NHL Betting Odds & Pick for Flames vs. Oilers: Bet Rested Calgary Over Tired Edmonton (Thursday, April 29)
David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström.
- It's another dreaded schedule predicament as Edmonton is playing in different cities on back-to-back nights.
- Calgary on the other hand has had two nights off after taking two of three games from Montreal.
- See if Matt Russell thinks the Oilers can overcome the short rest, of if the Flames will benefit from a couple of nights off.
Flames vs. Oilers Odds
|Time||Thursday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Everyone’s favorite schedule situation makes its return after a few weeks off.
Unfortunately for those of us riding the angle of fading a team playing on a back-to-back set in a different city against a different team that’s waiting for it, the last two situations have had the team on no rest actually win the game.
The Calgary Flames were one of those two teams to pull off the feat that hadn’t been done since the season’s first week. The Flames went to Montreal and beat the Canadiens after playing in Toronto the night before.
Now, Calgary sits in Edmonton waiting for the Oilers, hoping to advantage of its own rest and the host’s lack of any respite to keep its season alive.
At this point in the season, there seems to be significant value to getting a chance to breathe. Two days off with the minimal travel from Calgary to Edmonton might feel like a week off. The Flames just took two of three from Montreal, a team they’re trying to chase down for the last playoff spot in the North Division.
If you add in the previous week’s pair of games in Montreal, the desperate Flames were good for 8.99 expected goals to Montreal’s 6.05 xG at even strength.
It certainly took the Flames long enough to truly compete this season. An early season head-coaching change seemed to provide the Flames with a turning point, but it was one that they declined. Literally.
After Darryl Sutter was hired, the Flames rating in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, judged them as an eight percent, below-average team at even strength during that time.
In the last six games, that rating has increased a whopping six percent. Thanks to the Flames playing at an even-strength rating of almost 11% above average. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “Usually when someone cites the last six games as a sample size it means the previous games were bad results. What gives?”
Well, that’s not the case. The Flames actually won the previous two games, while being outplayed. Maybe getting a little fortunate in those contests allowed them to believe they had a chance to chase down the Canadiens for fourth place.
If the Flames’ two days off felt like a chance to breathe, the Oilers have had time to take more naps than your father on a Sunday with a PGA Tour event on television.
Connor McDavid has been playing well, largely in part because the Oilers have had a pair of layoffs that have allowed them to rocket out of gates against the Jets two separate times in the last two weeks. Unfortunately for Edmonton, this time off is mortgaged for the future, as they’re in the early stages of a dense stretch of their schedule.
A 6-1 win over the Jets on Monday was followed by a 3-1 win in the rematch Wednesday on the strength of another big game from McDavid, as he assisted on all three goals. The Oilers also dusted off Mikko Koskinen, who was sharp i stopping 29 of 30 shots in the victory.
However, the underlying metrics tell the story of a game that could have gone either way, with an even-strength xG split of 2.19-2.15 in favor of Winnipeg. Neither team was able to convert a High-Danger Chance 5-on-5, and the Oilers two power-play goals were the difference in a 2-1 game before a late empty-netter.
Unlike the Flames’ fluctuation in their rating this season, the Oilers have been an average team at even-strength this season, according to my model. They have almost identical total of 5-on-5 HDC and xG as their opponent.
That they’re even that good is thanks to the games’ best player in McDavid. He’s been on the ice for 17 more Oilers’ even-strength goals than their foe. When not on the ice, the Oilers are outscored while 5-on-5 by 11 goals.
Both McDavid and the Oilers have had up-and-down results against the Flames this season. He’s been held off the scoresheet twice in eight games, but also had a five-point game and a pair of three-point games.
Betting Analysis & Pick
An average Edmonton team isn’t one I want to back in a situational spot that has been a killer this season. That’s even more clear, considering how rarely the Oilers have played, having a game — even at home — on a second consecutive night might be a shock to their system.
The Flames are more than familiar with the work of McDavid, and they’re newfound focus on defence should result in having them equipped to prevent his patented rushes.
This game is priced using the rating of the version of the Flames that has played disappointingly since Sutter took over, not the one that’s been much better on both ends of the ice in the last two weeks. The Oilers’ playoff positioning is quite secure, with an almost-definite matchup with the Jets coming in the first round.
The Flames have found the fire to want to be in that first round as well, thus getting this underdog price with Calgary is worth a bet.
Pick: Flames (+110)
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