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Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Odds & Pick: Back Detroit Against Overrated Columbus (March 2)

Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Odds & Pick: Back Detroit Against Overrated Columbus (March 2) article feature image

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Larkin.

  • The Red Wings travel to take on the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
  • Detroit has been unimpressive this season, but our Matt Russell doesn't think they should be this much of an underdog against Columbus.
  • Russell breaks down why he sees betting value on the Red Wings.

Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets Odds

Red Wings Odds +155
Blue Jackets Odds -185
Over/Under 5.5
Time Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet.

With apologies to comedian Sebastian Maniscalco’s outstanding bit about “company” and how the idea of people just coming over at a moment’s notice is now met with terror, you’d think any chance of a resurgence of a “drop-in” culture probably has gone by the wayside with COVID-19. 

The NHL has mostly followed suit when it comes to teams dropping in for a short visit, with the schedule being populated with double dip’s and even some three-game sets. The equivalent of a weekend guest vs. just in for a coffee and some cake.

So, it’s actually a little unusual to see the Detroit Red Wings popping in on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, on their way home from a weekend roadie in the Windy City.

Detroit Red Wings

There’s a pretty clear dividing line for the Red Wings season, and it can be only described as “the day they stopped letting Thomas Greiss play goaltender”. On Feb. 11, Greiss and the Wings lost 3-2 to the Predators in Nashville. Two nights later they beat the same Preds team 4-2 with backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier and on the surface, there wasn’t much distinguishing the two. 

Greiss, who the Red Wings signed in the offseason, had started the previous nine games for Detroit, winning just once. They then split the duties for the next two pairs of games.

Against Chicago, Greiss gave up three goals, in the next game Bernier gave up just one. Against Florida, Greiss gave up seven goals, in the next game Bernier gave up just one, in a 2-1 win. That was all the Wings brass needed to see and they handed the reins to Bernier, and watched him win two of his next three, with the only loss coming on a night where he gave up just one goal.

This past weekend, the Wings had a Saturday-Sunday back-to-back in Chicago, and after winning the first as a +150 underdog that I recommended in this space, they opted to give a token start to Greiss since he hadn’t played since giving up seven goals to Florida. He gave up seven goals to the Blackhawks. 

Offensively, it’s never going to be easy for the Red Wings, whose most exciting moment of the weekend was when they snapped a drought of 41 straight power plays without scoring.


For those new to hockey statistics, a league-average power play would have scored eight goals in that time. That’s eight goals that would have gone a long way to win some of the games they lost 2-0. 

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus stops at home for just this game after a weekend in Nashville. Given how little offense they created while they were there, you’d suspect they spent a little too much time on Broadway, if we didn’t know any better.

The Jackets scored just once in each game, and neither goal came after the first period. This is following a shutout loss to the Blackhawks who are not the league’s most disciplined defensive squad. A five-game losing streak has John Tortorella feeling a little hot under the collar and other than the occasional big game out of Patrik Laine, there’s not much to get excited about offensively. 

The goaltending has showed up in the last three games, which has kept Columbus in these games, but the wins haven’t come, even though they’ve had the advantage at even-strength, creating 20 High-Danger Chances (HDC) to their opponents’ 17, and having a better than 50% Expected Goal Share 5-on-5.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Fundamentally, this is an easy bet to make, but like every hockey game, winning it is another story. The Blue Jackets aren’t remotely good enough to be anywhere near their almost -200 moneyline. 

My “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on “THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast,” rates Columbus as nearly -10% below average at even-strength, and while it’s not in love with the Red Wings at -3.5% below average, even factoring in the Wings’ atrocious power play and subpar penalty kill, there’s no way there isn’t value on the underdog Red Wings. Just so long as they get Bernier back in the net and Greiss doesn’t get close to the ice. 

Pick: Red Wings (+150 or better)

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