NHL Betting Picks for Thursday 3/28/24: Will the Panthers Dominate the Islanders?

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
NHL Betting Picks for Thursday 3/28/24: Will the Panthers Dominate the Islanders?

With a few weeks left in the regular season, some of these 14 games are hugely important for the teams participating in them.

Whether it's moneylines or total goals, there are plenty of ways to bet on the NHL action all season. It's a long 82-game campaign, meaning that the best selections of each night can be very different based on backup goalies coming into play, injuries that add up, and if teams are due for positive or negative swings.

Let's dive into the best bets for tonight.

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All NHL betting odds and totals are from the NHL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All advanced statistics are used from MoneyPuck.com and NaturalStatTrick.com.

NHL Best Bets

Calgary Flames at St. Louis Blues

Blues Moneyline (-130)

We faded the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, and that paid off for us. Now, we can back a better team against them and not have to lay too big of a number.

The Flames lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in that game, and the 'Hawks are one of the worst teams in the NHL. Today, the Flames will face a St. Louis Blues team that has some chance of making the playoffs.

That loss made it four defeats in a row for Calgary. Since March 1 -- when they decided to sell off pieces ahead of the trade deadline -- they are 4-8-0 and have allowed 3.92 goals per game.

St. Louis, meanwhile, is 8-4-1 in that same time span. They are six points out of a playoff spot at the moment, so they definitely need a win. Jordan Binnington has taken a lot of flack over the last few seasons, but he has quietly been excellent this year. He's posted 14.1 goals saved above expected (GSAx), good for the seventh-best in the league.

The recent versions of these two teams heavily favors the Blues, so I don't mind laying -130 with them tonight.

Dallas Stars vs Vancouver Canucks

Over 6.5 Goals (+106)

The Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks are two heavyweights in the Western Conference, and we could see each of them light the lamp often tonight.

Dallas had the reputation of being a defensive, low-scoring team for a few seasons. That's not the case this year, as they are second in the NHL in goals per game. They haven't gotten strong goaltending from the normally solid Jake Oettinger, who has -5.4 GSAx this season.

Vancouver is in a similar situation to Dallas. They have been scoring for fun this season, ranking fifth in the league in goals per game. They will be without starting goalie Thatcher Demko and will turn to Casey DeSmith in net. DeSmith is below water in GSAx, allowing 1.0 goals above expected.

Both teams are loaded with forward depth. Vancouver has three of the top 20 goal scorers in the league. Dallas has added two young potential stars in Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven to their forwards, giving them three legitimate scoring lines.

Getting +106 on this bet is easy to like as it could be a goal-fest. The model on numberFire agrees with this bet, giving the over a 57.3% chance to hit.

New York Islanders at Florida Panthers

Panthers -1.5 (+126)

Arguably the best team in the NHL, the Florida Panthers are at home tonight against the New York Islanders.

While the Panthers are playing for just seeding atop the Eastern Conference, the Islanders are desperate for a win to help them make the playoffs. They've hit a bad skid at the exact wrong time, going 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

Florida ranks second in expected goal (xG) rate this season while the Islanders are 23rd. The Panthers also allow the fewest goals per game while New York is 20th in goals per game.

You may think the Islanders are catching a break by not seeing starter Sergei Bobrovsky in net for Florida. However, backup goalie Anthony Stolarz is playing lights out this season. He is actually first in GSAx per 60 minutes among goalies who have played at least 20 games.

The only reason the Islanders are in the playoff hunt is because of the NHL's system of awarding a point for losing in overtime. In reality, they've lost 41 games and won just 30. That kind of stuff will make them competitive against many teams in the league but not an elite team like Florida.

The +126 number here offers a little value, per numberFire. The model at numberFire gives Florida a 44.9% chance to cover. The +126 odds imply a 44.2% chance.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.