Blue Jackets vs. Blackhawks Betting Odds, Picks: Back Chicago’s Defense?
Kamil Krzaczynski, USA TODAY Sports.
- The Chicago Blackhawks are -145 home favorites against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
- Should the Blackhawks be such a heavy favorite tonight?
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Chicago Blackhawks Odds
- Blue Jackets odds: +125
- Blackhawks odds: -145
- Over/Under: 6.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Chicago Blackhawks were a sight to behold last season. Patrick Kane was talismanic, Alex DeBrincat established himself as a dynamic goal-scorer and Jonathan Toews returned to form. And then there was the defense.
For a team with so much firepower, the ‘Hawks were an absolute mess in their own zone and that made them one of the most entertaining teams to watch as a neutral and one of the spookiest to watch as a bettor.
The Blackhawks were the league’s worst defensive team by expected goals, allowing a league-high 2.76 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. Despite a porous defense, the ‘Hawks enjoyed a second-half renaissance under new head coach Jeremy Colliton, playing at a 96-point pace over the second half of the season.
Chicago spent the offseason trying to shore up its defense, adding stable veterans Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta to a unit crying for stability. It’s only been four games, but the early results are not great.
The Blackhawks have given up the most high-danger chances per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 and their 2.48 xGA/60 ranks second-to-last.
Columbus’ offseason was very different from Chicago’s. The Blue Jackets were gutted, losing their two best forwards and all-world goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to free agency.
The exodus was drastic, but Columbus still graded out as a top-10 defensive team down the stretch and that has carried over into the new season.
The Blue Jackets rank inside the top 10 in both expected goals against and high-danger chances allowed per 60 minutes, and their low-event style should provide Chicago with a tough matchup, stylistically.
The Blackhawks thrive when their stars have free rein and Columbus should be able to limit space and contain the high-flying ‘Hawks. On the other side, the Blue Jackets don’t mind fighting through an ugly game. In fact that is exactly how they want to play.
Columbus’ goaltending is always a worry, but with the Blue Jackets’ defense going the way it is, it’s a risk worth taking.
These odds imply that Chicago wins this game 57.1% of the time. When you adjust that number for home-ice advantage, you’d get Chicago as a slight favorite over Columbus on neutral ice and rest.
I actually would flip that and rate the Jackets a smidge higher than Chicago. And thus, I think Columbus is in range for a bet at +120 or better.