Saturday NHL Odds & Picks for Coyotes vs. Blues: Arizona Will Give St. Louis Problems (Feb. 6)
Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona Coyotes standout Phil Kessel.
- The Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues go at it again Saturday in NHL action.
- After a two-game series where each won a game by a 4-3 scoreline, the sides play an unplanned series this weekend.
- Pete Truszkowski explains why he likes the underdog Coyotes in the opener below.
Coyotes vs. Blues Odds
|Over/Under||5.5 (+100 / -121)|
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and via DraftKings.|
The Arizona Coyotes were supposed to play the Minnesota Wild on Saturday’s NHL schedule. The St. Louis Blues were supposed to face off against the Colorado Avalanche.
When the Wild and Avalanche were both shut down due to COVID-19 spreading through their locker rooms, the league decided it wanted more of Arizona playing St. Louis.
After a two-game series where each team won a game by a 4-3 scoreline, the Blues and Coyotes will play an unplanned series this weekend. With these teams getting to know each other pretty well, we’ll be sure to see some more heated battles on the ice.
The Coyotes entered the season hoping to build off last year’s playoff appearance. They had a good chance of qualifying for this year’s postseason in the West Division. Their early 4-5-1 start has been slightly disappointing, but there’s reason to believe Arizona can start picking up more wins.
The Coyotes, who enter this game top 10 in expected-goals percentage at 54.66 percent, are doing a good job in terms of shot generation and shot quality.
Surprisingly, Arizona’s analytical success is coming via its offense. The Coyotes have the second-highest mark in terms of expected goals scored per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, trailing only the Carolina Hurricanes.
This is a team that has been known in the past for their defensive prowess and stinginess, so seeing the Coyotes rely on their offense to drive the team is unexpected.
Unfortunately, the expectations don’t really match up with the reality for Arizona. Despite their high amount of expected goals, their actual goals are not coming. The Coyotes rank in the bottom third of the league in goals per 60 minutes at even strength, scoring just 2.13 times per hour.
Arizona has some nice offensive pieces, such as Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Phil Kessel, Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller. Unfortunately, they don’t really have a game-breaking talent up front who can put the team on his shoulders.
While scoring goals might not be a strong suit for Arizona, their goaltending is. Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta have combined for a +1.29 goals saved above expectation through the team’s first 10 games. While they aren’t big names, both have proven to be solid NHL goaltenders over the past few seasons.
St. Louis Blues
Despite losing to the Coyotes on Thursday, St. Louis enters this game with a 7-3-1 record through their first 11 games. The Blues entered the season with the goal to be a contender in the NHL’s West Division, and so far they have done just that.
While the Blues won’t overwhelm you in any one facet, they’re a well-balanced team that can beat their opponent in many ways. They are middle of the pack in expected goals scored as well as expected goals against.
While not dominant analytically, they can grind out wins defensively as well as score enough goals to win if they need to.
The biggest surprise for the Blues to begin the season has been Jordan Kyrou. The former second-round pick had 12 points in 44 NHL games before this season, but has 12 points in his first 11 games of this campaign.
Brayden Schenn and David Perron have also begun the season strongly, producing at a point-per-game clip.
Ryan O’Reilly remains the captain and face of the Blues. He’s arguably the best two-way forward in hockey who can produce offensively, shut down opponents and play with a mean streak. Just like the Blues, O’Reilly is capable of playing any style of game.
The Blues’ biggest question mark up to this point of the season has to be their goaltending. Jordan Binnington has followed up his stellar Stanley Cup run in 2019 with average-at-best play over last season and now to begin this season.
Binnington’s -0.16 goals saved above expectation is about as pedestrian as possible. Ville Husso is not a backup that inspires much confidence should Binnington falter.
Coyotes vs. Blues Best Bet
These two teams just played a two-game series, splitting the pair of games. Arizona had 68 percent of the expected goals in one of the games, while the Blues had 62% in the other meeting.
Despite their records, these teams are not playing all that differently to begin the season. In fact, Arizona has slightly better underlying metrics than the Blues to begin this season.
Neither one of these teams will blow you away with their offense, as the star power lacks on both sides. Defensively, the Blues are better than the Coyotes, but Arizona’s goaltending inspires more confidence.
At the current line, it’s implied the Blues win this game nearly 61% of the time. I think that’s too high and make that closer to 55 percent. That said, I think Arizona is a good play at this number as a live underdog.
Pick: Arizona ML (+133 — play from +130 or better)