Thursday NHL Betting Odds and Picks: Oilers-Blackhawks, Capitals-Rangers, More

Credit:

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Draisatl

  • Michael Leboff previews Thursday's NHL slate, highlighting matchups between the Oilers and Blackhawks (8:30 p.m ET) and Capitals-Rangers (7 p.m. ET)
  • The surprising Oilers are aiming for first place in an odd season, but how will they fare against a similar bad possession team in Chicago?
  • See the full betting analysis below.

There’s a chance that the Philadelphia Flyers will be in first place in the Metropolitan Division by the end of Thursday night.

Alain Vigneault’s Flyers won their sixth game on the spin in Washington on Wednesday night and come into play on Thursday trailing those Caps by one point in the suddenly-up-for-grabs Metro.

On the other side of the continent the Oilers could end the night in first place in the Pacific Division. Edmonton has been hanging around the playoff picture all season, but there were plenty of reasons to be skeptical that the Oilers could keep it up.

It’s been a weird season, even by the NHL’s zany standards, and it may only get weirder on Thursday night.

Thursday NHL Odds & Picks


Odds via FanDuel. Get up to a $500 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Edmonton Oilers at Chicago Blackhawks

  • Oilers odds: -110
  • Blackhawks odds: -110
  • Over/Under: 6.5
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

Neither the Edmonton Oilers nor the Chicago Blackhawks excel at driving play, but not all bad possession teams are created equal.

Not only do the Blackhawks have the worst defensive metrics this season, but they are getting worse. Chicago is allowing 3.01 expected goals against per 60 minutes over its last 14 games. That is not a recipe for success against any team, but when you’re playing against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, those problems become amplified.

Heatmap via HockeyViz.com

The Blackhawks do create offense at a decent clip and they have plenty of scoring talent to help hide some of their issues on defense, but if you have the talent score with the Hawks and your goaltender puts in a decent shift, you’re in a good spot against Chicago.

Edmonton addressed their lack of depth at the trade deadline and in the five games since then have an expected goals rate at just under 50%. That number isn’t going to bowl you over, but it’s good enough for a team with Edmonton’s talent, especially when the opposition isn’t going to control the game.

The Oilers are playing for the third time in four nights and are on the road, but I would still have them as short favorites in this game.

Around the League

Color me unimpressed by the Washington Capitals (-130). Sure, the Caps have plenty of talent all over their roster so they should not be beholden to their underlying metrics, but Washington has been rather mundane for a good chunk of the season now. The Caps ripped through the first three months but have been pedestrian since the holidays.

Washington’s starpower makes it dangerous in the big picture, but I’m not sure how much better they are than the New York Rangers (+110) and the Caps are on the road and playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

New York’s defensive issues are still a worry, but the Blueshirts tend to get solid goaltending and their offense has plenty of firepower, so they can survive some less-than-stellar play in their own end.

The Rangers have already taken some money, but I still think this game is basically a coin flip, so +110 is still playable in my eyes.

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