The Calgary Flames are one of the NHL’s most exciting teams to follow. While local fans would prefer that the Flames stay at the top of the Pacific Division and sweep each Western Conference final, there’s something to be said about rising in the rankings later in the season—especially when the odds aren’t in a team’s favour.
And when it comes to underdogs worth rooting for, the Flames offer plenty of dynamism on the rink. Throw in stars like the newly signed Nazem Kadri or last season’s trade deadline add Tyler Toffoli and there is plenty to be excited about when each game starts—no matter what the odds say and which team oddsmakers are leaning towards.
Since the Flames fought for their last Stanley Cup trophy in 2004, the team has experienced highs and lows. But fans have been along for the ride as the Flames have evolved along with the NHL. Since 2000, online sports betting culture has changed. Today, many bettors are focused on things like player props and period markets. This lets them dive into a game’s more granular outcomes, which can be especially attractive when a team has a top scorer or playmaker.
They’re also a great option when an NHL team’s prospects for the postseason are low. However, although props are entertaining, there’s nothing better than sweeping an underdog win—especially when there’s a favourite from sportsbooks. As the 2022–23 season heads past the halfway point, let’s cover some of the Flames’ top underdog wins from this season.
Battle of Alberta (October 15, 2022)
Heading into the October 15 Battle of Alberta, all eyes were on the Edmonton Oilers to bag a win. At the time of the game, oddsmakers only had limited preseason and openers to gauge which team would win. The Flames were coming off an impressive win against the Colorado Avalanche, while the Oilers were straight off a win against the Vancouver Canucks. Sportsbooks focused in on the Flames’ offence, which out-shot the Avalanche and the Oilers in their openers.
But the Connor McDavid effect meant that oddsmakers stuck with the Oilers. While the Flames came out swinging in terms of offence, sportsbooks underestimated just how intensely the Flames were focused on beating the Oilers—especially after last season’s playoff elimination.
Regular Season, Winnipeg Jets (November 12, 2022)
Heading into this November 12 faceoff, the Flames were desperate to rekindle the fire they’d lit in October. After starting the season with a 5–1–0 record, the Flames lost the next four games, tied the next two, and then followed up with two more losses on the road against the Devils and then Bruins. The odds were not in the Flames’ favour given their recent history and their injured reserve.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets were heading into the game with an 8–3–1 record. Oddsmakers favoured the Jets to keep their momentum going—but it seems that faceoffs against the elite Devils and Bruins helped prep the Flames for top-tier playing. And while the Flames had trouble finishing while on the road, they ended their early-season losing streak with a decisive 3–2 home victory.
Regular Season, Seattle Kraken (December 28, 2022)
-111 vs. -108
Let’s be clear about this underdog win: the Flames were the -111 favorite to beat the -108 Kraken. Clearly, most sportsbooks narrowly favoured the Flames to take down the Kraken by three points. But the Flames were off a fresh 2–1 loss in the season’s third Battle of Alberta against the Oilers.
And by fresh, we mean the squad had just a bit over 24 hours to bounce back physically and mentally from the loss. However, sportsbooks were keeping a close eye on that Tuesday night loss. Though the Oilers won, the Flames outshot the team 42–16, which marked the eighth straight game that the team outshot their opponents. That momentum carried over into the December 28 match against the Kraken, which saw the Flames notch a 3–2 home win.
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