After missing out on the chance to take a prohibitive 2-0 series lead, the Calgary Flames seek to push the Winnipeg Jets to the brink of playoff elimination during Tuesday's qualifier matchup.
Calgary convincingly took Game 1 by a score of 4-1, yet after rallying from a two-goal deficit, couldn't extend its series lead and lost 3-2. It was a gritty effort by Winnipeg, who fought through key injuries to even the score.
Continue reading abe Insights' betting preview for the best odds available across all major sportsbooks, analysis of likely wagers trends and advanced stats that should help you better determine how to bet on this postseason clash.
Date: Tuesday, August 4
Time: 6:45 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Flames 60%; Jets 43%
Spread: CGY -1.5 (+190); WPG +1.5 (-190)
Moneyline: CGY -149; WPG +135
As mentioned in the intro, the Jets are banged up. Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk made was some are calling a dirty play in taking out Winnipeg co-leading scorer Mark Scheifele from Game 1. Right winger Patrik Laine also couldn't go in Game 2 after suffering an injury in the opener.
It's unclear whether those Jets will be good to go for the rest of this best-of-five. That'll help Flames netminder Cam Talbot, who'll be starting in goal opposite Connor Hellebuyck. Talbot must hold up his end of the bargain, given on how shorthanded Winnipeg is.
.774 vs. -.379: These stats illustrate the edge the Jets have defensively. Hellebuyck was second among qualified goalies in 2019-20 in save percentage above expected, per MoneyPuck.com. Talbot wasn't as good, suggesting Winnipeg's goalie is better suited to weather adversity brought on by key roster injuries.
29.8 vs. 21.8: Calgary had the No. 1 power play unit in the NHL following the All-Star break, and its success rate is reflected in that first set of digits. The latter total is that of the Jets, who ranked 12th but were considerably behind the Flames.
86 vs. 68: If the regular season is any indication, look out for a flurry of offense after the first intermission. Neither of these offenses score among the league's elite, but the Jets logged the fourth-most second-period goals, while Calgary was only 18th.
After scoring just two goals in 29 games this season, 23-year-old Jets forward Jansen Harkins netted the opening goal in Game 2, which speaks to how much Winnipeg collectively stepped up. Jets coach Paul Maurice praised how his team fought in their valiant Game 2 effort, saying, per TSN:
"Scheifele alone is just so important to all of the things that we do in our game … That could’ve been a real devastating event. It was a special time for our team to rally.
[...] I'm proud that we won the game in the manner that we did with the injuries that we had, because it will give the people that are not familiar with our season a little glimpse of what we’ve been doing all year."
The Flames' dynamic power play was also held in check by Winnipeg, going 0-for-6. It's not totally out of nowhere, considering the Jets had a top-five penalty killing unit over the course of their final 20 regular-season contests.
In both of these prior playoff meetings, though, Winnipeg has jumped out to an early lead and tried to essentially play keep-away. Calgary is too aggressive and physical in its forechecking and tactics to enact those methods. There'll be a temptation to do that again with key forwards missing, but the Jets must take the fight to the Flames instead.
Leading goal scorer Kyle Connor is still in action, and is due to light the lamp after coming up empty on all six of his prior shots on Talbot. Defenseman Neal Pionk can also pitch in on special teams on both ends, as he finished seventh in the league in power play assists with 22.
Health will be key in deciding this one, but oddsmakers see Calgary as the obvious favorite. Can Winnipeg stage another inspired stand, or will the Flames overwhelm the Jets as they did in Game 1?
Action on Calgary's moneyline and spread is bound to comprise the majority of bets, even if it's by a small margin. In terms of hedging, wagers should go on Winnipeg to win outright, because the puck line isn't rewarding enough, as you need to put down almost double the money of a regular bet.
Despite the middling goal production of these offenses, the betting public is bound to go toward the Over total. That's the side likely to be where the better payouts are anyway.
Note: Odds current as of 12:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 4.
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