NHL Odds and Picks: Predictions for Islanders vs. Flyers Game 4 (Sunday, Aug. 30)
Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Leo Komarov
Game 4: Islanders vs. Flyers Odds
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|Flyers Odds||+104 [BET NOW]|
|Islanders Odds||-121 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5 (-120/-103) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
The New York Islanders, in their current iteration, are not the type of team you want to play when you’re fighting it. And the Philadelphia Flyers are currently fighting it.
The Flyers have scored 16 goals in their last nine games. They have failed to score three goals six times in that span. Philadelphia has mustered just five goals in its first three games against the Islanders, but four of them came in Game 2 when the Flyers blew a three-goal lead before winning in overtime.
These struggles are real, too. Semyon Varlamov has been hot in goal for the Isles, but it’s not like he’s needed to stand on his head. Philadelphia is averaging just 1.92 expected goals and 8.3 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 in Round 2.
|High-danger scoring chances||40||25|
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
A lot of credit should go to the Islanders, who have been peaking during the postseason. The Isles are 9-3 in the playoffs and have a 57.8% expected goals rate at 5-on-5 through their first 12 games. Most importantly, the Islanders are allowing just 1.13 goals on 1.79 expected goals per hour at 5-on-5.
The Islanders are a tricky team to beat. They’ll allow the opposition to have the puck for as long as it wants, so long as it doesn’t try to get into the danger areas. They are also patient and will wait you out, hoping you make a mistake they can turn into a counterattack. That’s why, even though the shot attempts in this series are dead even, the Islanders have a +15 edge in high-danger scoring chances.
The Islanders may not score on every counterattack, but they do take advantage of most of them. Whether it be by pinning a team deep in the zone with a relentless forecheck and wearing them down or drawing a penalty, the Isles are peerless when it comes to finding an opening and turning the ice around.
Odds via DraftKings
The price on the Islanders has ticked up, little by little, with each game. I’ve tried to be as patient as possible with in-form teams during the tournament, but at this point, I’m content with buying high on the Islanders. Everything checks out under the hood; they’re a dangerous team.
On the other hand, I was a bit skeptical of the Flyers going into the postseason, and they’ve done nothing to change my mind so far.
I would need a bigger payout than +102 to back Philadelphia in Game 4. I know these two teams are close on paper, and the Flyers can get right back in this thing if their best players show up. But the Islanders are the better team, especially right now.
At the time of writing, the Islanders are as low as -115 (PointsBet) and as high as -121 (FanDuel). I think the high end of the market may be pushing it a little, but I wouldn’t blame anybody who is just looking for action on the game to pay up a little bit on the Islanders.
For me, I’m going to do my best to keep it under -120, but even at that number, it’s Islanders or nothing.