Free Picks: Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Panthers vs Hurricanes NHL
Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Panthers, NHL, BB&T Center

Thursday night features two Stanley Cup hopefuls going head-to-head. The Panthers and Hurricanes are within striking distance of one another in the standings. For this contest, I take a look at how effective both teams have been in the opening 20 minutes, compared to later parts in the game. Will my optimism of first-period defense be enough for my wager to cash?

Florida remains a top Stanley Cup contender

When Aaron Ekblad went down with a leg injury, I thought that was the end of the Florida Panthers. For a team to lose the heart and soul of their franchise in such a crushing way is not easy to overcome. But for the Florida Panthers, they are trucking on without one of their Alternate Captains.

Florida’s ability to persevere has been a huge reason they remain near the top of the standings. Thursday night, Florida will be challenged once again when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

For this BetPicks prediction, I think I want to stay away from the Moneyline and Puck Line. When looking at statistics between these teams, something caught my eye that made me flip the switch from my normal wagers.

Florida and Carolina are two of the highest-scoring teams in the league. However, they don’t create much damage in the first period.

Focusing on the Canes, Carolina has scored 34 of 142 goals in the first period, which is good for 23 percent of all goals.

On top of that, Carolina has allowed the least number of goals in the first period. In the third period, they allow 48 goals compared to the opening frame where they have only allowed 24.

Switching things over to Florida, we see the same trend. Florida’s first period is their lowest scoring period in regulation. Adding to that, the Panthers have allowed the least number of goals in the first period as well.

Carolina and Florida seemingly strike more throughout the game, rather than off the hop. This is why I think taking the under in total goals for the first period will be your best NHL bet for this contest.

The value is a nice touch as well. At +105, I like the low-risk, high reward for this wager.

I’ll be cheering for tight defense in the opening frame as I try to double my money in the first period.

Stats

  • The total has gone under in 5 straight Carolina games.
  • Florida averages 2.50 goals per game in last 10 against Carolina.
  • The Panthers rank 6th in goals against at home.
  • Carolina have allowed just 13 goals in the 1st period on the road.

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have always wanted to be a writer and sports are my favorite thing in the world, so I combined the two to make a career. I have been a long-time gambler and sports betting writer that isn't afraid to look at the underdog or specials. I am covering the NHL, MLB and NCAA Football for BetPicks.ca and am a huge fan of both sports - as well as many others. Follow me on Twitter (@Patrick_Trudeau) so we can talk betting, sports, or why ketchup DOES belong on Poutine.