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Devils vs. Flyers odds, prediction: At what price should you bet on Philadelphia?

Will the market move the Flyers into range for a bet on Opening Night?

Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Nashville Predators at Wells Fargo Center on March 17, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Nashville Predators at Wells Fargo Center on March 17, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTim Nwachukwu / Getty Images

The fact that the Philadelphia Flyers will open their season as a home underdog against the New Jersey Devils tells you everything you need to know about the expectations surrounding this team for 2022-23.

The Flyers are unlikely to be competitive and they’re already dealing with an injury crisis as Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier, Cam Atkinson and Bobby Brink are all out for the time being, while Carter Hart and Joel Farabee both dealt with injuries in the preseason.

At the time of writing, the Devils are sitting at -135 at FanDuel, but given the public sentiment around the Flyers, we’ll likely see this line continue to move toward New Jersey.

That begs the question: At what point should you hold your nose and jump in on the Flyers?

Although expectations are quite high for the Devils relative to where they’ve finished the past two seasons, that doesn’t mean that New Jersey isn’t without some significant flaws, most notably in goal.

Last season was an absolute nightmare for Mackenzie Blackwood. Not only was the 25-year-old netminder a net negative in goal with an .894 save percentage and a -14.6 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) in 25 games, but Blackwood dealt with injuries and some off-ice drama because of his vaccination status as well. There were rumors swirling that the Devils were ready to move on from Blackwood, but cooler heads prevailed and New Jersey instead brought in Vitek Vanecek from Washington to serve as Blackwood’s deputy.

Vanecek posted a .907 save percentage and a -10.4 GSAx across 79 contests for the Caps over the last two seasons, so he, too, is an underwhelming option in net for the Devils.

This isn’t to say that the Flyers will have a decided edge in goal – Carter Hart has struggled over the past two seasons, as well – but it does show that the Devils’ goaltending situation makes them a dangerous team to back when they’re the favorite, especially on the road.

And unlike other teams with prolific offenses and suspect goaltending tandems (Edmonton, Toronto, Colorado), the Devils aren’t at the point yet where they can be trusted to score enough to paper over inadequate netminding. Whether Philadelphia’s offense, which will feature just one 20-goal scorer from last season (James van Riemsdyk), can take advantage of that weakness remains to be seen, but there is a path to success for the underdogs on Thursday night.

Which brings us to the question at the top: At what point does this number become playable for a bet on the Flyers on Thursday night?

» READ MORE: NHL futures: Will the Philadelphia Flyers have the worst record in the NHL?

At their listed price of +115, the market is implying that Philadelphia has a 46.5% (without adjusting for the vigorish) chance of beating the Devils on Thursday night. Given that it’s Opening Night and the Flyers are at home (home-ice advantage is roughly worth 5% in the NHL), we’re getting closer, but we’re just not there yet.

Should the money continue to pile in on New Jersey – which is entirely plausible given the preseason hype around the Devils, the Flyers’ injury scenario and the market’s disdain for Philadelphia coming into the season – and we see a +130 pop on the Flyers then it’s time to grit your teeth and jump in on the Broad Street Bullies.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.