Blues vs. Jets Playoff Odds, Betting Preview: Is the Wrong Team Favored?

Blues vs. Jets Playoff Odds, Betting Preview: Is the Wrong Team Favored? article feature image
Credit:

Jeff Curry, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Joel Edmundson, Tyler Myers

  • The St. Louis Blues are -130 favorites over the Winnipeg Jets in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs.
  • Michael Leboff analyzes the odds and betting market and previews the series.

St. Louis Blues vs. Winnipeg Jets Series Betting Odds

  • Blues odds: -130
  • Jets odds: +110

A couple of months ago the St. Louis Blues were allegedly sizing up whether or not to blow it all up, trade their best players and rebuild. They didn’t do that, and instead fired their head coach and called up rookie goalie Jordan Binnington. Those proved to be good decisions.

Only the Lightning had a better second half than St. Louis, which went 28-8-5 (122-point pace) over its last 41 games. Binnington played a large role in the Blues’ resurgence, but the truth is that St. Louis was fantastic, top-to-bottom. They owned the league’s best Goal Share and High-Danger Scoring Chance rate at 5v5 in the second half of the season.

The Jets are a different story. Winnipeg is very lucky that it banked a lot of points early in the season thanks to a hot run by backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit because the Jets stumbled in the second half, going 21-17-3 in their last 41 games.

After getting to the Western Conference Final last season, the Jets had high expectations this time around, but they don’t look very interested in meeting them.

A big reason for the Jets’ dip in form over the second act was that they lost their two best defensemen, Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey, to injury. With Morrissey and Byfuglien in the lineup, the Jets operate at above 51% in terms of shot share at 5v5. When they are subtracted, things take a big dip to well below average.

Both Byfuglien and Morrissey are expected to be healthy for Game 1 and the Jets will need them, because the Blues have the potential to run through the Western Conference.

According to their statistical profiles, you can make a sound argument that the Blues are the better team — and they likely are — but there are still concerns for St. Louis.

First of all, we don’t have a great way to project goaltending in any case and that becomes even more volatile when the goalie in question is a rookie in the middle of a hot streak. Binnington has been stupendous, sure, but he’s not going to continue to play at this freakish level forever.

The good news for Binnington is that the Blues have done a fantastic job limiting scoring chances. The Blues rank third in the NHL in expected goals and high-danger scoring chances allowed per 60 minutes. They take care of their rookie netminder.

That defense-first style should serve the Blues well in this matchup as the Jets boast a fantastic top-six up front.

It’s hard to count the Jets out with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine leading the charge, but they’ll have a tough time cracking St. Louis’ defense.

Even though I don’t think that the Jets, with Byfuglien and Morrissey, will be as bad as their statistical profile suggests, and I have concerns about trusting Binnington, I think the market is right to make St. Louis favorites.

Winnipeg has had a lot of trouble at 5v5 this season and their woes, coupled with the Blues ability to suppress scoring chances, does not make me confident that the Jets can replicate their run from last season.

These odds opened at -120/+100, but quickly moved to -130/+110. I think that St. Louis is still the only viable bet at this price, but I’d look around for a better number than -130, which is the cut-off point for me.


Odds courtesy of the Westgate SuperBook and current as of Sunday evening.

Data courtesy of Corsica, Evolving Hockey and Natural Stat Trick.

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