The Florida Panthers and the Nashville Predators face off for the fourth time this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET as my pick for the best game of the day. We can find the online sports betting odds for this interesting tilt from the BetUS online sportsbook.
NHL odds opened with the Panthers as favorites and there has been plenty of action on both sides. The Panthers should win this one, but based on the odds, I’ll side with the Predators. We’re in for a back-and-forth tilt here that could again be decided by one goal just like the previous three.
Panthers vs Predators Betting Preview
Panthers: Plenty to Prove
Despite being 14-4-4 with a winning record against the defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0), oddsmakers are not buying into the hype. Florida is the seventh-best team per Stanley Cup odds. Heck, Winnipeg is beside them.
But that’s good for the “other” team from Florida as Joel Quenneville’s boys will have plenty to work for. They already have one of the best top-six forwards in the league and it shows with their dominant 5-on-5 play.
Florida also excels on the power play with the sixth-best unit although their penalty kill could use some work. They play fast and hard and have given up the fewest scoring chances (16.5) per game on 5-on-5. The emergence of Chris Driedger has also given them two solid options in net.
The 26-year-old is proving last season wasn’t a fluke and already has a +6 in goals saved above average (GSAA). Sergei Bobrovsky is still an above-average netminder as this duo completes what could be a dark horse in the Stanley Cup picture.
Predators: Snakebitten and Sinking
For the longest time, the Predators have tried to make Ferraris with the parts of a Ford Mustang. Silly metaphor aside, this team isn’t going anywhere but a slow decline. The Preds’ weaknesses, hapless special teams, keep getting bigger while their goaltending gets worse.
Pekka Rinne has little left in the tank and Juuse Saros has fallen in a big way this season with both combining for a -4.6 goals saved above average (GSAA). They still have some depth with their skaters led by solid play from their centers.
Filip Forsberg is carrying the team’s scoring with 10 goals and 22 points in 23 games. But Forsberg has been their only great forward. Matt Duchene, Viktor Arvidsson, and Ryan Johansen have combined for six goals and 24 points.
The Preds have the worst scoring chance shooting percent (11.6%) and the second-worst high danger scoring chance shooting percent (14.5%). Their inability to score is mainly why they haven’t beaten a team above .500 in over a month.
I’m taking the Predators here for an upset per the online sports betting odds. I think this is a matchup that gives Nashville enough to pull an upset.
Both teams are great on 5-on-5 thanks to the abilities of their centers. Nashville has a bit more depth, but the Panthers have better goal scoring and overall playmaking. Florida should also gain the edge on special teams, especially on their power play.
But the deciding factor could be in net. The Panthers are rolling with Bobrovsky, who hasn’t been any better than Rinne. A few years ago this would have been a battle between two Vezina finalists but both could be the downfall of their respective teams.
And despite Florida’s advantage on the PP, most of the game is played 5-on-5. There’s a reason they’re the only team above .500 that Nashville has beaten since January. Let’s go with the Preds to be just a bit better than the Panthers.
Pick: Nashville Predators to win