Free NHL Picks: Blues at Panthers Odds
by George Monroy - 10/31/2013
The Western Conference is a dog-eat-dog world. The St. Louis Blues found that out after being out of action for seven days last week. When the team returned, they had gone from first place in the West to seventh place in a matter of days. However, that is how fast-paced things are in the Conference this season. The Blues will have a chance to reclaim their spot atop the standings in the coming days when the team plays four games over the next week—three of which are on the road.
St. Louis will head into the BB&T Center on Friday night to face a struggling Florida Panthers team that has lost six of their last seven games. Last week the Panthers suffered perhaps their most disappointing loss of the season when the team was beaten at home by the two-win Buffalo Sabres. Florida, at the very least, will be hoping to make their matchup against St. Louis competitive and the starting point for a much better second month of the season. Let’s take an in-depth look at the Blues versus Panthers game with free NHL picks and analysis.
Blues at Panthers Betting Story Lines
Florida has not played since Sunday and will be finishing up a six-game homestand when they face St. Louis on Friday night. The team has managed to win only one game during that span but was able to score two extra points for a pair of overtime losses. Florida has stayed competitive during their homestand and lost four of their last five games by only one goal. The most disappointing loss of the season came against the Sabres two games ago in a matchup that the Panthers believed they were capable of winning. Florida outshot Buffalo by 24 attempts, had five takeaways and won 30 face-offs, yet they were only able to score one goal that came midway during the first period.
The Panthers have a plethora of problems, but the most concerning is the team’s penchant for giving up multiple goals during the first two periods of action. Florida has been forced to play from behind in many games this season and is simply allowing their opponents to take too many shot attempts. During the first and second periods, the Panthers are allowing 21 shot attempts and 2.33 goals to be scored on average while taking only 18 shots themselves and scoring one goal. Florida is outscoring their opponents in the third period simply because they are behind so often.
St. Louis has lost only one game in regulation all season and is on a dominant run to start the year even though they are ranked seventh place in the conference standings. The team has not played since Tuesday but is coming off two impressive wins where they outscored their overmatched opponents by six goals. The Blues have been led Alexander Steen, who has been as impressive as any player in the league through the start of the season. Steen already has 16 points on the year—11 goals and five assists—and is currently on a four-game goal streak. The eighth-year player has scored in nine of St. Louis first 10 games of the season.
However, only mentioning Steen’s production would not be fair to the rest of the team that has played masterfully in 10 games. The Blues have three other players with double-digit points and four others with seven or more. The team is currently ranked second in goals scored with 3.7, eighth in goals allowed with 2.4, and first in power play percentage.
Blues at Panthers NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
St. Louis opened as a very big -178 moneyline road favorite, according to BetOnline. Florida is a +162 moneyline underdog and is a -190 puckline favorite for receiving the 1.5 goals. The Blues are a +165 puckline underdog for giving up the 1.5 goals. The total opened at 5.5 goals, with the “under” being favored at -131. Head to head, the under is 6-1 during the last seven games in Florida and is 10-2-1 in the last 13 overall meetings. Florida is 1-5 during their last six home games and historically has not performed well on Fridays as they have 32 percent winning percentage during games played on that day. St. Louis is 7-3 during their last 10 games and are 16-5 following a win.
Free NHL Picks: Blues at Panthers Betting Predictions
The Panthers are a huge home underdog, so there is always some value wagering on this spot. However, St. Louis is on such a dominant run that those odds probably won’t matter. The last time these two teams played—during the second game of the season—St. Louis destroyed Florida and won by seven goals. Since that time both teams have gone in opposite directions. I wouldn’t advise making a habit out of betting on huge road favorites, but in this instance all the value is on the St. Louis Blues. Florida has given up big leads early in games, and the Blues are just the type of team to take advantage of those early mistakes. Taking the +165 on the puckline also has value as this game could easily turn into a blowout. However, wagering on the moneyline is probably the best play to make here.
Record: 13-6; Profit: +$800
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