Wild's and Panthers' Offenses to Be Tamed in Florida

Dana Lane

Friday, December 22, 2017 6:23 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 6:23 PM UTC

The Minnesota Wild's offense will take a step back when they roll into the BB&T Center outside Miami to take on the Florida Panthers on Friday night, with a puck drop of 7:30 ET.

Minnesota Wild at Florida PanthersFree NHL Pick: Under 5.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Another winner here Thursday night when the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks cashed our ticket at the 5:44 mark of the 3rd period, giving my followers another easy and early winner. It’s been a fantastic year so far, so let’s try to keep momentum going tonight. As always, make sure to go the SBR odds page to catch the best number.

As I stated yesterday, I didn’t love the card on Thursday, especially when it seemed like the whole betting community was on the OVER. We all ended up happy, but I’m much more comfortable with tonight’s selection. We see at the SBR odds page that the public and professional bettors have a definitive opinion on the side and total. We’re not on the side but I see that over 95% of all tickets have come in on the Minnesota Wild, pushing this number from Florida -120 to a slight underdog at Pinnacle.

I could see this kind of reaction if Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk was coming back, but Mike Yeo has confirmed that Alex Stalock will get the start. He allowed four goals on 32 shots against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Stalock is 4-2 with a shutout in relief of Dubnyk, but he’s given up at least four goals in 4 of his last six starts. Perhaps some of the reaction is word that Dubnyk has returned to practice and will travel with the team or the fact that Minnesota is simply better, but I’m not sure it is good enough to push this kind of reaction, especially on the road.

Our focus is on the total, another area where both professional and the public are on the same page. More than 94% of the early bets have come in on the OVER, pushing the number from 5.5 -125 (UNDER) to 5.5 -106 (UNDER). It’s rare you see a game where there are such clear opinions. Stranger when you figure the UNDER has cashed in four of the Panthers' last five games. Florida managed just 10 goals in those contest. James Reimer, who has started to fill in nicely for Roberto Luongo, gets the start for the Panthers in goal.

Reimer was fantastic on a recent road trip even though the Panthers didn’t back him offensively at times. Reimer, who is starting his 8th straight game, was 2-2-1 on the trip with a .936 save percentage, allowing just 11 goals. Three of his last five starts forced Reimer to make at least 34 saves. Panthers coach Bob Boughner is still shifting lines around to find the right formula to jump-start the league’s 19th-ranked offensive.

Thankfully for us the Panthers are facing the Wild’s 17th ranked offense. I don’t see how this one gets over the total but apparently the rest of the world does. We’ll leave them in their seats as we cash our UNDER ticket.

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