NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 2/24/21

It's the first night of a back-to-back for Johnny Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames. What do our projections say about where your money should be at puck drop?

It's a busy Wednesday night in the NHL with seven games on the go. Puck drops early tonight, with games starting as early as 5:00 pm EST and as late as 9:30 pm EST, there's plenty of action to keep us entertained.

Here are a couple of plays from our daily projections!

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Calgary Flames

Flames +1.5 (-184): 3-Star Rating out of 5

After taking a beating on Saturday night, the Calgary Flames bounced back nicely against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, winning 3-0. The Flames will need another monster performance from David Rittich if they hope to duplicate that success.

Calgary is on the first night of a back-to-back, which means that Rittich is likely to start tonight with Jacob Markstrom going tomorrow against the Ottawa Senators. Since underperforming in his first two starts, Rittich has stopped 96.6% of shots faced, including all 34 on Monday night. He's had Toronto's number throughout his career, with a goals-against-average of 2.21 and save percentage of 93.4% while winning three of four starts.

The Leafs have relied on offense in winning seven of their last 10, averaging 3.9 goals per game. But metrics suggest that they are overachieving and could regress over the coming games.

Since the start of February, the Leafs are scoring on 13.4% of their shots, which has brought their season-long shooting percentage up to 12.2%, the second-highest in the league. This increased output aligns with a decrease in production, as the Leafs were under their season average for shots and high-danger chances in five of 10 games. Don't be surprised if the Leafs enter a bit of a slump over the coming games.

According to our projections, the Leafs are overvalued in the betting market. There is an advantage in backing the Flames on the moneyline, but the most substantive advantage lies in taking the Flames +1.5. If they can't win outright, the Flames should at least be able to keep it close -- we rate Flames +1.5 as a three-star play.

Arizona Coyotes vs. Anaheim Ducks

Over 5.5 (+130): 1-Star Rating out of 5

The Arizona Coyotes will look to make it two straight wins against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. These teams met Monday night, with Arizona storming back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3.

In that game, there were 53 combined shots, 55 scoring opportunities, and 21 high-danger chances. That follows an offensive trend for the Ducks in which they have managed 10 or more high-danger chances in six of nine games. Production has not yet translated to output, though, as the Ducks scored two or fewer goals in five of those games. In reconciling production metrics with their 30th-ranked 7.2% shooting percentage, positive regression is on the horizon.

The increased offensive production may be coming at the expense of defensive integrity. The Ducks have allowed at least 11 chances from high-danger areas in three straight and double-digit attempts in six of eight.

Arizona is following a similar pattern recently. Opponents are getting more chances from high-danger areas, which has resulted in save percentages below 89.3% in four of their last six. Goals have also been harder to come by, as the Coyotes have scored below their season-long shooting percentage in four of six games. We should see those percentages start to balance out, but more goals should follow.

Both these teams have concerning defensive metrics and should progress offensively, which aligns with high-scoring hockey. It's also worth noting that the Yotes have gone over in six of 10 games this month. Our algorithm projects that trend to continue. The over 5.5 (+130) is rated as a one-star play.