The NHL resumes Thursday evening with a full slate of exciting on-ice action. Though hockey is quite the variant sport, where it’s rare to see favourites exceeding moneylines of -250ish, our featured showdown for Thursday evening does look at quite the mismatch.
Though the Detroit Red Wings are the hosts to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canes enter as commanding -220 favourites, and when you assess each squad’s roster and off-season moves, it is easy to understand why.
Carolina put together an impressive season in the bubble last year, routinely controlling play. Quietly this was one of the better 5v5 teams in all of hockey, consistently driving play in terms of scoring chances and expected goals. They enter 2021 in a new division, with really only the Tampa Bay Lightning as worthy competitors. This should be a huge step forward season for an emerging Canes squad.
Detroit on the other hand is still very much rebuilding and trying to once again put together a program their loyal fan base can be proud of. It’s been a slow build, and though they’re projected to be one of the league’s worst teams again in 2021, GM Steve Yzerman has built a group that should be tougher to play against. Will it make a difference in their home opener? Read on beneath the posted odds to find out our take, as well as the winning betting angle for Canes/Wings on Thursday evening.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Detroit Red Wings Betting Odds:
Carolina Hurricanes (-220)
@ Detroit Red Wings (+180)
Over 6 (+100)
Under 6 (-120)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick:
Despite being the road team and not having last change in their first game of the season, don’t expect that to concern Canes’ coach Rod Brind’Amour all that much. Carolina returns an impressive lineup in 2021, and off-season additions that complement their depth should only help.
Carolina will blend high-end talent like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov with excellent depth and speed options like Jesper Fast and Warren Foegele in their bottom six. Their forwards boast excellent quality through all four lines, while their defense is elite at shot suppression and puck movement. This is quietly one of the more complete lineups in hockey.
Expect the Canes to dictate the tempo and pace through all three periods Thursday evening. Their wave of offense will allow coach Brind’Amour to effectively roll his lines at the start of the season, likely beneficial as players play themselves into better game shape.
The Wings will struggle matching the potent attack of Carolina. Beyond their top trio of Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and new captain Dylan Larkin – this is essentially an AHL team that should get soundly out-skated and out-played when their depth options take the ice. Their defense is likely the worst in the entire NHL, and seeing as Carolina’s speed will force pucks into the Wings’ defensive zone – it’s likely going to be a tough opening night for Detroit’s new goalie, Thomas Greiss.
This is one of the biggest mismatches in hockey, and my rankings suggest it’s the third-best team going against the league’s 30th-best squad (only Chicago is worse). Carolina will be charged-up to start their season with a victory, and their speed and depth should overwhelm an unproven and inexperienced Wings’ squad, likely already playing not to be last in this Central division.
Though backing the Canes on the money-line may be steep for a variant sport such as hockey, Carolina is very fairly priced given the lofty mismatch in rosters. If you can shop around and find -1 lines, that is advisable – though feel comfortable eating the juice and backing a powerful and underrated Canes squad on Thursday night.