Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks Betting Preview (Oct. 15)

Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks Betting Preview (Oct. 15) article feature image
Credit:

Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Talbot.

  • The Minnesota Wild kick off their season Friday when they go up against the Anaheim Ducks.
  • The Ducks opened their season with a solid win against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday's NHL card.
  • Jacob McKenna breaks down the matchup below and details why he's backing Minnesota.

Wild vs. Ducks Odds

Wild Odds -155
Ducks Odds +125
Over/Under 5.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+, Hulu
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Minnesota Wild open their season on the West Coast against the Ducks of Anaheim, who are coming off of a 4-1 win on Wednesday over the Winnipeg Jets.

Last season, the Ducks were one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL, but they were able to find the net rather consistently against Winnipeg. Can Anaheim keep that consistency going or will they fall back to their old ways against a good Wild team?

Wild Look to Build Off Strong Season

After finishing second to last in the Central Division in the 2019-20 season , the Minnesota Wild put together quite the campaign in 2021. Minnesota finished third overall behind Colorado and Vegas in the West Division, and then it took the Golden Knights to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

When you dive into the stats, it becomes clear why the Wild were able to remain competitive and pose a threat early on to a Stanley Cup favorite in round one.

Minnesota finished sixth in the NHL in goals scored last season and had a great defense behind that attack, one that was tied for first in fewest high-danger chances against and 11th in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).

In addition, Cam Talbot provided this squad with a great last line of defense. Talbot ended the year with a .915 save percentage, which ranked 15th overall among goalies who played in at least 20 games. Talbot also finished 15th in Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) with 6.90, further proving he was a more than solid piece to have in net.

Minnesota was definitely one of the biggest surprises from last season, but I expect those kinds of performances to become the new norm for the Wild. They have a lot of momentum coming into their season opener.

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Is the Ducks’ Offense For Real?

The Ducks were able to grab themselves a win to start their season on Wednesday and did it efficiently by scoring four goals on 22 total shots.

However, despite the great scoring display, there are still some reasonable concerns to be had with this Ducks team.

It’s no secret that Anaheim was not a good offensive team last season. The Ducks finished 27th in the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring and oftentimes failed to generate many goals from anywhere on the ice, finishing the season ranked 19th in high-danger scoring chances and 25th in expected goals for (xGF).

While the four goals against the Jets were promising, only getting off 22 shots is not going to get the job done on a nightly basis and further exemplifies the Ducks’ struggles on the offensive end.

No starter has been named yet in net for Anaheim as of Thursday night, but both options available for the Ducks are rather solid. John Gibson only allowed one goal to get past him on 34 attempts on Wednesday and his back-up, Anthony Stolarz, finished last season with a save % of .926 in eight appearances.

However, that duo is going to be relying on the defense in front of it, which finished 26th in xGA/60 and had the fourth most high-danger scoring chances against last season.

Ducks vs. Wild Pick

The Ducks had a great first win earlier this week, but I don’t forecast them building on their good start because of some of their glaring issues.

Talbot finished with a 3-1 record last season against the Ducks and only surrendered an average of 1.75 goals per contest when facing Anaheim. Furthermore, as a team the Wild finished 7-1 overall with an average of three goals scored per game against the Ducks last season, giving them quite an advantage coming into this one.

The Wild are the better team in this matchup and I’m expecting them to come out firing and continue to build on their momentum from last season, making them likely to pick up their first win of the season on the road.

Pick: Minnesota ML (-155 | play to -160)

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