NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 10/14/21

Unders and favorites were all the rage on Wednesday night in the NHL. All five games stayed under their respective totals, and four of five favorites cashed, with the Anaheim Ducks being the only dog to win outright last night. We're betting that trend reverses tonight with a couple of plays from our daily projections!

Florida Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins moneyline (+152): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Penguins +1.5 (-162): 4-Star Rating Out of 5

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't earn any respect after dismantling the Tampa Bay Lightning in their season-opener. They have the advantage of being up to game speed when they take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, but that's not where their advantages end.

Sergei Bobrovsky is the confirmed starter for the Panthers tonight, and that should benefit the Pens more than the Panthers. Bobrovsky has fallen off since arriving in Florida, compiling a 90.2% save percentage and -16.6 goals saved above average. The veteran Russian netminder had a forgettable 76.8% high-danger save percentage and faces a Penguins' attack that was dominant against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Pittsburgh controlled possession and production metrics at five-on-five on Tuesday night, posting a 53.5% Corsi rating, out-shooting the Bolts 32-23, and out-chancing them 34-18 in scoring chances, and 12-4 in high-danger opportunities. In sum, the Penguins finished the game with a 66.9% expected goals-for rating, which is the best of any of the first seven games of the season.

This line has shifted too far in favor of the Panthers, creating an advantage in backing the Penguins. Backing Pittsburgh on the moneyline is a 2-star play, and backing them to cover the +1.5 puckline as underdogs is a 4-star play, per our projections.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Red Wings moneyline (+176): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Red Wings +1.5 (-146): 3-Star Rating Out of 5

The Penguins' outstanding metrics on Tuesday were a reflection of their dominance, but also an indictment of the Lightning as they faced a team without their two best players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Although not as imposing, the Detroit Red Wings will have nearly their full complement of players available for the season-opener tonight.

One of the most concerning metrics from the Bolts' loss on Tuesday was the lack of structure they had in their own end. Tampa allowed 32 scoring chances, 12 of which came from high-danger areas at five-on-five. The Lightning go from their friendly confines to Little Ceasar's Arena in Detroit tonight, where they don't have the benefit of last change.

The Red Wings don't have the same imposing offense that the Penguins have, but they did look good in pre-season action. Detroit finished with the pre-season with an expected goals-for percentage of 62.0% across all strengths, with the lowest game score coming in at 55.4%. That is a good omen heading into their first game of the year against a team that struggled on opening night.

The Lightning can prove that Stanley Cup hangovers exist with another loss tonight and based on our projections, the advantage lies in backing the underdog Red Wings. Taking Detroit to win is a 2-star play, whereas taking them to cover the puckline is a 3-star play.