NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 2/3/21

We're starting to see more teams being impacted by positive covid-19 tests. Two games were cancelled last night as a result of outbreaks, and both the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights have positive cases, which forced the postponement of their game tonight. That leaves us with two games on the docket.

Here's a rundown of tonight's action!

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings moneyline (+310): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Red Wings +1.5 (+110): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

Very rarely do we get plus-money on the +1.5 puckline but that's exactly what we're getting with the Detroit Red Wings tonight. Coming into the season, we knew that this would be a challenging year for the Red Wings, and early returns validate that. The Wings are 2-6-2 through 10 games and have lost 6 straight. But their metrics do inspire hope. Across all strengths, the Wings have been close to 50.0% in their relative metrics. They rank 19th in the league with an expected goals-for percentage of 49.4%, which implies that this team should be closer to the .500 mark than they are.

You wouldn't know it by looking at their record but it's been a hapless start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are 5-1-1 but at five-on-five they have posted an expected goals-for percentage below 50.0% in three of their last four games. Postponements might be contributing to their lack of team play through seven games, but considering some of their opponents (no offense to the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Nashville Predators), the Bolts should be operating at a much higher efficiency.

This play boils down to simple implied probability. The Red Wings carry a +310 price tag on the moneyline which implies that the Red Wings have a 32.3% chance of winning. That type of price is almost an auto-play on the underdog as very rarely do we see that big of a drop in quality among teams in a professional sports league. Similarly, +1.5 goals on the puckline is normally priced in the -200 range, so getting +110 is worth the investment. This is also reflected in our algorithm which ranks the Red Wings moneyline as a 1-star play and the pucklne as a 2-star play.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

Flyers moneyline (+116): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Flyers +1.5 (-250): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Over 5.5 (-110): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

The return of David Pastrnak has paid immediate dividends for the Boston Bruins. Pasta has three points through two games and has boosted the Bruins' metrics, particularly at five-on-five. In his first game back, the Bruins set a season-high in scoring chances and matched their season-high in shots. Where Pastrnak can't make a difference is between the pipes, where Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have combined for the 25th-ranked save percentage at five-on-five. With both goaltenders well into their 30s, we might be witnessing their descent from career-highs.

It's been a successful four-game run for the Philadelphia Flyers, going 4-0-0 and outscoring their opponents by a cumulative 15-9 margin. High-danger opportunities is where they do most of their damage as 12 of their 15 goals have come from the high-probability areas. Philadelphia appears to be tidying up their defensive play as well. After giving up double-digit high-danger chances against in four of their first five games, they have limited opponents to eight or fewer such chances in four of their last five.

These teams combined for some high-scoring affairs when they met earlier this season, totaling 16 goals in two games with both contests going over the total. Considering how efficiently these teams are currently operating, we should expect more of the same. The total for this game sits at 5.5, which leaves an advantage in taking the over. We rate it as a 1-star play.

With their two home games against the Buffalo Sabres canceled this weekend, the Bruins will be playing 10 of their first 14 games away from home. Tonight's contest will be the Bruins' sixth road game this season and they have already dropped three of their first five, although two of those losses came in overtime. The Flyers are 5-1-0 on home ice and have three straight victories in their friendly confines.

That home-road dichotomy could be the difference as the Flyers use last change to their advantage to limit the Bruins' chances. Based on our algorithm, the advantage lies with backing the home team both on the puckline, which is a 2-star play, and on the moneyline, which is a 1-star play.