Blues vs. Blue Jackets Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back St. Louis to Win Big
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Kyrou.
Blues vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+150|
|Time||5 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
The Columbus Blue Jackets host the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. It’ll be the final time both teams face off after the Blues won convincingly in November, 6-3. St. Louis comes in as the favorites at -175, while the Jackets are the home underdog at +150.
Since the All Star break, it’s been quite an inconsistent road for the Blues. They’ve still managed to hold onto the second spot in the Central, but they’ve gone 4-3-3 in their last 10.
Everyone knows when you play the Blue Jackets, it’ll never be easy. Even with a porous defense, the Jackets have managed an above .500 record. Similar to their counterparts, they’ve had a hard time maintaining consistency, with a 4-4-2 record in their last 10 games.
Blues Not Driving Play
The Blues are loaded with talent on both ends of the ice, and it’s shown in the standings. Jordan Kyrou is emerging as a superstar (averaging over a point per game), Vladimir Tarasenko is having a resurgence season, and Pavel Buchnevich has proven to be a stellar acquisition.
They will be without a few key pieces though — Robert Thomas is listed as day-to-day with an illness, while both Tyler Bozak and Scott Perunovich are still ailing from injuries.
Even though St. Louis is one of the better teams coming out of the West, driving play isn’t one of their specialties. While they average the fifth-most goals per game (3.54), they get most of their offense on the power play, scoring 26.3% of the time. When playing 5-on-5 they certainly need to be better, as they don’t generate a lot of high danger chances, and are 21st in expected goals with a 47.63 xGF%.
The St. Louis defense has held up well. They average the eighth-fewest goals against per game at 2.76 and don’t allow many high danger chances — which helps the sometimes shaky goaltending. When down a man, they’ve proved their worth with an 82.7% success rate on the penalty kill.
The goaltending situation is up in the air these days. Jordan Binnington seemingly lost his No. 1 spot to Ville Husso, who has stood on his head since returning from injury.
Husso is putting up elite numbers with a .930 SV% and a +16.0 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected), while the former Cup winner Binnington is now at a .903 SV% and a -5.1 GSAx — a drastic fall from grace. My guess is that Husso starts in this matchup, but I’d monitor it.
Blue Jackets Staying Competitive
Columbus has managed to stay competitive in a tough Eastern Conference, but the likelihood of them making the playoffs is small. They’ve gotten exceptional production out of Patrik Laine, who seems to have found a home in Ohio’s capital.
Along with Laine, Oliver Bjorkstrand and captain Boone Jenner (who will be out with an injury) are having great seasons, as both have netted 20-plus goals.
Regardless of the fact that Columbus has gotten great production from a few of their players, they’re an exceptionally bad team at driving play. While they score a lot of goals (3.25 GPG), the Jackets are ranked 31st in expected goals with a 44.18 xGF%. The power play isn’t much to write home about either, only scoring at an 18.3% clip.
Defensively, they’re just as bad, averaging the third-most goals against 3.67, and the most high danger chances. The one thing that they excel at is their penalty kill, as they have a 79.2% success rate.
It hasn’t been easy for Columbus goaltenders. Both Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo have struggled throughout the season. Merzlikins has received the majority of the starts and is posting a .903 SV% and a -6.2 GSAx, while his partner Korpisalo is posting an .880 SV% and a -8.7 GSAx. Merzlikins gives the Jackets the best chance to win, and I think we’ll see him take the crease in this bout.
Blues vs. Blue Jackets Pick
While Columbus and St. Louis have gotten similar results recently, I like the Blues coming out of this game, as their talent will overwhelm the Jackets.
The Blues aren’t a great offensive team analytically, but the Jackets are awful on the defensive end. Given the struggles that their goalies have endured and the possibility of a few power play opportunities for the Blues, I think this can be the perfect recipe for St. Louis to win big.
Pick: St. Louis Blues -1.5 (+140)