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Monday NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Rangers vs. Hurricanes Game 2 Predictions (August 3)

Monday NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Rangers vs. Hurricanes Game 2 Predictions (August 3) article feature image

Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Vincent Trochek

New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes Game 2 Odds

Looking for Game 3? Head here.

Rangers Odds +132 [BET NOW]
Hurricanes Odds -152 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time Monday, 12 p.m. ET

The Carolina Hurricanes looked like their best selves in their 3-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 on Saturday. The Canes’ relentless forecheck was as advertised and they pounced on any loose pucks in the offensive zone.

The Rangers’ mistake-heavy defense was also as advertised as the Blueshirts had trouble exiting their zone all afternoon. Henrik Lundqvist, who was only in net because Igor Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play” right before warmups, kept New York in the game in a lopsided first period.

In the end it was a fair result for both sides as Carolina took 60.1% of the shots and won the expected goals battle 1.36 to 0.93 at 5-on-5. That being said, it was the first meaningful game of hockey for both teams in over four months so I’d pump the brakes on anybody trying to draw any sort of conclusions from Carolina’s Game 1 victory, especially since there were so many power plays.

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.

Expected goals numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

A smart way to approach betting, especially in the NHL playoffs, is to take advantage of knee-jerk reactions. The Rangers were certainly second-best on Saturday, but there’s no reason that the odds should have jumped this high.

The Rangers closed at +115 at most sportsbooks ahead of Game 1, and even though the Canes may get Dougie Hamilton back for Game 2, I wouldn’t say a spike like this is warranted.

It’s simple: Oddsmakers know that casual bettors saw the Rangers struggle in Game 1, so they can get away with inflating the price on Carolina for Game 2. That should present a good opportunity for a punt on the underdogs on Monday afternoon.

While I will be betting the Rangers at +125 or better, the addition of Hamilton can’t be understated. The Hurricanes were a force to be reckoned with at 5-on-5 when Hamilton was healthy during the regular season but they were largely pedestrian without him.

The Rangers may have missed their best chance.

Stat With Hamilton (47 games) Without Hamilton (21 games)
xGF/60 2.79 2.68
xGA/60 2.43 2.68
xGF% 53.4% 50%
GF/60 2.46 3.02
GA/60 2.34 2.95
GF% 51.2% 50.6%

The Rangers still have a path to success in this game and series but they will need to do a better job in their own zone if they want to get going. New York’s biggest strength is its wealth of game-breaking talent up top, and if Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and their buddies are chasing the puck in their own zone all night, the Rangers will probably lose.

New York still has the game-breakers and goaltender(s) to hang with a very deep Carolina team, and this time around the price is right on the Blueshirts. I’d play the Rangers down to +125.

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