Flames vs. Oilers Betting Odds & Pick: Calgary Should Have Edge Thanks to Goaltending
Derek Leung/Getty Images. Pictured: Rasmus Andersson and Mark Giordano.
- The Flames beat the Oilers 2-1 on Friday night.
- The two teams meet for the second straight night on Saturday.
- Will Calgary get two straight? Pete Truszkowski previews the matchup below.
Flames vs. Oilers Odds
|Day | Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday night and via DraftKings.|
The Battle of Alberta will once again take center stage in Western Canada on Saturday night. After the Edmonton Oilers defeating the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Friday night, the Flames will look to exact revenge on their bitter rivals.
Revenge won’t be easy for Calgary, as Edmonton’s offense gives coaches nightmares. Is there reason to believe the Flames can get back in the win column on the road after falling to the same team at home the previous night?
After Friday’s loss to Edmonton, the Flames record fell to a pedestrian 8-8-1. It’s a bit of a disappointing start for Calgary, which hoped the addition of Jacob Markstrom between the pipes could lead the team back to its 2019 form when it won the Western Conference.
Despite the average results, Calgary has played good hockey. The Flames rank eighth in the league with an expected goal rate of 52.4%. They’re also in the upper-half of the league when it comes to shot attempts and high danger chances.
It’s been a bit of an unlucky start for the Flames. They are outscoring their opponents at 5-on-5. They have unspectacular but solid special teams units. They’ve received tremendous goaltending and their shooting percentage is middle of the road. You’d expect a team with that resume to have a winning record, but it’s not yet the case with the Flames.
Despite the decent underlying metrics, Flames coach Geoff Ward has not been happy with his team. He told the media this past week that it was time for his team to “start giving a sh*t.” He called his team “non-competitive” in a game earlier in the week. He did slightly walk his comments back a little later in the week by claiming it’s not yet time to panic.
David Rittich got the start for Calgary on Friday night, which means we should expect Markstrom to be in the crease on Saturday. Markstrom has had a solid start to this season after his breakout year with Vancouver last year and major payday in the offseason. The Swedish netminder has a +1.37 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) through 14 games.
With Friday’s win, Edmonton’s record moved to 11-8-0 through 19 games. The Oilers have won five of their last six games as they make a push in the North division standings.
At this point, the Edmonton Oilers are what they are, despite coach Dave Tippett’s best efforts. They are a flawed defensive team that can outscore any team in the league due to their high-end talent. With that being said, I’m sure Tippett preferred Friday’s 2-1 win over the 8-5 and 6-4 games the Oilers have participated in earlier in the season.
Edmonton is middle-of-the-road when it comes to its underlying metrics. The Oilers are a bottom-five team in terms of shot-attempts, but they do a good job of limiting their opponents’ dangerous chances while having the talent to turn their looks into high-quality scoring opportunities. Their expected goal rate of 50.8% ranks 18th in the league.
Average is good enough when it comes to the Oilers. They have the talent level to vastly outproduce their metrics. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are two of the best players in hockey and can turn any rush up ice into a goal. Players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puuljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto have talent on their own, but they also benefit from their elite linemates.
Mike Smith has been a huge surprise for the Oilers between the pipes to open the season, but the 38-year-old played on Friday in Calgary, so we should expect Mikko Koskinen to get the start in Edmonton on Saturday. Koskinen has struggled to begin the year, ranking bottom-five in the league in terms of GSAx with a mark of -7.56.
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Flames vs. Oilers Best Bet
The all-Canadian North division has delivered what we expected. The Toronto Maple Leafs lead the division and the Ottawa Senators find themselves in the basement. The five other teams are exciting but flawed. Those five teams will compete for the three remaining playoff spots behind Toronto.
The Oilers and Flames find themselves in the midst of the wide-open part. You can make a case for either side to win this game, and that’s why this line is tight. Edmonton won a tight game on Friday after Calgary won the opening meeting between these teams earlier in the season.
I think the Flames are a more solid and responsible team than the Oilers, but Edmonton does have the talent edge. Trying to separate these teams came down to one factor in this game, and that’s goaltending.
Koskinen has not been good to begin the year. He opened the year as Edmonton’s starter, but it appears he’s lost that job to Smith. Markstrom has been solid for Calgary. He was pulled in his last start, so he probably wants to bounce back with a strong effort.
With these two teams pretty even, I’ll take the better goalie at plus-money. I’d bet the Flames as long as they are a plus-money underdog.
Pick: Calgary Flames (+100 or better)