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Odds, NHL betting pick today

The 2022-23 NHL Season is less than two weeks old, but there’s no denying that the Philadelphia Flyers are the story of the league so far. Pegged to be one of the worst teams in the circuit by almost everyone (including yours truly), John Tortorella’s squad is off to a 3-0-0 start and just upset the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road as +245 underdogs on Tuesday night.

Philadelphia now travels across the Sunrise State for a showdown with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night. 

Flyers vs. Panthers prediction: Over 6.5 (-115, Caesars)

Take nothing away from the Flyers. They’ve won their first three games of what was supposed to be a terrible season and now sit atop the Metropolitan Division with the Carolina Hurricanes. John Tortorella has always had a knack for getting the most out of his rosters, and so far, that seems to be the case in the City of Brotherly Love.

Joel Farabee
Joel Farabee
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But the way Philadelphia is getting results is just not sustainable. When you’re an underdog every game like the Flyers have been, you’ll need to get strong goaltending and good bounces, but you can’t rely on that night in and night out in an 82-game season.

So far, the Flyers have scored six goals and allowed three at 5-on-5, but they owe a lot of that success to goaltender Carter Hart. After a pair of rough seasons, the 24-year-old netminder has come out of the gates like gangbusters in ’22-23, stopping 99 of the 105 (.942 SV%) shots he’s faced through three starts. Outside of a 3-2 win over Vancouver, the Flyers have struggled to push play in the right direction at 5-on-5, but Hart has been there to bail them out. Philadelphia has allowed 61 more shot attempts, 17 more high-danger scoring chances, and owns a -2.72 expected goal differential at 5-on-5 so far this season.

If Philadelphia doesn’t improve its 5-on-5 play, the Flyers will start to find themselves in a spot of bother. Especially on nights when Carter Hart is off his game or on the bench, which is where he’ll likely be on Wednesday night since it’s his team’s second game in as many nights. 

Despite losing Aaron Ekblad to injury, the Florida Panthers are still huge favorites to win their home opener on Wednesday night. The new-look Cats went 2-1 on the road against the Islanders, Sabres, and Bruins to start the season, but their underlying metrics from that three-game jaunt aren’t all that impressive compared to what we saw from this team last year.

David Pastrnak
David Pastrnak
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Betting on the NHL?

That said, the Panthers are working in a couple of key new players, most notably Matthew Tkachuk, and getting acclimated to a new head coach, so it will take some time for this team to click into gear. That is especially true on defense, where the Panthers are still trying to adjust to life without Mackenzie Weegar, who was traded to Calgary for Tkachuk. Without Weegar and now Ekblad, Florida is missing its top-pairing from the last two seasons and will need to lean on Gustav Forsling, Radko Gudas, Marc Staal, and Josh Mahura to play big minutes. 

The number on the Flyers is tempting with Florida’s injury situation, but with Felix Sandstrom starting in net for Philadelphia, it makes more sense to back the Over 6.5.

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