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@FastMoneyLabs’ Thursday NHL Betting Preview & Picks - 3/3

After sweeping 4-0 on his Wednesday article picks $FML is back with three best bets for Thursday's games!

Best Bet

Since Jan. 1st, 2022, my favorite bet today is…

  • 15-7 (68%) in Panthers games.
  • 8-2 (80%) in Panthers home games.
  • 5-5 (50%) in Ottawa road games.

Also since Jan. 1st, 2022:

  • Ottawa scored a 1st period goal in 8 of 10 (80%) road games.
  • Florida scored a 1st period goal in 10 of 10 (100%) home games.
  • Ottawa allowed a 1st period goal in 7 of 10 (70%) road games.
  • Florida allowed a 1st period goal in 8 of 10 (80%) home games.

This bet is also 4-1 (80%) in their last 5 meetings (since 2019)…

In their last matchup (December 2021), these teams combined to score 10 total goals (Ottawa 8, Florida 2). And yes -- this bet cashed!

$FML Pick

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Both Teams to Score (1st Period) @ +155
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Spread Pick

Florida last played on February 26th (5 days ago), which inspired me to look at how they perform coming off long rest. It’s a small sample, but the results were surprising in that I found Florida is least dominant in this situation (coming off 3+ days rest).

In home games after 3+ days rest, Florida is technically 4-0. However, 3 of the 4 wins required OT. On an expected goals basis (which considers quality of scoring chances for and against), their expected record in this spot is only 2-2.

Before February 22nd, only 3 teams could say they beat the Panthers at home, and the Senators were one of them. They didn’t just beat Florida, either. They wrecked ‘em by a final score of 8-2.

Since then, Florida lost 3 straight home games. At time of writing, roughly 70% of public bets are on Panthers puck line (i.e., spread) for what — on the surface — feels like a prime bounce back spot. I’m not buying it. 

Last week, Florida was a 2.5 goal favorite vs. Columbus. How did that go? They lost outright by a 3 goal margin.

Are they due for positive regression at home? Definitely. Is there a chance we see it tonight? I wouldn’t be shocked but feel it’s more likely we get it this Saturday when they host Detroit on 2-days’ rest — a situation they’ve fared much better in. 

There’s a real chance Florida makes me look silly with this pick, but I said the same thing last week when we backed Columbus +2.5 in Florida, and they went on to win outright. Do I expect Ottawa to win outright tonight? No, but do I think they can cover a 2.5 spread? Definitely. In fact, I’m pretty confident they can, which is why I took the time to write this up. If Florida makes me look silly, I’ll take it on the chin, because I feel this is the right play.

$FML Pick

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Ottowa +2.5 Puck Line @ -130

Player Prop Angle

If I feel Ottawa can hold their own tonight, why not back one of their top point producers to record a goal or assist?

Of the available options, my top choice is forward Connor Brown. This 28-year-old winger is riding a 3-game point streak and has a rich history of finding the score sheet vs. Florida.

In their last meeting (December 2021), he recorded 3 points (all via assist) — his season best. For his career, he’s averaging almost a point per game (0.89) vs. Florida — his 3rd highest vs. any opponent — and it’s an 18 game sample, so not too small.

For the full season — this cashed in 10 of his 18 (56%) road games.

His current form, season-long hit rate and proven track record of finding the scoresheet vs. Florida all support backing his points prop today at a reasonable price!

If your book doesn’t offer bets on points, I prefer his assist prop over goal. When Brown records points, more often than not, they come via assist.

$FML Pick

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Connor Brown (OTT) over 0.5 points @ -117
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