NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Panthers vs. Flames (Jan. 18)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Panthers vs. Flames (Jan. 18) article feature image

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair

  • The Florida Panthers are favorites on the road in Calgary for good reason.
  • The Panthers are 8-0-1 in their last nine and are averaging 6 goals per game in that span.
  • Should bettors just keep it simple and lay the juice with the Cats?

Panthers vs. Flames Odds

Panthers Odds-160
Flames Odds+140
Time9 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Calgary Flames will look to get back on track in a tough matchup on Tuesday night. Facing off against the red-hot Florida Panthers, the Flames will look to end a four-game skid and work their way out of a 2-7-1 stretch.

These two teams met two weeks ago on Jan. 4, with the Panthers downing the Flames, 6-2. The scoreboard was certainly tilted towards Florida, but the Flames did win the xG battle in that game. Sergei Bobrovsky and Florida's finishing ability was the difference in that game.

The Florida Panthers Are a Wagon

The Florida Panthers are the best team in the National Hockey League right now. Traveling to Western Canada riding an 8-0-1 stretch, the Panthers continue to set a new standard for themselves offensively.

Florida has scored 54 goals (an average of six per game) over its last nine games. The Panthers have scored nine goals in a game twice in that span. Over their last three games, Florida has a +16 goal differential (21 GF, 5 GA). The Panthers have scored 157 goals in total this season, which is more than any other team in the NHL and they currently rank second behind the Colorado Avalanche in goals per game (4.13).

The Panthers have an incredibly balanced offense, but right now the star of the show is Jonathan Huberdeau. With 53 points in 38 games, Huberdeau is only one point behind Leon Draisaitl and Alex Ovechkin for most in the NHL.

No team in the NHL is flawless and Florida's bottom-10 ranking in preventing high-danger scoring chances does show the Panthers have some work to do on the defensive end, but with Sergei Bobrovsky in great form the Panthers won't be too fussed about it right now. Bobrovsky is 19-3-3 on the year and ranks second in the NHL with a +18.3 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).

Which Version of the Flames Will Show Up?

The Calgary Flames have fallen to fifth-place in the Pacific Division standings during this four-game skid. As often happens when a team starts to struggle during an NHL season, the Flames are having a hard time finishing off scoring chances at the moment. After a strong start to the season, the Flames offense now ranks 15th in goals per game (3.03).

Generating 2.71 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and scoring just 2.45, the Flames are due for some offensive regression and Calgary's forward depth is certainly strong enough to feel confident that this team will snap back into form.

Jacob Markstrom was playing at a Vezina-level early in the season, but has slowed down a tad. His 12-8-5 record, .924 save percentage and +6.8 GSAx are still strong, but like the rest of the team Markstrom will need to start trending back towards where he was at the beginning of the season to lead this team into the playoffs.

Markstrom should get the nod tonight and if he doesn't there's a significant drop-off between him and Dan Vladar, who has skated to a -1.0 GSAx in nine appearances.

Panthers vs. Flames Pick

Despite their struggles of late, I still believe the Flames are a strong hockey team with enough depth to get themselves out of this rut. However, this just isn't the spot you want to back a struggling team.

There isn't more of a square play than Panthers and the Over in the NHL right now, but sometimes it's best not to overthink things.

The Panthers are firing on all cylinders coming into this one and with the Flames looking to get back into form, I feel comfortable backing Florida as a road favorite.

Florida has already taken some money and now sit between -145 and -150 at most sportsbooks, which is probably a little too high on the road. That said, I would still say I'm closer to the Panthers at that price than the Flames, given their current forms.

There's a slight chance that there's some resistance to Florida in the market as bettors try to sell high on a team that is peaking at the moment, and if it comes down to -140 I'd hop in on the Cats.

Pick: Florida Panthers -140 or better

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