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NHL Odds & Pick for Predators vs. Red Wings: Pay Attention to Who’s Between the Pipes

NHL Odds & Pick for Predators vs. Red Wings: Pay Attention to Who’s Between the Pipes article feature image

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Pekka Rinne flanked by Adam Erne and Luke Glendening.

  • The Red Wings are underdogs at home in Thursday night's game against the Predators.
  • Nashville has gotten inspired play from veteran goaltender Pekka Rinne in its last two games.
  • Who is in net for both teams will be key in handicapping Thursday's game.

Predators vs. Red Wings Odds

Predators Odds -160
Red Wings Odds +135
Over/Under 5.5
Time | TV Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via PointsBet.

This new and theoretically one-time-only NHL season that has teams playing solely in their own division is fun. So don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint necessarily. However, as we get into the middle third of the season, it’s hard not to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

While I have thankfully not been waking up to any Sonny and Cher duets, writing about how the Nashville Predators are a very fade-able favorite, or how the Detroit Red Wings are a very backable underdog, feels … familiar.

Well, “they say we’re young and we don’t know, we won’t find out until we grow”… or more likely, we’ll find out Thursday night if the Red Wings can get the win as a home underdog.

Nashville Predators

Entering Tuesday, Nashville hadn’t put together two really good games in a row all season. The Predators had won back-to-back just twice and in each case the result in one of the two victories could’ve been considered lucky.

After putting in a top-to-bottom performance at Columbus on Saturday, where they out-chanced the Blue Jackets 13-3 in high-danger areas at even-strength, the Preds nearly matched those numbers, going 12-4 against Detroit. Can they do it a third time in a row? Will they even need to?

If they get the goaltending from Pekka Rinne that they’ve received in the last two outings, they may not need that many chances in order to win the game. However, despite the veteran’s turn-back-the-clock performances, he’s still 38-years-old and could probably use a night off.

While we don’t know this for sure, I’d expect Juuse Saros to get the call in the rematch on Thursday. Given that the Preds and Blue Jackets look to be battling for the same playoff spot in the Central Division, these two games are critical.

If Saros doesn’t play on Thursday, that means he’ll be going at least 10 days between action. I can’t imagine Rinne playing all three of these games at his advanced age, so it makes sense to play Saros against the lowly Red Wings. 

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings know who they are. They’re not a team that can trade chances with more talented teams, which unfortunately for them is pretty much all of the teams. They know their best chance to win is to play a defensively responsible, tight-checking game. That’s how they’ve garnered a relatively decent rating of just 3% below average at even-strength according to my model. 

Detroit did a poor job of doing anything it was trying to do on Tuesday. The Wings allowed the Predators to create 12 high-danger chances at even-strength, which is tied for a season-high against. This level of offensive creation naturally led to lopsided power-play opportunities in favor of the Preds. The game was scoreless after two periods, and despite being outplayed, the Red Wings had every opportunity to steal one. 

Who plays goal for the Red Wings seems to matter a fair amount as well, but not for the reason Detroit had hoped before the season started. The team acquired Thomas Greiss to be its No. 1 netminder, and didn’t expect journeyman Johnathan Bernier to be the better of the two. Bernier’s 0.72 goals saved above average (GSAA), while quite literally right around average, is much better than Greiss’s -5.17 GSAA. Greiss was last seen three games ago, giving up four goals on nine shots and getting the quick hook against the Florida Panthers.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Like just about every other matchup in the NHL this season, this bet is going to come down to who we see starting in goal for each team, because for both teams, it matters. Simply put, if Bernier plays for the Red Wings, they’re a viable bet at the expected moneyline price of +130 (or better). This is especially the case should Saros be between the pipes for Nashville. 

If Greiss and Saros are the goaltenders, we’ve got a bet that won’t be particularly comfortable. I think the over 5.5 becomes the play with two of the league’s worst goaltenders facing each other. While we have to be concerned about Detroit’s defense-first style, the Predators have at least shown an ability for offensive creation, and the Wings will know they have to match that with their struggling offseason acquisition in the crease. 

In any goaltending matchup to come on Thursday in Motown, there’s a bet to be made. I got you, Babe.

Pick: Red Wings (+130 or better) with Bernier starting / Over 5.5 if Greiss versus Saros

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