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NHL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi offers his pick for this bout between the Wild and the Flames on Tuesday night.

Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames Prediction: Fade the Home Team

As we enter March, the games are starting to feel more important. The NHL trade deadline is exactly three weeks away, so we can expect the playoff teams to start making moves in hopes of bolstering their rosters. One of the games on Tuesday is a matchup between the Wild and the Flames, two of the likely playoff teams in the Western Conference. Here is my best bet for the matchup.

Bet $10, Win $200 If the Flames Score

Wild vs. Flames Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Tuesday, March 1

Game Time: 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN+

Puck Line: Wild -1 (+175)

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Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames Puck Line

Wild vs. Flames Prediction

The Calgary Flames (31-14-6) are playing their best hockey of the season, having won 11 of their last 12. They've taken a three-point lead over the second-place Kings in the Pacific division, and also hold three games in hand. Calgary's last win was a 7-3 rout of the Wild in the first leg of their home-and-home. Now, the two teams return to Minnesota for the second.

The Wild (31-16-3) have hit a rough patch over the last couple of weeks. They are on a three-game losing streak, have lost six of their last nine, and have fallen to third place in the Central. Unless they can turn it around quickly, they risk sliding out of the top three altogether and falling into the wildcard mix.

By virtue of their recent form, the Flames have the top 5v5 expected goals share in the entire league at 56.73%. The Wild trail in 14th with a respectable but unremarkable share of 51.19%. This means that Calgary consistently controls the flow of play, generating high-quality chances on offense while successfully suppressing their opposition on defense. This is exactly how the last matchup between these teams went—the Flames exerted their will and dominated the Wild, generating more than twice their expected goals (and actual goals, of course). Tuesday's game could plausibly go the same way.

The Flames also have the superior goaltender. Jacob Markstrom has fallen off a bit since his sizzling start to the year, but he is still 12th in the NHL with 10.7 goals saved above expected. He also leads the NHL with eight shutouts. Cam Talbot is the probable starter for the Wild in the other net —he has allowed 1.2 more goals than expected this season. Markstrom is easily the better starter, and he will give Calgary an edge in this contest.

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Both of Calgary's special teams are clear of Minnesota's. The Flames' power play ranks 11th with a conversion rate of 22.3%; the Wild's unit trails in 18th, having scored on 20% of their opportunities. Calgary's penalty kill is also much better—it ranks 6th with a kill rate of 84.5%, while Minnesota's PK has just the 19th best success rate at 78.7%.

When looking at these key factors—even strength quality, special teams play, goaltending, and recent form—it's apparent that the Flames have an advantage in all four. The one thing that Minnesota does have going for them is that this game is taking place at Xcel Energy Center, where the Wild are 16-4-1 this season. However, that in and of itself is not enough to offset the fact that Calgary is simply a better team in all respects—the Flames should be favored here. The game is currently priced as a pick'em, which is an easy bet for me. I would bet the Flames all the way down to -115.

Wild vs. Flames Pick

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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