this season.

Golden Knights vs. Panthers Pick

In a well that I continue to attempt to run dry, I will be attacking the total here in a Panthers game. Tacking on 0.5 to the total simply isn’t enough to cover the ridiculously up-tempo style of this team and insanely high totals it continues to produce.

Games in Florida have hit the over in 18 of 24 contests, with an average 8.5 combined goals over their last 12 there.

The Panthers will meet another notably up-tempo squad here in the Golden Knights, who themselves have seen the over hit in four of their last five games.

Florida has quietly continued to play poorly on defense of late, and it’s easy to see Vegas scoring three or more goals here.

However, Florida certainly has the ability to cover up that weakness with its ability to fill the cage. It’s hard to see a Vegas team allowing a ton of chances against this month to do well in managing that attack.

At -115 for the over at 6.5, we have more than enough value to make the square play here and look for the wildly high-scoring contests in Sunrise to continue here, and I’m surprised we aren’t seeing this opening at 7. I think it’ll likely get there by the time the puck drops, so move quickly.

Pick: Over 6.5 -115, (Play 6.5 to -145)

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