Hurricanes vs. Panthers: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

Carolina vs Florida - NHL
Carolina vs. Florida, PNC Arena

In a division that was expected to be a runaway for a certain defending champion, the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are playing spoilers. Both teams are right on the heels of the Tampa Bay Lightning and making the Central Division one of the more fascinating divisional races in the NHL. The Hurricanes and Panthers have played three overtime contests already this season, so Sunday’s game should be another barnburner for critical points in the Central Division.

Free Picks

Aleksander Barkov has scored at least one point in six of his last seven contests, including five straight entering Sunday’s game. Barkov has done more setting up his linemates than actually scoring himself and he had an assist in each of the first two games this season against Carolina. He’s still a goal scoring threat with eight goals this year, but his 18 assists are what stand out about his performance this season. At +300 odds, the legal sports betting sites in New Jersey are high enough on Barkov having a two-point night to tamp down the odds a bit. However, there is still plenty of value on this wager in what could be a high-scoring game.

ALEKSANDER BARKOV SCORES 2+ POINTS

The first three games of the season between these two teams showed off the potential for a high-scoring contest. The teams were tied at 3 after 65 minutes in the first two meetings and combined for five goals in their most recent contest. With the Panthers playing the second game of a back-to-back, there will be chances for Carolina on home ice. However, the Panthers are coming off scoring 11 combined goals in a pair of wins over Nashville, so the offense is red-hot for Florida as well. I decided to pump up the wager half a goal from my initial thought because of the +277 odds from the NHL betting sites in New Jersey, and my confidence in both offenses. The Hurricanes rank fourth in goals per game and the Panthers are seventh as both are scoring more than 3.2 goals per game this season.

OVER 7.5 TOTAL GOALS

After losing two overtime games to Carolina at home last week, I expect the Panthers to come out with revenge on their mind as they face the Hurricanes on their home ice. All three previous games between these two teams required more than 60 minutes to decide, so the smart money might be on the +310 odds that this game goes to overtime. However, it seems unrealistic to think a fourth game between these two will head to an extra session, so I’m betting on Florida to take home both points for +188 odds from the hockey betting sites in New Jersey. The Panthers haven’t had extended streaks of poor play and there is a different confidence in this group that will carry over in Sunday’s contest.

FLORIDA PANTHERS WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Carolina Florida
888Sport
-139 +115
FanDuel
-146 +124
BetMGM
-140 +120

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the fourth of eight games this season between Carolina and Florida, and the first at the Hurricanes’ home rink. All three of the previous games between these two clubs needed more than 60 minutes to decide with the road team capturing the extra point on all three occasions.

Stats

  • Including this season’s matchups, the Hurricanes are 11-4 against the Panthers over the past five seasons to extend their lead in the all-time series to 65-51 with 11 ties.
  • The Hurricanes are the sixth-youngest team in the NHL this season with an average age of 27.1 years old.
  • The Panthers have six players with at least eight goals this season led by Jonathan Huberdeau with 10 goals. Also on the list is Aaron Ekblad, who leads all defensemen with nine goals so far this season.
  • Vincent Trocheck leads the Hurricanes with 12 goals and 21 points so far this season, just one more point than both Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, who sit on 20 points each.

Our Prediction for Carolina vs. Florida

Florida Panthers to win

These two teams are very evenly matched, which is why their first two meetings of the season went to overtime. The Hurricanes may have won four straight games, but they also had easier opponents the last two games after squeaking by the Panthers. Florida won a pair in Nashville and arrives in North Carolina with momentum again after the two tough losses to the Hurricanes. The Panthers might have just played Saturday night, but they will find a way to grind out a win in what has become a very crowded field near the top of the Central Division.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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