Flyers vs Islanders – NHL Pick for April 3rd
There are certainly more important games on the National Hockey League slate tonight than the clash between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders in Brooklyn. After all, Philadelphia has essentially clinched a playoff spot already, while the Islanders are playing out the string.
But when we’re looking for the best betting opportunities, the significance of the game doesn’t really matter. Sure, we could try to pick a winner in the biggest game of the night – the Atlantic Division showdown between the Bruins and Lightning in Tampa Bay – but if we don’t see a big edge, it doesn’t make for the wisest of wagers.
So even if Islanders fans haven’t exactly circled tonight’s game on the calendar, I’m excited to watch it. There are circumstances surrounding this matchup that make me believe we’ve got a great chance at hitting a winner, and I’ll always be happy to watch a winning bet come home.
Let’s check out the odds for tonight’s affair between Metropolitan Division rivals, then break down why I’ve circled this game for my NHL pick of the week.
Philadelphia Flyers/New York Islanders Betting Odds
If this game had been played a month or two ago, we’d likely see a pretty even moneyline. In fact, the Islanders were -150 favorites the last time these teams met in New York, a late November clash that the Isles won 5-4 in overtime.
But odds at this time of year are always inflated towards the more motivated team, and that’s exactly what we see again tonight. Philadelphia is laying a whopping -165 on the moneyline to get the road ‘W’ here, though +175 to cover the -1.5 puck line may be a more attractive option for Flyers backers. Meanwhile, the Islanders pay +149 on the moneyline to pull off the outright upset, and they’re -205 chalk on the +1.5 puck line to keep things within a goal.
Of more interest to me tonight is the total, which has been set at 6.5. Not only is that the highest Over/Under of the night, it’s also juiced towards the Over, with bookies assigning a -115 price tag for anyone wanting to bet on 7 goals or more being scored tonight. Anyone brave enough to take the Under between these clubs would be rewarded with a +104 takeback.
Flyers Finishing the Season Strong
What a roller coaster season it’s been for the Flyers! This is a team that was essentially given up for dead after suffering through a 10-game winless streak in November and December, and calls were rampant for the head of coach Dave Hakstol. But Philadelphia management kept the course by choosing not to can their bench boss, and they’ve been rewarded with a 32-14-7 record since.
Although a playoff spot is already pretty much in hand, the Flyers do have motivation down the stretch as they battle Columbus and Pittsburgh for one of the Metropolitan Division playoff berths, rather than settling for a wild card and having to take on a division champion in the first round. Philadelphia comes into action tonight tied with the Blue Jackets for the 3rd and final Metro spot, 2 points back of Pittsburgh.
That motivation has shown through of late as the Flyers have gone 5-0-3 in their last 8 games, and a red-hot offense has been the big reason for Philadelphia’s success. The Fly Guys have potted at least 4 goals in 6 of their last 8 outings, helping them overcome a leaky defense that has given up 33 goals in their last 10. With something still to play for, don’t expect Philadelphia to take its foot off the gas offensively tonight, particularly since the Flyers don’t have much confidence at the defensive end of the ice right now.
Islanders All About Offense to Close Out Year
It’s a shame that the Islanders’ style of hockey didn’t translate into a playoff spot. This is a team that is a lot of fun to watch on most nights, playing a free-wheeling style that has enabled them to rank eighth in the NHL in goals per game.
Unfortunately for New York, all that attention to offense has come at the price of any commitment to defense. The Isles are dead last in the NHL in goals allowed, shots allowed and penalty killing this year, and those numbers aren’t getting any better now that the start of the Islanders’ golf season is on the horizon. New York has been gashed for 25 goals in its last 6 games and has held just 1 of its last 9 opponents (the lowly Blackhawks) under 30 shots on net.
However, it’s not as if the Islanders are completely mailing it in. Players still want to pad their offensive numbers and the Isles have certainly been doing that of late, scoring 11 goals over their last 3 games after striking for a combined 10 goals in matchups against the Penguins and Lightning a couple of weeks ago. With the struggling Petr Mrazek (3 goals or more allowed in 6 of his last 7 starts and 10 of his last 12) expected to get the nod in net tonight for Philadelphia, John Tavares and the rest of New York’s snipers will be licking their chops for some more offensive success.
Flyers vs. Islanders Betting Pick
It may feel square, but all signs point to a high-scoring clash tonight. I’m convinced New York is going to score a few goals tonight, and the Flyers are motivated to keep up as they battle for a higher playoff seed.
It’s a high total, but 3 goals from each side guarantee us a winner. Flyers/Islanders Over 6.5 -115 is my NHL pick of the week.
$100 Stake Wins.....