Panthers vs. Predators NHL Odds & Pick: Bet Nashville in Low-Scoring Affair (March 6)

Panthers vs. Predators NHL Odds & Pick: Bet Nashville in Low-Scoring Affair (March 6) article feature image

John Russell/Getty Images. Pictured: Frank Vatrano (77) of the Florida Panthers battles for the puck against Mikael Granlund (64).

  • These two teams met on Thursday with Nashville securing a 5-4 win.
  • Changes in net coupled with the second game of a series likely means less goals.
  • Matt Russell explains which team will benefit more with a low-scoring affair.

Panthers vs. Predators Odds

Panthers Odds-150
Predators Odds+125
Time | TVSaturday, 2 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via BetMGM.

Going back to the well must have been brutal. First off, water is heavier than you think it is. Secondly, if a colloquial term like, “Going back to the well” has survived this much longer than actual  wells, then the act of marching back to the well, getting the water and hauling it back, was probably really rough. 

When it comes to betting on the NHL in 2021, while thankfully we don’t have to use well-water for creating the ice to play on, we do have to "go back to the well" metaphorically, over and over again. The prominence of back-to-back games on the schedule makes this a regular occurrence and is something I’m going to be doing when it comes to the Panthers-Predators rematch on Saturday afternoon. 

Florida Panthers

The Panthers took the first game on Thursday, in a surprisingly loose affair where the teams combined for nine goals. The 5-4 victory was another in a string of close victories for Florida’s “Cardiac Cats."

While that’s a fun nickname, heart-stopping monikers often get assigned to teams who are just scraping by. That’s definitely the case here, as my “Let’s Do This Hockey” model as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast rates them as a shade shy of 1% above average at even-strength. They’ve gone back and forth as to who their best option in net is and have had more than a few late-game comebacks after being outplayed. 

In Thursday’s first game in Nashville, the Panthers didn’t need a comeback,  taking an early lead. They did, however, need to hang on by their claws after a 3-0 lead became 5-4, as Sergei Bobrovsky gave up four goals in the final 28 minutes of play. The Panthers will likely turn to their backup, Chris Driedger in the rematch. He’s been the better of the two, posting a 6.02 Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) to Bobrovsky’s -3.61 GSAA. 

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.

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Nashville Predators

The Predators aren’t without their own confusion in net, as they’ve see-sawed back and forth from Juuse Saros to Pekka Rinne. Due to an injury suffered on Monday, Saros has left Rinne on the see-saw, and it’s Rinne's job again for the next little while. The 38-year old faced 38 shots in Thursday’s surprisingly high-octane matchup. 

When these two teams met in Florida early in the season, they each created just 15 even-strength High-Danger Chances over the course of two games, despite the first meeting ending up as a 6-5 Predators win.

On Thursday, the Predators out High-Danger-Chanced the Panthers 12-10 in their comeback attempt. Six of the 10 HDC that the Panthers created came in the first period, as the Predators were uncharacteristically poor defensively. 

My model makes the Predators less than a percentage point below the Panthers, despite their discrepancy in the standings. As such, the game’s venue in Music City makes the Preds a small favourite, instead of the short underdog that the market made them on Thursday. 

Betting Analysis & Pick

Back in Florida, these two teams followed up that 11-goal game with a more stable 2-1 Panthers win, as Rinne and Driedger both started after not getting the nod in the first game. The Panthers came into the game on Thursday having allowed six or fewer High-Danger Chances at even-strength in six of their last seven games. Meanwhile, per their reputation, the Preds had suffocated the opponent in 11 of 12 games, giving up 10 HDC just once. 

The Predators are used to the matinee starts, having gone back-to-back at home with Columbus in the afternoon last weekend. Each game was 2-1 before the goaltender was pulled late for the Blue Jackets.

With the offensive explosion out of both teams’ systems, I’ll go back to the well in looking to play Preds unders, with a team that will take part in a lower-scoring affair the second time around. The projected +120 price is too good to pass up here if that becomes widely available, as I expect a low-scoring game that’s a true toss-up. 

Pick: Predators (+120 or better) | Under 5.5 (-115 or better)

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