Free NHL Picks: Blackhawks at Panthers Odds
by George Monroy - 10/21/2013
The Florida Panthers have not won two games in a row all season, and to be quite honest they will have a difficult time making that happen when the team faces the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Florida is coming off a 2-1 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, and they will try to take advantage of an extended homestand inside the BB&T Center. The team has already fallen to the bottom of the Atlantic Division and desperately needs a win to stay ahead of the last-place Buffalo Sabres. The unfortunate part for Florida is that they will play Chicago and the St. Louis Blues during that homestand.
The Chicago Blackhawks have not started off the year as impressively as they would have liked to. But the team is playing solid hockey and only has one regulation loss on the season to go along with two shootout losses through their first eight games. The Blackhawks’ offensive output has concerned the team, and head coach Joel Quenneville decided to shuffle his lineups around after the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues last Thursday. Those moves are a testament to the enormous pressure that Chicago is facing this season. The Blackhawks may be the only team in the NHL that is not satisfied with 12 points and only one regulation loss through the first eight games of the season. Let’s take a closer look at Tuesday night’s matchup between the Blackhawks and Panthers and figure out which side of the game has the most value to wager on.
Blackhawks at Panthers Betting Story Lines
Chicago has struggled on offense to start to season and has only scored an average of 2.8 goals per game, which is 14th in the league and way below expectation for the team. The Blackhawks average 34 shot attempts per game, but they are not converting those attempts into goals. The defending Stanley Cup Champions only have one player that has scored four goals or more this season, and their leading point scorer is Brandon Saad, who has six points on the year. By contrast, the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks have four players that have scored four goals or more and eight players with six points or more.
However, the Blackhawks are still managing to win games in spite of their struggling offense—which is more than the Panthers can say at the moment. Florida is in the middle of a win-a-game-lose-three-in-a-row set that has happened twice already with the team’s previous two wins. The Panthers will be looking to erase that streak and win consecutive games for the first time this season against the Blackhawks, but they will have their work cut out for them. The team takes only 26 shot attempts per game and allows their opponents 32 per game. That shot differential is just one of the reasons why the team has struggled during the early part of the year. Florida currently ranks 25th in goals scored with 2.1 per game, 27th in goals allowed with 3.6 per game and 24th in power play percentage.
Blackhawks at Panthers NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Blackhawks opened as a solid -186 road favorite over the underdog Panthers, according to BetOnline. Florida is receiving a positive moneyline of +169, and the total for Tuesday’s game was set at 5.5 goals, with the “under” being favored at a -126 vig. Chicago is 8-1 during their last nine Tuesday games and 4-1 during their last five games played on two day’s worth of rest. The Panthers are 1-5 during their last six games following a win, and they have gone under five times in their last eight home games. The under is 5-0 during the last five meetings between the two teams, while Chicago has won four of the last five matchups.
Free NHL Picks: Blackhawks at Panthers Betting Predictions
Chicago is already feeling the pressure from a less-than-perfect start to the year. The Blackhawks are in the unfortunate situation of having to live up to last season’s recording-breaking start. However, that pressure is a good thing, particularly for gamblers trying to make a profit from the team. Chicago is keenly aware that they need to get better and continue to win games. The coaching staff has probably already drilled into the team that they cannot give any easy games away. And, the truth of the matter is that Tuesday night’s game against the struggling Florida Panthers qualifies as an easy game. Chicago is receiving a decent price on the road and will be motivated to improve and score more goals over the next few games. Wagering on the Blackhawks in this situation has all the value, and a moneyline bet is the way to go. Bet on Chicago to win this game.
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