Red Wings vs. Blackhawks Odds and Picks: Wrong Team Favored in Matchup Between Old Rivals (January 22)

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks Odds and Picks: Wrong Team Favored in Matchup Between Old Rivals (January 22) article feature image
Credit:

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Detroit’s Bobby Ryan.

  • Two of the worst projected teams in the league meet on Friday night in Chicago.
  • The Red Wings have actually been respectable after a historically bad 2019-20 season.
  • Read the betting preview below, including a prediction that the wrong team is favored.

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks Odds

Red Wings Odds +115
Blackhawks Odds -133
Over/Under 6
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NHL.tv
Odds as of Thursday night and via BetMGM, which is now live in Michigan!

The Detroit Red Wings head to Chicago on Friday night to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams are undergoing a rebuild, and neither entered the season with anything resembling high expectations.

Everyone loves betting on games involving two good teams, but sometimes the most value can be found while handicapping the less-desirable games. In this matchup of two rebuilding teams, is there an edge to be found?

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings were a historically bad team a year ago, winning just 17 of their 71 games last season and allowed 122 more goals than they scored. They lost more than 75% of their games and had an average margin of defeat of nearly two goals.

Thankfully for the Detroit faithful, the beginning of this season has seen some semblance of respectability. The Red Wings have played two games each against the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets and came out with a win against each. Through four games, they actually are outpacing their opponents (25 to 22) in terms of high danger chances at 5-on-5.

Steve Yzerman made some minor but shrewd moves during the offseason to stabilize the Red Wings. He signed Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan to bolster their middle-six forwards. He also added Marc Staal, Jon Merill and Troy Stetcher to add depth to the defense.

Yzerman’s biggest move was probably the signing of goaltender Thomas Greiss. Greiss joined the Red Wings after five seasons with the Islanders. The German goaltender has posted a nearly +20 goals saved above average (GSAA) mark over the past two seasons. He was brought in to replace Jimmy Howard, who posted a -20.78 GSAA in 27 starts last season.

Nobody is saying the Red Wings are a good team, but it seems like they’re much improved from their awful showing last season.

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Chicago Blackhawks

Long gone are the Chicago Blackhawks teams that won three Stanley Cups in a six-year span. Some players from that core remain, but the Blackhawks have fallen from a mini-dynasty to one of the worst teams in the league.

The problem for the Blackhawks begins in net. The Blackhawks have played four games thus far. They’ve started three different goalies. All four games ended with the Blackhawks allowing five goals. Collin Delia has gotten two starts, and has a goals saved above expectation (GSAx) of -4.92. Kevin Lankinen got the most recent start for Chicago, posting a -2.17 GSAx. Leading the troops is Malcolm Subban, who started the season opener and posted a GSAx of “only” -1.66.

The Blackhawks finished last season with the worst defense in the league. Their expected goals against per 60 minutes was 2.64, dead last of all 31 teams. However, this season they’ve been middle of the pack with a 2.08 mark. While I don’t think this is a good defense, it hasn’t been bad enough to warrant 20 goals against in four games. I shudder to think about what can happen if the defense reverts to last season’s form.

Offensively, the Blackhawks are without Jonathan Toews. Their captain and top center has been out since the first day of training camp with an unknown medical issue. While Patrick Kane remains one of the more dangerous forwards in the league, the team is missing the depth and support that made them so dangerous a few seasons ago.

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks Best Bet

I’m absolutely floored that Chicago is a decently sized favorite in this game. I think this is an example of the market not yet adjusting for Detroit’s improvement from last season. Chicago also still has some name recognition as a team that recently had a lot of success and still has some great players.

Detroit has played two good teams tough so far this season. Carolina is one of the better teams in the league while Columbus is a solid team that is in the mix every season.

On the other hand, Chicago simply cannot stop the puck from going in the back of the net. Corey Crawford isn’t walking through that door. Subban, Delia and Lankinen are all huge question marks who have not earned the benefit of the doubt.

I expected Detroit to be slight favorites in this game, and at plus-money will back the Red Wings to come away with the win.

The Bet: Detroit ML +115

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