Wild on the Road Again
The Wild made a lot of trips to the coast during their 1-year stint in the West division last season, and they got to start off the 2021/22 NHL campaign in the same manner with a visit to Anaheim. The Ducks already have a win under their belts by snagging a 4-1 upset in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Even with the Ducks already having a game in, Bovada has Minnesota as -170 road favorites. BetOnline drops the betting odds a bit with the Wild -165, but it’s obvious oddsmakers consider Minnesota the better squad here. The Wild have taken seven straight head to head vs. Anaheim.
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Minnesota Starting Fresh
Futures betting on Minnesota has them a little higher than you might expect with 25/1 betting odds to win the Stanley Cup. That’s the 10th highest odds in the league, so the Wild have some expectations this season.
Make no mistake Minnesota was really good last season, finishing 3rd in the West with a 35-16-5 record. That division featured the two teams tied for the most points in the NHL (82) in the Avalanche and Golden Knights and required the Wild to do a lot of travel going back and forth from the Twin Cities to Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, Arizona – and Las Vegas and Denver.
A big reason for Minnesota’s success last year was budding superstar Kirill Kaprizov who won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. He was rewarded with a 5-year contract extension in the offseason and looks to become an even more dynamic scorer in year two. Kaprizov was 8th in the league last year with 27 goals.
The Wild do have some turnover from last year’s team that was eliminated by Vegas in the 1st round of the playoffs in a grueling 7-game series. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter had both been with Minnesota for the last nine seasons.
Anaheim Off to a Great Start
The Ducks were able to get the win in the season opener at home, with NHL odds of +134. Anaheim faces a huge test in game two of the year after losing seven straight to Minnesota, but they’ve had a chance to shake off the offseason rust and have some value as +150 underdogs.
Minnesota has a young star in Kaprizov, but Anaheim debuted 18-year-old Mason McTavish as he had a goal and an assist in his first regular-season appearance on Wednesday. Kevin Shattenkirk added a goal, as did Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell – both in the power play.
Can the Ducks keep that offensive momentum going because they were still the worst scoring team in the league last season at 2.2 goals/game. The Ducks snuck four of their 22 SOG past veteran Connor Hellebuyck, and they get another veteran in the net on Friday as Cam Talbot comes to town after a 19-8-5 season in which he posted a 2.63 GAA.
John Gibson gives the Ducks solid value in NHL moneyline betting (+150) if he plays in the net as he did on Wednesday. Gibson stopped 33 of 34 shots from a Winnipeg offense that had a top 12 scoring offense in the league last year.
Wild at Ducks Pick
It’s huge that Anaheim gets a 2nd straight home game while Minnesota has to make a long jaunt, and it’s their season opener. It’s going to take some time for the Wild to adjust without the leadership of Suter and Parise as well, and now Kaprizov has the pressure of being ‘the man.’
Nobody could blame a person for a Minnesota play either, considering they’ve dominated this series, but the price is high for the situation.
Pick: Ducks +150