NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Golden Knights vs. Blackhawks Game 2 Preview (Thursday, August 13)

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Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Crawford

Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights Odds

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Blackhawks Odds +175 [BET NOW]
Golden Knights Odds -200 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 6 (-118/-104) [BET NOW]
Time 5:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN

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According to the updated series moneyline, the Vegas Golden Knights (-670) now have an 83.1% chance of advancing past the Chicago Blackhawks (+465). Even in a sport — and tournament — where anything can happen on any given night, it’s hard to argue against those steep odds.

The Blackhawks were able to pull the upset against the Edmonton Oilers in the Qualifying Round not because the Hawks were very good, but because Edmonton wasn’t.

Like the Hawks, the Oilers are top-heavy and have a very flawed defense. The Golden Knights are neither of those things.

The Knights are one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the NHL. Even though the Knights were barely above 50% in goals at 5-on-5, they had the best expected goals rate (56.5%) by a considerable margin during the regular season.

This is what a Stanley Cup contender looks like.

Vegas Golden Knights 5-on-5 Metrics

5-on-5 Stat Result Rank
Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.58 14th
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.5 16th
Expected Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.85 1st
Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.2 9th
Shot Attempts For Per 60 Minutes 61.68 2nd
Shot Attempts Allowed Per 60 Minutes 50.88 4th
High-Danger Chances For Per 60 Minutes 12.47 1st
High-Danger Chances Against Per 60 Minutes 9.91 9th

The best team at creating scoring chances and a top-10 team at preventing them, the Knights can beat you in a number of different ways. That’s not the case for the Blackhawks, who need to invite the Knights into a back-and-forth contest and hope their shooters and goaltender are able to outperform Vegas’.

It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Chicago can win a game or two like that, but over the course of a best-of-7 that style of play will likely flame out. It can work against similarly flawed teams like Edmonton, but Vegas is just as good as Chicago going forward and much better going back.

Chicago Blackhawks 5-on-5 Metrics

5-on-5 Stat Result Rank
Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.61 12th
Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.6 22nd
Expected Goals For Per 60 Minutes 2.33 9th
Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes 2.63 31st
Shot Attempts For Per 60 Minutes 55.6 14th
Shot Attempts Allowed Per 60 Minutes 59 25th
High-Danger Chances For Per 60 Minutes 10.77 14th
High-Danger Chances Against Per 60 Minutes 12.89 30th

While I fully expect Vegas to swallow the Hawks whole in this series, you won’t ever catch me laying -210 on an NHL game. There’s too much variance and the volatility of goaltending makes laying that kind of juice make me want to cry.

After closing at +180 for Game 1, the Hawks are down to +175 (35.3% implied probability) at the time of writing despite getting outplayed and losing the curtain-raiser. Those odds are already tempting, but I’m expecting the line to adjust towards Vegas as puck drop gets close, and unfortunately if it ticks above +180 I’m going to have to play Chicago. Like I said, there is a path to success for the Hawks, it’s just not a likely one.

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN and WV only.]

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