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Oilers vs. Canucks Odds & Pick: Value on Total in Vancouver (Tuesday, Feb. 23)

Oilers vs. Canucks Odds & Pick: Value on Total in Vancouver (Tuesday, Feb. 23) article feature image

Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.

  • The Vancouver Canucks host the Edmonton Oilers during Tuesday night's NHL slate.
  • There’s not enough value to back the underdog Tuesday, but Matt Russell sees the Oilers and Canucks trading chances at a higher rate than an average NHL game.
  • Check out Russell's full betting preview below.

Oilers vs. Canucks Odds

Oilers Odds -130
Canucks Odds +110
Over/Under 6.5
Time | TV 10 p.m. ET | ESPN+
Odds as of Monday night and via BetMGM.

Connor McDavid reads your tweets. Ok, maybe not your tweets, but somebody’s. Ok, maybe he’s not reading tweets, but he’s reading something. He’s reading about how maybe Auston Matthews has wrestled the “Best Player on the Planet” title away from him, during Matthews’ early season snipe-fest. 

Any talk of McDavid not being the best player on ice anywhere at any time is patently ridiculous, and can be easily traced back to the overzealous hockey media center of the world: Toronto, Ontario. As a result, such nonsense probably gets back to the Greater Toronto Area native McDavid pretty quickly, and his season has been a series of “I can top that” moments. 

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Edmonton Oilers

On Saturday, McDavid may have caught wind of Matthews’ two-goal, two-assist night in a win over Montreal, only to drop a hat trick on arch-rival Calgary as part of a five-point night. The assists weren’t cheapies either — setting up teammates for veritable tap-ins in a 7-1 victory.

As crooked as the scoreboard looked at the end of the game, it flattered the Oilers from an even-strength metrics standpoint, and they’ll need to be better in their all-around game as they hit the road to face Vancouver on Tuesday.

The Oilers got a 2-for-1 deal in scoring outliers when they scored three power play goals on just five opportunities, and three more on 10 High-Danger Chances. That’s six goals on what, from a league-average standpoint, would normally equate to half that. 

The Oilers are getting wins in a variety of ways lately, and lots of them, going 9-2 in their last 11 games. The defense is still something of a problem, as they’re getting away with giving up too many High-Danger Chances. In fact, they’re averaging one more HDC against than they’re getting at even strength in this 11-game stretch, and it’s not like the conversion rate is giving them a particular advantage, given that they’re converting at the same rate as their opponent. Essentially, at even strength, their opponents are scoring as though they have McDavid, too. 

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.

Vancouver Canucks

While the Oilers are winning games in a variety of ways lately, the Vancouver Canucks are finding ways to lose them. This was no clearer than in a pair of home games against the Winnipeg Jets this weekend.

On Friday night, they played a run-and-gun game where the teams split 25 High-Danger Chances (HDC) at even strength. The Jets had the best one, a breakaway for star sniper Mark Scheifele that he converted for the eventual game-winning goal. 

On Sunday night, the Canucks tightened up their end of the ice and kept creating on offense, scoring twice on 11 HDCs. The problem for the Canucks is that they managed to give up one of the softer goals of the season and turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit. While they tied the game late with the goalie pulled, they wasted no time in giving up a goal in overtime to lose the game, 4-3. Overall the Canucks out-created the Jets offensively, and had 5.55 Expected Goals For (XGF) to 3.5 for the Jets, at even strength. They have zero wins to show for it. 

With a little luck, the Canucks would have parlayed the positivity from a split with Calgary into a three-game winning streak with the Oilers coming to town. Instead, they’re left reeling for what feels like the fourth time this season already.

Betting Analysis & Pick

While I’m not sure we can trust the Canucks to find ways to win this season, my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model, as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast, makes their win probability just shy of 50% in a game they’re priced at +110. That’s not enough value to back the underdog here, but I think there’s a good chance these teams trade chances at a higher rate than an average NHL game. 

The Canucks and Oilers haven’t met since a pair of games to start the season in Edmonton where they combined for 47 High-Danger Chances at even strength. Not much has changed stylistically for either team, so I think we can expect 20-25 HDCs in this one.

If that’s the case, a league-average conversion rate would mean three goals off these chances. Both teams’ goaltenders have been struggling, and each team has more than capable power-play talent, so I think we see at least three more goals stemming from soft goaltending and special teams. From there, all we’d need is a 3-3 tie, or any kind of outlier goal to get over the total of 6.5. 

Pick: Over 6.5 (-110 or better)

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