NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Flyers (February 6)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Islanders vs. Flyers (February 6) article feature image

Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Bo Horvat of the New York Islanders

  • Bo Horvat and his new team, the Islanders, head to Philadelphia for a Monday-night game with the Flyers.
  • New York has enjoyed stellar goalkeeping this season, but can Horvat spark a sputtering offense?
  • Below, Ryan Dadoun breaks down the matchup and offers his favorite Horvat-related betting angle for the game.

Islanders vs. Flyers Odds

Islanders Odds-137
Flyers Odds+112
Over/Under5.5 (-122 / +100)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

In terms of their 2022-23 records, not much separates the Flyers (21-21-9) and Islanders (25-22-5), but these are two franchises with different mindsets.

Philadelphia is likely to be a seller at the trade deadline, but the Islanders made a big splash on Jan. 30 by acquiring Bo Horvat from Vancouver, and then they inked him Sunday to an eight-year, $68 million contract extension.

Tonight is Game 1 of the Horvat era for New York. So how will it start?

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Improved New York Islanders

Going into the All-Star break, the Islanders knew they had an elite goaltender in Ilya Sorokin. He posted a 28-18-8 record, 2.40 GAA and .925 save percentage in 2021-22, and he has been similarly impressive this season with a 16-16-4 record, 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 38 contests.

The problem is the team in front of Sorokin hasn't been impressive.

The Islanders have an expected goals against of 169.88, per Moneypuck, which ranks 22nd in the league. That suggests without Sorokin and backup goaltender Semyon Varlamov's strong play, the Islanders would probably surrender an above-average number of goals.

On top of that, the Islanders' forwards haven't been up to par. New York has the 25th-ranked offense with 2.85 goals per game. Through 52 games, no one on the team had even reached the 20-goal milestone.

Enter Horvat, who scored 31 goals and 54 points in 49 contests with Vancouver before the trade. Suddenly, Mathew Barzal, who has 12 goals and 43 points in 51 contests this season, has a great player to feed the puck to on the top line.

Then you can have Brock Nelson center Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri on a decent-looking second line.

Horvat doesn't singlehandedly transform the Islanders from a weak team offensively to a strong one, but he helps.

Philadelphia Flyers: Little Less Bad Than Advertised

Speaking of teams that could have used Horvat, the Flyers have lacked scoring threats in 2022-23. They have the 27th-ranked offense with 2.78 goals per game. Travis Konecny has contributed 24 goals for the Flyers, but their next-best player is a fair drop in Kevin Hayes with 15 markers.

To be fair, two of their top forwards – Sean Couturier (back) and Cam Atkinson (neck) – haven't played at all this season. That combined with the long-term absence of Ryan Ellis (back) is a big part of the reason why nothing was expected of Philadelphia this season.

Credit where credit's due, though: The Flyers have managed to hang in there. They aren't close to a playoff spot, but they find ways to win a decent portion of the time.

One key X-factor has been goaltender Carter Hart, who is going through a hot-and-cold campaign. Lately, he's been strong, posting a 3-2-2 record, 2.47 GAA and .926 save percentage over his last seven games. He's also coming off a 40-save shutout against Winnipeg on Jan. 28. Not an ideal matchup for Horvat as he looks to make a good first impression.

Still, it's not like Hart is invincible or the Flyers are an elite team. The fact that Hart was hot entering the break is a complication for the Islanders, but given the Flyers' weak offense, and the 24-year-old goaltender's overall up-and-down season, is that really enough of a roadblock to stop New York?

Islanders vs. Flyers Pick

The Islanders' acquisition of Horvat hasn't transformed them into the heavy favorites in the eyes of the oddsmakers, though they certainly have the edge.

For FanDuel's moneyline tonight, taking the Islanders comes with favorite odds of -134 while the Flyers are the underdogs at +112. On the puck line, the spread is 1.5 goals in favor of the Islanders, and if you're bold enough to select New York under those circumstances, then you would receive +194 odds versus -245 if you took Philadelphia.

With the extra spark of motivation from having acquired Horvat, this is a game the Islanders should win. Can they beat the spread, though? I'm not confident in that. These are still two low-scoring teams – even with Horvat in the mix – and there's still the chance Hart steals the show like he did versus the Jets.

Instead, there's a different bet I really like: If you bet Horvat will record over 2.5 shots, then you'll get -102 odds. To me, this seems like a really strong bet for the potential payout. Horvat has averaged 2.9 shots per game this season and has gotten at least three shots in 27 of 49 contests, so even if this were just another game, taking the over here would be a reasonable bet.

But this isn't an ordinary game. Horvat is playing for a new team on a massive new contract. Even under the scenario in which Horvat doesn't have his dream debut with the Islanders, you'd still expect him to take plenty of shots in an attempt to make a good first impression. So this is a bet I really like.

Pick: Bo Horvat over 2.5 shots (-102) | Play to -115

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