NHL Betting Odds & Picks: Blues vs. Golden Knights, Oilers vs. Lightning (Thursday, Feb. 13)


Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Draisatl

Feb 13, 2020, 12:01 PM EST

It’s funny how betting changes the way you look at sports. If I wasn’t a bettor and I saw that Edmonton Oilers were scheduled to play in Tampa against the never-gonna-lose-again Lightning without Connor McDavid, my first thought would be, “they’re screwed.”

But as a bettor, all I could think when I saw these circumstances was “there’s going to be a lot of value on Edmonton on Thursday night.”

Is that the case? Let’s dive in.

Thursday NHL Odds & Picks

Odds via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

Edmonton Oilers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Oilers odds: +180
  • Lightning odds: -215
  • Over/Under: 6.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

When a quarterback goes down in the NFL, the first question bettors ask is “how much is he worth to the spread?” For a couple of elite QBs, the answer could be as high as six points, but the truth is that even the loss of the best player in the NHL will not come close to that kind of impact.

Connor McDavid may be the best player in the NHL, but even the best player in the NHL shouldn’t skew the line more than 1-2%. Individual talent matters a lot in hockey, but it is still ultimately a team game and one player’s impact is not as pronounced as it is in other sports — no matter how good he is.

This isn’t to downplay McDavid’s ability or how important he is to Edmonton in the big picture, but in a one-game sample it’s not as big a deal as it will be made out to be.

That being said, the Oilers were already a top-heavy team with McDavid and his loss puts a huge burden on the shoulders of his running mate Leon Draisatl. The defense will also feel some added pressure as Edmonton’s margin for error becomes much slimmer without its best source of offense.

The Oilers defensive numbers won’t blow you away — they allow 2.5 expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 — but according to Micah Blake McCurdy’s “Threat” metric, they grade out as slightly above average in their own zone. Needless to say, Edmonton will need to be a lot better than that if it has a chance against the Lightning.

Tampa Bay is 31-10-3 with a league-best 56.4% expected goals rate and 57.2% high-danger scoring chance share over its last 44 games. Whether you want to look at surface-level stats or go deep under the hood, the Lightning look elite and they have shown no signs of slowing down, winning eight games on the bounce heading into Thursday night.



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