NHL Betting Guide: Friday 3/10/23

This two-game slate features the worst two teams in the NHL according to expected-goals-for rate (xGF%). Today's bets are going to be a real test to accepting value instead of expecting to win both in a comfortable fashion.

Will this pair of games stay close, or will the favorites roll?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All NHL betting odds and totals come from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Chicago Blackhawks at Florida Panthers

Blackhawks +1.5 (+150) - 2 Stars

Both of these bets are about the number -- not the team.

No one is rushing to the window to bet on a Chicago with a 41.0 xGF% rate since January 1st, which is the worst mark in the league. Plus, this team is now without Max Domi and Patrick Kane.

However, there's just a 39.2% chance implied here that the Blackhawks can keep an imperfect Panthers squad within a goal, and that might be too low. Florida's 3.51 expected goals allowed (xGA) per 60 minutes in that same period is the fifth-worst in hockey, and a bad defense can create single-game variance in a jiffy.

The goaltending will be even here, too. Florida hosts playoff-bound Winnipeg tomorrow, so I'd be shocked if they didn't save Sergei Bobrovsky (11.25 goals saved above expectation) for that one, and that means Alex Lyon (-1.43 GSAx) would start versus Chicago as a massive downgrade.

While 70% of the bets here are on the Panthers' puckline, 55% of the money is with the Blackhawks. Our model would recommend joining the sharps, assigning a 50.4% chance that they cover versus these sub-40% implied odds.

Anaheim Ducks at Calgary Flames

Ducks +1.5 (+126) - 3 Stars

You'll see the same betting behavior and splits in this one.

It's a bit less stark with 56% of tickets on Calgary and 52% of the money on Anaheim, but there's more cash behind the underdog's spread for this contest. I'd imagine that widens throughout the day with the Ducks only above the aforementioned Blackhawks in xGF% since January 1st (41.0%).

The Flames are off tomorrow, so they'll send their best goalie, Jacob Markstrom (2.56 GSAx), to the net versus Anaheim. The Ducks will counter with sturdy veteran John Gibson (3.76 GSAx), who -- as is usually the case -- represents their lone advantage.

However, all season, Calgary just hasn't covered this game. They're 8-23 against the spread (ATS) at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and they're riding a streak of failing to cover in seven of their last eight at home.

That's one component of why our model's best bet of the day is this puckline. It sees the Ducks covering 55.6% of the time against these 44.2% implied odds.