NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 5/27/21

Juuse Saros is stopping 94.0% of shots on home ice this season. Can he backstop the Preds to a victory in Game 6?

The NHL's playoff picture can get even clearer as the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs can punch their tickets to the second round with victories on Thursday night. If both those series wrap up tonight, that would leave the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild as the only outstanding series to conclude before we kick off Round 2.

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Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Predators +1.5 (-225): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Predators moneyline (+130): 1-Star Rating Out of 5
Under 5.5 (-140): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Overtime has been a theme in this series, as the Hurricanes and Nashville Predators have needed extra time to sort out the winner in three straight games. That has inflated some of their scoring metrics, but upon closer inspection, we're getting some solid defensive efforts.

The Canes are the more gifted offensive team. They put up some gaudy offensive numbers over the regular season, but the Preds have done a good job at limiting them so far this series. Carolina has attempted 64 high-danger chances and 170 scoring chances through five games. On a per-game basis, those are impressive averages.

However, when we factor in the extra time they've played and break it down to a 60-minute average, the Canes have some pretty modest totals. Carolina is averaging 10.3 high-danger chances and 27.3 scoring opportunities per 60 minutes, both of which are decreases relative to regular season averages of 12.6 and 29.3, respectively.

Juuse Saros has put forward some impressive starts so far this postseason, and that's been most evident on home ice. Saros has stopped 94.0% of shots in the two games that were played in Nashville so far this series. That is a continuation of a dominant regular season in which Saros stopped 94.1% of shots and posted a 1.86 goals-against average. Saros is hard to beat in his friendly confines.

Offense has been even harder to come by for the Predators. Nashville is attempting 21.4 scoring chances per 60 minutes, with 8.5 of those coming from high-danger areas. Limited production has impacted the Preds' output, as they have put up two or fewer goals in three of five games. That means that they will have to rely on their defensive shell even more so if they hope to compete with Carolina.

Improved defensive metrics from the Predators and Saros' dominance at home gives Nashville a puncher's chance in this one.

Based on our projections, the Preds have a 46.4% chance of winning. Relative to the betting market and implied probability of their moneyline price (43.4%) that leaves a small advantage in backing the Preds to win tonight. We've seen how tight-checking these games have been so far this series, which also leaves an edge in taking Nashville to cover +1.5. Lastly, both teams are relying on tidy defensive efforts, which should lead to a low-scoring game, making the under a decent bet. All three wagers are rated as one-star plays.