Before a single puck is dropped on a new NHL season, pro hockey betting pundits across the country delight in telling you who will be in the playoffs at the end of the year, and who will be on the outside looking in. The general consensus before this season began was that the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers were a pair of teams that needed a lot of things to go right if they were to be in at the end. That was essentially a polite way of saying that neither team was really good enough to be considered a playoff threat. Both teams have exceeded expectations, but the Florida Panthers have stunned a lot of people by not only making the playoffs, but still having a shot at winning the Atlantic Division with just a couple of weeks left in the regular season. These two teams will hook up in Florida on Thursday night, with the Panthers looking to take one more step towards a division crown.
How To Bet The New Jersey Vs Florida, NHL Odds, TV & Game Info
Why bet on the New Jersey Devils
A playoff spot was always going to be a big ask for the New Jersey Devils (37-32-8) this season, especially with the team heading in a new direction. It’s never easy for a new GM and coach combo to have success in their first season working together, so it can be argued that the Devils may actually be a little ahead of schedule. Sure, missing the playoffs is going to be a disappointment, but finishing well above .500 has to be considered progress. Technically, New Jersey are still in the hunt, but with a 5-point deficit to make up in just 5 games, the odds are heavily stacked against them. This is a team that always battles hard, though, and their 6-3-1 record in the past 10 games suggests that they are not going down without a fight. The Devils are averaging 2.2 GPG, and are giving up 2.4 GPG.
Why bet on the Florida Panthers
It’s funny how success can slow down all the negative talk surrounding a franchise. When was the last time you heard anyone mention how the Florida Panthers (42-25-9) might be on the move to Quebec City? That said, the chatter could very well begin again if the Panthers lose the division and make an early exit in the playoffs, which is why you have to figure that this group is intent on finishing the job that they started. The Panthers are tied for first in the Atlantic Division, and have gone 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. They are 22-11-5 on home ice, and suddenly have a rabid fan base cheering them on in a packed building. Florida are averaging 2.8 GPG, and are giving up 2.4 GPG.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
These two teams have split the regular season series so far, and both are desperate to get a win that will help their individual causes. You have to like the Panthers at home here, which is why I am taking them to win a low-scoring game.
New Jersey Devils 1 Florida Panthers 3