Desperate Attempt to Qualify for 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Makes Flames' Money Line Our NHL Pick

Ross Benjamin

Friday, February 20, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

Our resident NHL consultant breaks down the Pacific Division battle tonight between Anaheim and Calgary. This revealing NHL betting preview article also concludes with a money line selection on this game.

Flames at the Duck Pond
The Calgary Flames will host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at 9:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds. at BetOnline, Calgary is a -120 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.5. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between these clubs, the Ducks have won two of those contests, and two of the three have gone over the total.

 

Resilient Flames
When the Calgary Flames suffered through an eight game losing streak in December, many of the NHL pundits came out of the closet to chime in with “I told you so”. However, those same so called experts have returned to their favorite hiding spots, due in large part to the Flames going15-8 against the money line since that time. The pessimists will be quick to point out that sixteen of those previous twenty-three games were played at home. I would counter that by saying, granted they did go 10-6 on home ice during this successful stretch, but let’s not omit their stellar 5-2 mark on the road as well. Tonight will be the finale of a four game in seven day home stand for the Flames which has saw them go 2-1 thus far.

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Divisional Dominance and Superb Rate of Return
Calgary has gone a terrific 18-6 against the money line versus division opponents this season. Hypothetically, if you made a $100 money line wager on the Flames in each of their games versus Pacific Division teams, you would’ve realized a profit of $1580 thus far. You would be hard pressed to attain that type of return on investment with any NHL team this season in a specific situation.

 

Ducks Recent Struggles
The Anaheim Ducks enter tonight by having gone 1-5 against the money line in their previous six games, and were outscored by a cumulative 24-13 margin. Their top goaltender Fredrik Andersen has been sidelined by a neck injury, and hasn’t appeared in a game since a 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay on February 8th. John Gibson is slated to start in goal tonight for fourth consecutive game. This will be just the eighth start of the season for Gibson, and he’s gone 3-4 with a .907 save percentage during the first seven. The Ducks have gone a very respectable 16-12 against the money line on the road during the 2014-2015 NHL campaign.

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Final Analysis
The Flames are desperately attempting to defy the NHL futures odds that were posted at the start of the season, and qualify for the 2014-2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Heading into tonight, they’re tied for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference with the San Jose, and had two games in hand on the Sharks.

Although the Ducks are reeling a bit, they still have a comfortable eight point lead over the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the Pacific Division. With all being considered, I’m going to have a small lean on fading the Ducks in this spot as one of my NHL picks for Friday.

NHL Pick: Play on Calgary -120 over Anaheim on the money line at BetOnline.