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Sunday NHL Odds & Pick for Hurricanes vs. Blue Jackets: Target Total in Central Division Matchup (Sunday, Feb. 7)

Sunday NHL Odds & Pick for Hurricanes vs. Blue Jackets: Target Total in Central Division Matchup (Sunday, Feb. 7) article feature image

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: James Reimer.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets face off Sunday in a matchup with high-scoring potential.
  • The Blue Jackets are a consistent, offensive attacking team facing an opponent with a backup goaltender slated to start.
  • Matt Russell gives his insight and details why there is value on the total below.

Hurricanes vs. Blue Jackets Odds

Hurricanes Odds -145
Blue Jackets Odds +125
Over/Under 5.5
Time 3 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday night and via DraftKings.

Petr Mrazek and Tom Brady have been in the same sentence together. I’m sure of it. 

Though maybe the right comparison is to the Buccaneers defense? They’re the ones who will have to stand tall against the offense of the defending-champion Chiefs. 

Mrazek did just that on Jan. 28, shutting out the other Tampa Bay franchise, in a 1-0 overtime win. The Lightning had 16 High-Danger Chances (HDC) 5-on-5 and couldn’t beat Mrazek.

The only person who could beat Pete? Himself.

Specifically, his thumb, as he hasn’t made a start since undergoing surgery on his right hand. 

The Hurricanes’ opponents are missing one of their masked men, as well, but it’s not nearly as much of an issue for the Columbus Blue Jackets

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Carolina Hurricanes

James Reimer is the prototypical veteran NHL backup. That is not an insult. It’s valuable to have a guy who you can rely on to play once a week, 20 games per year, and not be worried that you’re compromised in the crease. The 32-year old is on his fourth team in nine seasons, so you know what you’re getting with the solid backstop. You’ll get a good start on his turn, like say, one goal against in a home game vs. Dallas.

But if asked to go the next night, against, say Dallas again, your expectation should be something like three goals against. Then with two more games in the next four nights, expectations should be measured still. Reimer gave up eight goals in two games in Chicago and the Canes’ offense couldn’t keep up, losing the backend of the double dip. 

Two days off though should give Reimer some time to regroup, and the offense is doing all it can to create at even-strength, with 5 straight games with their HDC in the double digits. Having been without a handful of guys due to COVID-19 protocols for a handful of games, the underrated Hurricanes can put the puck in the net. 

Columbus Blue Jackets

The gentleman charged with stopping the offensive storm is one-half of the Blue Jackets’ crease platoon. Joonas Korpisalo gets the net to himself, as his co-main man Elvis Merzlikins has his own injury issues.

This isn’t a step down for the Blue Jackets as both goaltenders have a better than average GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average). It hasn’t gone particularly well so far for Korpisalo, as he’s given up eight goals on just 51 shots in a pair of games with the Stars.

In the first six front-end matchups, the Blue Jackets have played incredibly consistently on offense 5-on-5. Their Expected Goals For (xGF) in first meetings: 1.25, 1.33, 1.37, 0.75, 1.31, 1.36. With the exception of their first game with Florida (which they played to a shootout), it’s hard to play within that range in creating offense. It’s almost as difficult to play their defense-oriented style of play, and have a high XGA in every one of those games.

That’s been the story of the season as a whole, with Columbus finding themselves at 8.88% below average in my “Let’s Do That Hockey” model as heard on THE WINDOW: Sports Betting Podcast.

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Blackhawks vs. Stars Best Bet

My model shows a little value on the Blue Jackets at +125, but that’s with more confidence in the current play of Korpisalo. Perhaps more importantly, it’s telling me to steer clear of the Hurricanes at -150. 

Where I think there may be some value is in the Over 5.5 goals. We’re getting what is essentially the lowest possible total, with a flat price on either side, on two goaltenders whose confidence may be a little bit shaky.

On top of that, with the Canes creating at a high level at even strength and the Jackets not playing as tightly as John Tortorella would like, there’s some value on the number created by reputation.

Finally, Columbus’s addition of Patrik Laine should help their attack, in a game that should be more wide open than the market suggests.

PickOver 5.5 (-115 or better) 

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