Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:51 AM

NHL Best Bets, Score Predictions for Monday Mar. 1

NHL Daily Free Picks & Predictions

VegasInsider.com NHL expert Matt Blunt provides his score predictions and best bets for two NHL games on Monday Mar. 1, 2021.

Carolina vs. Florida

  • Money-Line Odds: Carolina -118; Florida +102
  • Total (Over-Under): 6.5

Score Prediction: Florida 4 Carolina 2

Best Bet: Under 6.5

Given that Florida's hot start out of the gates this year – 7-3 SU – came against the rest of the Central Division not named Tampa Bay, Dallas or Carolina, I was always a little skeptical about how good this Panthers team really was.

Dallas may not be as good as they were a year ago, but for the Panthers to be 2-1 SU vs Tampa, 2-1 SU vs Dallas, and 1-1 SU vs Carolina since then, I have dined on a little bit of crow and given the Panthers much more respect when considering getting involved in their games.

Florida and Carolina have traded 4-3 wins in extra time with one another so far this season, with the Panthers winning their game in the extra five minutes, and Carolina winning in a shootout on Saturday.

With this being the fourth game in six nights for both clubs, I don't think we see as many goals from either side in this contest though, as Carolina is on a 1-3-1 O/U run in that specific role their past five tries, while the Panthers are on a 1-7 O/U run the last eight times they've played four in six.

Add in the fact that in all situations, Florida sits 4th best in the entire NHL in xGA/60 at 2.43, and I think we get a strong defensive effort from the Panthers from start to finish in this game.

Florida's not built to trade goals with a team like Carolina, as the Hurricanes 3.27 xGF/60 in all situations ranks 2nd overall in the entire league. With the Hurricanes scoring two goals or less in five of their seven losses this year, the blueprint is out there on how to beat them; play stout defensively.

Obviously much easier said than done, but the Panthers are built for it, and rather than risking the result in the 3-on-3 format or skills competition known as the shootout, Florida's best chance of success tonight is by setting the goal of allowing no more than two goals.

Florida had accomplished that feat in five straight games prior to Saturday's loss, and with the belief that it will be the Panthers who do end up coming out on top in this game ultimately, I do think going with the 'under' in this spot leaves a bit more margin for error should that ML thought end up being incorrect.

Minnesota vs. Vegas

  • Money-Line Odds: Minnesota +120; Vegas -139
  • Total (Over-Under): 5.5

Score Prediction: Vegas 4 Minnesota 2

Best Bet: Golden Knights ML

There aren't many hotter teams in the NHL than the Minnesota Wild right now, as the Wild have won six in a row and are lighting up the lamp seemingly at will during the run. They swept the back-to-back with the L.A. Kings on Friday/Saturday, as the Wild have now scored at least three goals in all six of these recent wins, and are brimming with confidence right now.

But facing this Golden Knights team is a much stiffer test than the majority of the opponents Minnesota has beaten during this run, as two wins over L.A. and Anaheim respectively were added to with a pair of 6-2 victories over San Jose and Colorado respectively.

Colorado is really only the legit threat there, and that loss they suffered to the Wild came after the Avalanche's four-game series with Vegas that was directly following a COVID hiatus. It was right before that hiatus that Colorado did manage to take two of three from this same Minnesota team, the only loss coming in OT.

So while recent form definitely can't be ignored with how good the Wild have been playing, I do believe they are a little overvalued for this matchup because of it.

Vegas hasn't been blowing teams away, but with a 7-3 SU run going in their last 10 games overall, and seven straight 'unders' cashing, this Golden Knights team is tough to get anything on in their own end. That type of play is going to cause numerous issues for Minnesota here, as the Knights 7th ranked xGA/60 of 2.56 should be enough to cool off Minnesota's offense quite a bit.

Should that not particularly be the whole case in this game, then the Knights T6 ranked xGF/60 of 2.94 should be able to hold their own against Minnesota as well. After all, it is the Wild who Vegas is tied with in that regard.

Minnesota's xGA/60 is actually a few points better (2.36) than what the Knights currently have on their resume, but Minnesota's also yet to play a single game against this Vegas team and the St Louis Blues this year, two of the teams expected to be in the top half of this West Division when all is said and done.

Beating up on the California teams can take many different forms for other West Division squads, and to me it's just another piece of evidence suggesting that Minnesota is an organization the betting markets should seriously consider selling high on.

Precisely what I'm doing tonight.

Daily Newsletter - Sign Up Today!

Sign up to get daily betting columns and advice delivered directly to your inbox.
by submitting your data, you agree to VegasInsider.com Privacy Policy

Daily Newsletter - Sign Up Today!

Sign up to get daily betting columns and advice delivered directly to your inbox.
by submitting your data, you agree to VegasInsider.com Privacy Policy

Daily Newsletter - Sign Up Today!

Sign up to get daily betting columns and advice delivered directly to your inbox.
by submitting your data, you agree to VegasInsider.com Privacy Policy

Daily Newsletter - Sign Up Today!

Sign up to get daily betting columns and advice delivered directly to your inbox.
by submitting your data, you agree to VegasInsider.com Privacy Policy

Daily Newsletter - Sign Up Today!

Sign up to get daily betting columns and advice delivered directly to your inbox.
by submitting your data, you agree to VegasInsider.com Privacy Policy
We may be compensated by the company links provided on this page. Read more

NHL News