NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Panthers vs. Golden Knights
Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Reinhart of the Florida Panthers
- The Las Vegas Golden Knights host the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
- Las Vegas clearly has the better record, but Florida has won three of its past four games and is trending in the right direction.
- Ryan Dadoun digs into the matchup and offers up his best bet below.
Panthers vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-114|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Golden Knights and Panthers entered the season with high hopes, but at the halfway point, their fates have diverged.
Vegas has found success with a 27-13-2 record while the Panthers are still searching for themselves. Florida has at least won three of its past four games to climb to 19-19-4.
Can the Panthers push that momentum forward Thursday or will they suffer another setback? Let’s break down the odds and make a betting pick.
There’s no one player responsible for the Panthers’ middling performance this season, but goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky certainly hasn’t helped. He held his own in 2021-22, posting a 39-7-3 record, 2.67 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 54 contests, but this season he’s been limited to a 10-12-1 record, 3.29 GAA and a .894 save percentage in 25 games.
To be fair to Bobrovsky, the Panthers’ defense has been lacking too. Florida’s expected goals against is 140.69 this season, per Moneypuck, which ranks the team 26th in that category. Florida’s defense hasn’t done enough to help its goaltenders, but by the same token, it’s not unreasonable to expect Bobrovsky to make up the slack considering he comes with a $10 million cap hit.
That’s a problem Florida can’t get away from. Spencer Knight (undisclosed) was put on the Injured Reserve list Tuesday, so Florida has to send out either Bobrovsky or Alex Lyon, who is 30 years old with just 24 career NHL games on his resume.
If Bobrovsky has a bad night, perhaps Matthew Tkachuk could help make up the difference. Tkachuk is one of the hottest players in the league with five goals and eight points in his past four contests.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights’ goaltending situation isn’t perfect either. Logan Thompson has an 18-10-1 record, 2.66 GAA and .914 save percentage. At a glance, he would seem to have the advantage over Bobrovsky, but Thompson’s solid overall numbers are a credit to his amazing start to the campaign. Dating back to Nov. 26, he has a 7-7-1 record, 3.00 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
Adin Hill has been used sparingly despite Thompson’s recent woes, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Thompson versus Bobrovsky matchup.
Vegas hasn’t played since Saturday, so the Golden Knights are well rested and Thompson has been given a chance to put some distance between him and his latest struggles. The break might have also been beneficial for Jack Eichel, who returned from a lower-body injury Thursday after missing nearly a month, and Jonathan Marchessault, who returned from a lower-body injury Saturday after being out for roughly two weeks.
Alec Martinez also returned from a lower-body injury Saturday after missing four consecutive games. Shea Theodore (leg) is questionable Thursday, but even if he doesn’t play, Florida will be facing the healthiest version of the Golden Knights that anyone has dealt with in quite a while.
Panthers vs. Golden Knights Pick
Although there’s a significant disparity in these team’s records, that gap is a bit less pronounced in the odds. On FanDuel, Florida’s moneyline is +122 while Vegas stands at -146. BetMGM has it even narrower at +105 and -130 for Florida and Vegas, respectively.
That’s understandable. Both teams are likely to send out struggling goaltenders, and the squads are tied offensively with 3.26 goals per game. Vegas’ superior record also comes from its unreal 13-2-0 start. Since then, the Golden Knights have gone 14-11-2, so this really isn’t too lopsided of a contest.
The Golden Knights being relatively healthy and playing at home makes me still view them as favorites, but only mildly so.
I’m going to roll the dice a little and take the Panthers on the moneyline. I think Vegas has a greater chance of winning this game, but the potential payout for the Panthers is worth the increased risk. If you want a safer bet, these two offenses have a good chance at exceeding the over of 6.5 goals with Bobrovsky versus Thompson being the probable goaltending matchup.
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