Oilers-Jets Betting Preview: Will Edmonton Stay Hot Under Hitchcock?
Stan Szeto, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ken Hitchcock
Betting odds: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets
- Oilers moneyline: +155
- Jets moneyline: -180
- Over/Under: 6
- Puck drop: 8 p.m. ET
The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets are both rolling right now. The Jets are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games while the Oilers are just a hair better at 7-2-1.
Winning seven of 10 shouldn’t be anything new to the Jets, they were among the preseason favorites to win the West after making it to the conference finals last season, but the same can’t be said of the Oilers.
Edmonton endured a sluggish start to the season, which led to a coaching change, replacing Todd McLellan with been-around-the-block Ken Hitchcock.
The change in leadership was derided at first, Hitchcock is an old-school coach in a new-school league, but it has paid off so far. In 11 games under Hitchcock, the Oil are 8-2-1 and, as he’s want to do, Hitchcock has turned the Oilers into a well-structured unit and that has led to improved performances from Edmonton’s goalies.
Mikko Koskinen has taken over as the No. 1 goalie for the Oilers, replacing Cam Talbot, and he’s on fire right now. The 30-year-old has logged a .936 save percentage in eight appearances since Hitchcock took over, well above the .917 mark he posted prior to Hitch’s arrival.
Talbot has also seen an uptick in his statistics with a .925 save percentage in three games after putting up an .888 mark in his first 14 games this season.
It’s still a small sample size, but Edmonton is making life easier on its goaltenders under Hitchcock and that will go a long way in helping them against Winnipeg as the Jets pack a scoring punch rivaled by few teams in the circuit. That being said, the Jets are overperforming this season.
In fact, Winnipeg has a negative expected goal differential at 5v5 on the season. The Jets allow 2.35 xGA/60 and generate 2.2 xGF/60, while the Oilers create 2.4 xGF/60 and allow 2.22 xGA/60.
The Jets are talented enough that they won’t need to control play and scoring chances to be successful over a full season, but it’s still a little worrisome and makes you wonder if Winnipeg is getting too much credit.
And that’s not even the biggest cause for concern for Paul Maurice this season.
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has struggled after his break-out campaign in 2017-18. Hellebuyck owns a .908 5v5 save percentage and a -4.74 Goals Saved Above Average in 23 games this season.
Winnipeg also has a game on Friday to think about, so there’s a chance that they play Laurent Brossoit in goal against Edmonton. Either way, the Jets need to get their act together in between the pipes if they want to make another run.
This is a good spot to fade Winnipeg as I think the market is a little bit too high on the Jets against a team that has Connor McDavid and has shown significant improvement over its last 11 games.
Edmonton is still clearly the second-best team in this matchup but I’m still happy to take a shot on the Oilers at any number above +145.
The Bet: Edmonton Oilers +155