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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Ducks

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Wild vs. Ducks article feature image

Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Boldy of the Minnesota Wild

  • The Ducks host the Wild on Wednesday night in what's expected to be a lopsided affair.
  • With Minnesota boasting a top defense, scoring opportunities will be difficult for Anaheim.
  • Below, Nicholas Martin breaks down his two favorite betting angles for the late-night game.

Wild vs. Ducks Odds

Wild Odds -295
Ducks Odds +245
Over/Under 6.5 (+100 / -120)
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Minnesota will take the ice Wednesday as massive road favorites over the lowly Anaheim Ducks, who suffered yet another multi-goal loss on Tuesday in Los Angeles and now own the league’s worst goal differential at -59.

The Wild have surged up the Central Division standings and have won five consecutive games inside of regulation with a goal differential of +12.

Is this the spot to keep it square with the massive road favorites?

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Defense Still Key for Minnesota Wild

The loss of Kevin Fiala simply should not have equated to the kind of drop-off in form we saw early on this season from Minnesota, and it goes as no surprise to see that the Wild have found significantly better form of late.

Minnesota has won nine of its last 11 games and has seen its once-stagnant offense come to life with 3.81 goals for per game. Defensively the Wild have remained in tremendous form with a 55.86 xGF% over its 11-game tear.

The Wild don’t feature much in the way of elite offensive skaters outside of Kirill Kaprizov, which always seems to hurt come the postseason. But the top nine is littered with excellent two-way forwards who make life tough on the opposition.

Minnesota’s defensive core features a number of strong play drivers capable of moving the puck up the ice effectively and suppressing opposition chances. From 1-6, it may be one of the top units in the Western Conference and has been a huge part of the vast amount of recent regular season success in Minnesota.

I expect that Marc-Andre Fleury will be given this start in goal after resting in Ottawa as the Wild have split starts quite evenly with Filip Gustavsson.

Gustavsson has clearly been the better of the two overall this season, but Fleury has trended into better form with a .912 save % over his last four starts with a 2.50 goals against average.

Few Bright Spots for Anaheim Ducks

True goal differential is often considered the most effective measure of a team’s level in the NHL, and it comes as no surprise that the Ducks hold the league’s worst mark at -59, considering the on-ice product.

Anaheim’s defensive core has been nothing short of a trainwreck. A number of veteran bodies such as John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov have been caved in throughout five-on-five play.

The loss of standout sophomore Jamie Drysdale hurts badly, as coach Dallas Eakins really does not seem to have many sustainable ways to suppress the opposition from finding chances in bunches.

Over the last 10 games, Anaheim has controlled play to an expected goals share of just 38.72%, which is almost identical to its season-long rate of 39.65%.

It is downright shocking to see any NHL side play to a mark below 40% for any kind of reasonable sample, and if the Ducks do finish below the 40% mark, it will be the first side to do so since the 2014-15 Sabres.

Anaheim has allowed 38.71 shots on goal over the last 10 games, and the amount of space allowed to the opposition appears vastly different than watching even middle-of-the-pack defensive sides.

However, 22-year-old netminder Lukas Dostal has been a rare positive story for Anaheim, and he’s even stolen two wins with some sterling performances over the Canadiens and Oilers.

Dostal played last night in Los Angeles, but he may take the net again Wednesday in this back-to-back spot with both John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz listed as injured.

Dostal has played to a +1.1 GSAx and .899 save % throughout five appearances this season.

Wild vs. Ducks Pick

Minnesota’s surge up the Western Conference leaderboard comes as no surprise considering how the on-ice product has looked, and we should expect the Wild to carry far more of the play in this smash spot.

Anaheim has lost by two or more in 17 of its 33 games so far this season, good for a 51.5% clip, which already makes a play on the puck-line somewhat of a valid look.

Factoring in that Minnesota is by all indications playing like a top third side league-wide right now, and catching Anaheim on the second night of a back-to-back situation, it’s easy to see how this price is so massive.

I still believe the Wild are going to win this contest by two or more often enough to hold value at -115 to cover the puck-line, and I would back Minnesota down to a price of -125 to cover.

A second way to take advantage of what should be a very lopsided affair is zeroing in on some player props, and Matt Boldy is a target which I really like Wednesday.

Boldy has gone over 2.5 shots in 18 of 31 games (56.6%) this season. His usage should remain the same tonight skating on a top power-play unit and second line, and there is no indication his average should dip moving forward.

Therefore, in a spot where Minnesota will likely manage 37+ shots on target, the chances are there that Boldy can surpass his season average of 2.83 shots and hit three often enough to justify a bet on it.

Pick: Minnesota Wild -1.5 (-115, play to -125) | Matthew Boldy Over 2.5 Shots (-125, play to -130)

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