Canucks vs. Flames NHL Preview and Best Bet

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Vancouver Canucks. Rich Lam/Getty Images/AFP

In the battle of the eliminated, the Canucks and Flames are set to collide in a meaningless encounter at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. According to the markets its the hosts that have the considerable advantage – the Flames are priced anywhere between -175 to -180, depending on the best online sportsbook in question while the Canucks are priced as the significant underdogs at +155 to +160. Are the Flames the best bet as indicated by oddsmakers? Are the Canucks the better bet instead? Or should bettors look for value bets outside of moneyline markets?

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames

Thursday May 13, 2021, 9:00 PM EDT at Scotiabank Saddledome

Canucks and Flames Eliminated From Playoffs

Familiar foes Canucks (21-27-3) and Flames (23-26-3) find themselves in the North division’s basement and outside of the playoff frame, eliminated from the proceedings as the season winds down. The Canucks prop up the North Division o 45 points but they have five games left on the schedule. The Flames, in turn, are sat pretty in sixth place, one rung up the ladder, on 49 points and with four games left on the schedule.

Thursday’s contest marks the first of four games the pair are set to play in the regular season’s final lap, splitting evenly home and away venues. The Flames open their four-game series against the Canucks at home, prompting multiple major sports betting sites to corner the game in their camp. This market outlook is further underscored by recent form: the Flames strike a more convincing pose behind a modest 5-5-0 mark compared to the Canucks who are a woeful 2-8-0 in their last ten games.

Moreover, the Flames are coming off a winning performance against Ottawa at home, beating the Senators 6-1. Granted the Flames had gone into the encounter riding a two-game skid, but they turned the tables admirably with a convincing performance. Altogether, the Flames got scoring from six different players on the night with Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Stone all finding the net. Jakob Markstrom also had a solid night saving 19 of 20 shots for a .950 save percentage.

By contrast, the Canucks are coming off a losing effort against the Winnipeg Jets. Merely a day after they beat the Jets 3-1, the Canucks were decimated in a 5-0 beatdown. Branden Holtby, who got the start after Demko Thatcher helped the Canucks to victory the night before, was under pressure from the first puck drop, He came under fire with a barrage of shots, going 31 of 36 for an .861 save percentage. The Canucks were outshot 36-24 while going 0-for-2 with the man-advantage,

NHL Predictions and Picks

This game offers up little in the way of motivation to win given that both teams have been eliminated from Stanley Cup contention and are facing an idle summer ahead. Moreover, form is hardly anything to write home about for both the Canucks and the Flames, suggesting confidence may be an issue when they collide. That said, there is something to be said for finishing a campaign with pride and giving their diehard fans something to cheer about. On the money-line, the Flames are way too pricey given they’re modest form of late. Thus, for those bettors looking to back the Flames, the best bet for NHL picks is found on the puck-line where the Flames are pegged at -1.5 (+120).

Canucks bettors could look towards the money-line for the upset over the Flames but it comes with a caveat and that is it’s a bit of a longshot bet considering the Canucks have lost four of their six games with the Flames this season. This isn’t a bet for the fainthearted. For those on the fence, the best value either way is found in totals. Experts appear to be predicting a wide open and high-scoring showdown that is likely to go over 5.5 goals – most top-rated sportsbooks tip the 5.5 goals at -125 odds. Taking OVER 5.5 is an option, but for those that want to risk the biscuit a smidgen further, taking the OVER 6 at +102 might prove the better play.

NHL Pick: OVER 6 (+102) with Heritage