New Jersey Devils vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Odds, Pick, Prediction: 2 Plays for Tuesday Matchup
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Hughes.
Devils vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||-150|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|TV||ESPN+ | Hulu|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a 7-1-0 surge, Columbus has dropped back-to-back contests, including a third-period collapse on Sunday against Pittsburgh.
The Blue Jackets will play host to a New Jersey Devils team that has started to produce some really strong offensive play, most recently dominating the Canucks on Monday night.
Blue Jackets Results Not Backed Up By Strong Even Strength Play
The Blue Jackets recent play hadn’t appeared dominant enough to warrant such positive results, and it’s not surprising to see they have produced just a 46.32% expected goals rate over their last nine contests since returning to play after a lengthy layoff on Feb. 8.
Over that time Columbus gas continued to produce far less than stellar defensive play, holding a 3.28 expected goals against per 60 rate, and that leaky defense faces a tough test Tuesday with the Devils skating with a faster and more talented young group than most may realize, particularly at full-strength.
Shutting down the Devils will be an especially tall order should Zach Werenski remain sidelined for Columbus, having missed the last two contests and currently being listed as day-to-day.
J.F. Berube has been a lovable story in goal for the Jackets of late, but I still lean towards the Blue Jackets choosing to go back to Elvis Merzlikins here after a solid start Sunday, considering he’s still the No. 1 netminder in the big picture.
But Merzlikins holds a -5.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .904 save percentage in 33 games played this season.
Devils Offense Surging
New Jersey put together another strong offensive night Monday against Vancouver, with the seven-goal output pushing their average to 5.28 goals for per game over the last seven games.
Over that time-frame the Devils have controlled play to 52.05% at all strengths, managing a 4-3-0 record, with two of the losses coming to elite competition in Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, and playing without Jesper Bratt and Dougie Hamilton for three of those contests.
Bratt continued his breakout season again against Vancouver, posting two more points to make it 50 in 48 games so far this season, as well as seven in three games since returning from injury.
Jack Hughes has also started to play closer to potential, in a season which was widely pegged to be a big breakout for the 2019 first overall pick.
Offensively it’s easy to like where this Devils group is at, and I think we will see them cause problems again tomorrow night in Columbus. Whether or not they can turn that into a win will come down to goaltending.
It’s unclear whether they will let Nico Daws roll back-to-back here, but it’s more likely we see Jon Gillies here, who has struggled badly with a -13.6 goals saved above expected rating and an .887 save % throughout 14 games played this season.
Devils vs. Blue Jackets Pick
Prior to the back-to-back losses on the weekend, I had Columbus pegged as a team due for some regression, and I see that continuing.
The Blue Jackets continue to allow a ton of chances against, and New Jersey’s offense is in strong form and in the midst of an upswing, with a number of their young talents playing better of late.
I expect the Devils to be able to generate some offense against a Blue Jackets group that does not defend well by any means, and we’re getting New Jersey as a decent-prized underdog.
It’s very possible that we again see New Jersey allow a higher offensive output here, likely playing with Gillies in net, against a Columbus team that has produced offense as of late, even if their underlying metrics don’t fully back it up.
I’m going to put a play on the Devils moneyline at +130, and on the over 6.5 at -105, a price which I am fairly confident will get worse as we get closer to game-time.
Pick: Devils ML (Play to +118); Over 6.5 (Play to -130)
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