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Preds-Canes: Deceptive Records

Posted by Webster Washington on 1/3/2016 5:51:45 AM

Records and statistics can often be deceptive in the middle of an NHL season, and that might be the case with the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes. The two teams face off Saturday night in Raleigh, and the betting odds on this matchup may offer an opportunity.

On paper, the Preds appear to have the advantage, cruising along at a plus-.500 record and are better than average in most statistical categories. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are treading water at just under .500 and are low on the totem pole of stat rankings in the league. But dig deeper – and that’s we all should do in handicapping – and a clear favorite is hard to find.

Letdown Factor?

Both teams are coming off of games against tough division foes. The Predators come into the game just off of road trips to Central Division rivals St. Louis and Dallas, while the ‘Canes played Metro Division opponents New Jersey, Tuesday, and Washington, Thursday. That in itself might add up to a nice under-5 bet at the right price, particularly if Pekka Rinne is in goal for the Predators.

Carolina, after a pitiful start this season, appears to have picked up the pace in December. Going into the Washington game, the ‘Canes were 7-5 on the month, having picked off the likes of Montreal, Pittsburgh and Chicago along the way. Veteran goalkeeper Cam Ward has averaged yielding 1.6 goals per game in his last five outings, and his backup, Eddie Lack, put in a nice 35-save performance last week in a 2-1 win at Chicago. They’re getting superb play from defenseman Justin Faulk, who leads the team in points and the league in power play goals (12).

Nashville has had an up and down year, but has played below their level of talent. The Preds had won only three of their last eight, going into Thursday’s game at Dallas. But having center Mike Smith back from a two-week injury absence may help their cause. Rumors that star defenseman Shea Weber could be up for a trade may not.

Rumor Roundup: Could trading Shea Weber become option if Predators slide? https://t.co/fRW53jtoPA pic.twitter.com/6BNvTGvsAc

— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 29, 2015

Betting Odds Offer Options

These are two under-the-radar teams with playoff potential. They’ve met only once this season, a 2-1 home win for Nashville in the first game of the year. But judging from their play of late, either team would be a good pick at a plus figure in the betting odds. The nature of the game spells under, because of playing division rivals on Thursday, and a standard +280 for a draw looks good in the 3-way category.

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