Blues vs. Golden Knights NHL Odds & Picks: St. Louis Has Value as Underdog (Tuesday, Jan. 26)
Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Binnington.
- Alex Pietrangelo takes on the team he won the Stanley Cup with two years ago for the first time, as Las Vegas hosts St. Louis.
- The Golden Knights feature a star-studded roster that hasn't disappointed early this season and has gotten strong goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Pete Truszkowski sees value on the Blues, though, and explains why below.
Blues vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-141|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via DraftKings.|
Two of the better teams in the NHL face-off against each other on Tuesday Night in Sin City as the St. Louis Blues take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Vegas comes into the game as a winner in five of its first six games and decently sized favorites. Is there reason to think the Blues can slow them down?
St. Louis Blues
When the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019, their identity was a bruising bunch that could defend like hell. That identity remains intact, even after losing star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in free agency.
Through the early part of this season, the Blues are giving up just 1.59 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. This is the second-best mark in the league behind Buffalo. This matches up well with their resume as the Blues were a top-10 team in this metric last season.
The Blues’ best defensive pairing in the early going has been Justin Faulk and Marco Scandella. When on the ice together, the Blues have an expected goal rate near 60%. When Faulk has been on the ice, the Blues are about 12% better in driving play than when he’s on the bench.
After a bit of a rough start, it appears Jordan Binnington is beginning to settle into the season, stopping 58 of 61 shots over his last two starts. The Blues need Binnington to be reliable because backup goaltender Ville Husso has struggled in his appearances, posting a goals against average north of seven.
The offensive side of the ice is a different story for the Blues, who find themselves in the bottom five of expected goals scored per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. They were the sixth-worst team in this metric last season, so we can’t excuse this as a slow start. As a result, the Blues find themselves in the bottom five in goals per game at 2.22.
The biggest surprise for the Blues offensively has been Jordan Kyrou. Kyrou has six points in six games after scoring just 12 points in 44 NHL games prior to this season. Kyrou and linemates Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn have an expected goal rate of 70.21% when on the ice together this season. The Blues hope the rest of the offense follows their lead.
Las Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights entered the NHL season amongst the favorites to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Nothing they have done in the first week and a half of the season has changed that.
Vegas enters this game having won five of its first six games. The Golden Knights enter the game with a top-ten mark in both expected goals scored and expected goals against. They are scoring over three goals a game and giving up an average of two goals per contest.
The biggest acquisition of the offseason for Vegas was Pietrangelo, who will be playing against his former team for the first time in this game. It’s been a bit of an underwhelming start for the defenseman, as he’s one of just three players on the team with an on-ice expected goal rate below 50%. This will likely be a temporary blip on the radar since Pietrangelo is one of the top defensemen in the league.
Offensively, Vegas has been led by winger Mark Stone, one of the best two-way forwards in the league who has started the season hot with eight points in six games.
One of the Knights’ biggest assets is their depth. Players like Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith give the Knights the ability to roll four lines effectively.
Coming into the season, the belief was that Robin Lehner would push aside Marc-Andre Fleury and become the team’s number one goalie. However, it appears Fleury is not ready to just hand over his starting job. He has won his first three starts while allowing just three goals. Fleury has stopped over 95% of the shots he’s faced. With his hot form, Vegas might have the best goaltending tandem in the sport.
Blues vs. Golden Knights Best Bet
The Blues will mark the first real test of the season for Vegas. Despite their 5-1-0 record, Vegas has escaped some of their wins by the skin of their teeth. Twice the Knights needed to mount third period comebacks to come back and win the game. In their most recent game, they hung on for a 1-0 win. The Blues will be a step-up in class from Arizona and Anaheim, the Knights’ prior opponents.
With the way the Blues play, they do a good job of slowing the game down and turning it into more of a chess match. This style of play works well to turn games against elite teams like Vegas into more of a coin-flip.
As long as Binnington gets the start in net for St. Louis, I think the Blues have a good chance of pulling off the upset in this game. At the current odds, it’s implied the Golden Knights have about a 58.5% chance of winning this game. That seems a little high.
If you’re in a state with access to PointsBet, you can get the Blues currently at +125. This is my minimum price for St. Louis.
DraftKings currently has the Blues at +123, so I would wait it out and hope the public adds more value to the underdog.
Bet: St. Louis (+125 or better)