NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Panthers vs. Blackhawks (Sunday, Feb. 20)
Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mason Marchment and Sergei Bobrovsky.
- The Panthers are heavy favorites on Sunday afternoon against the Blackhawks.
- Florida has one of the best rosters in the league, while Chicago is near the bottom of the standings.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Panthers vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Chicago Blackhawks will look to keep the NHL’s highest-scoring offense in check Sunday as they play host to the Florida Panthers. The Panthers’ incredibly deep offensive unit has produced 4.10 goals for per game and enters in strong form over an 8-2-0 stretch of hockey.
Marc-Andre Fleury and the Hawks managed to keep the Stars at bay on Friday. Can they replicate a similar feat here?
Panthers Have Tons of Talent
Florida’s results over its last 10 games have remained much the same as we have seen all year long, producing 4.4 goals per game with a strong 54.61 expected goals rating — and most importantly an 8-2-0 record.
The Panthers’ 2-0 record out of a lengthy break to start this road trip has been very impressive, with wins over a very strong Carolina team before a pummeling of the Wild on Friday.
Jonathan Huberdeau continues to play at an unbelievable level and enters tied for the league lead in points, making a legitimate MVP case. The counter argument to that is that in the true most-valuable-to-team context, it’s hard to declare he is as crucial to the Panthers as other names in the mix. The utterly ridiculous wealth of talent behind him would likely allow the Panthers to fare better in his absence than other candidates.
The Panthers’ line of Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Sam Reinhart is best third unit in the league, and was again very productive in Florida’s big win Friday, combining for six points.
It’s quite possible Florida looks at this one as an opportunity to rest Sergei Bobrovsky, so the goaltending situation is worth checking in on closer to puck drop.
Blackhawks Lack Production
The Blackhawks’ overtime loss against Dallas on Friday moved them to just 3-7-3 over their last 13 games, and a 44.99 expected goals rate over that time frame doesn’t suggest much of an upward trend is coming.
Friday’s contest against Dallas offered an example of when expected goals data does not accurately tell the story, as the Stars clearly had the majority of the truly threatening chances entering overtime, and a review of the game reel suggests Chicago was probably lucky to even get into that situation.
The Blackhawks’ limited offensive attack continues to struggle, now sitting with the league’s 30th-ranked production after being shutout Friday. It does not appear likely to trend upward moving forward.
Fleury should get the start here, and holds a -7.3 goals saved above expected rating with a .912 save % throughout 37 games played this season. He has continued to slowly move those marks upward as the season has moved along.
Panthers vs. Blackhawks Pick
Chicago was able to keep the Stars at bay with the help of two posts and a ridiculous performance from Fleury. Holding the Panthers to a comparably low number here seems doubtful. Chicago’s offense continuing to post lesser results seems reasonable, and I think this is a spot where a far better team should take care of business.
This matchup offers a great opportunity for the Panthers’ offensive depth to have another strong night, and I think the middle two units could really have a strong showing based off of the matchups they are likely to draw at even strength.
Florida opened at +125 to cover the puck line, and that number seems far too long to me, as it would be a valid argument to say that event should occur far more often than that price suggests.
Therefore we have lots of value to get on that early number, which will regress, and I would play Panthers -1.5 all the way down to -105, even should the Panthers rest Bobrovsky, and will look at it as a notable bonus should he play.
Pick: Florida Panthers -1.5 +125 (Play to -105)