Coyotes vs. Golden Knights Odds & Picks: Can Arizona Upset the Odds on Wednesday? (Jan. 20)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jakob Chychrun
- The Vegas Golden Knights are a heavy favorite over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.
- Vegas has looked great to start the season, but hasn't dominated play quite like they normally do.
- Can Arizona muck up this game enough to pull off the upset as a big underdog?
Coyotes vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-200|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
It hasn’t been happy sledding trying to beat the Vegas Golden Knights this season. The Knights are first overall with a 3-0 record and their +6 goal differential (11 GF, 5 GA) is the second-best mark in the NHL after Tampa Bay.
Vegas’ hot start shouldn’t be a surprise. The Knights were the third-favorite coming into the season and they opened with a pair of two-game sets with the Ducks and Coyotes, neither of whom are expected to contend.
Vegas is a big favorite to make it 4-for-4 on Wednesday night.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights, despite being undefeated, haven’t exactly made it look easy through their first three games. The Knights overwhelmed Anaheim, 5-2, in the season opener but they needed a last-minute game-tying goal in the second game and mounted a two-goal comeback to beat Arizona, 4-2, on Monday.
On the surface we’re looking at a team that has covered the puck-line twice in three tries, but Vegas has had a few bounces go their way to get off and running.
That isn’t to say Vegas doesn’t deserve to be 3-0. The Knights have a +0.56 expected goal differential per 60 minutes and have created 14 more high-danger scoring chances than they’ve allowed. Vegas is giving up just 1.24 goals and 1.76 xG per 60 minutes at even strength so far.
The early indications are that the Knights look like they did last season. They are dominating the puck, generating a lot of scoring chances and playing well defensively. Add in that Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury have only allowed five goals through three games and it’s no wonder that the Knights are sitting at -200 for the fourth game in a row.
Personnel-wise, Vegas is miles ahead of Arizona. Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore and Robin Lehner give the Knights game-breakers at every level of the ice and they are backed up by one of the best supporting casts in the NHL. On most teams players like Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson would be headliners, but on Vegas they feel more like pieces to the puzzle rather than focal points.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
Arizona can’t hang with Vegas if it tries to go toe-to-toe, so expect the underdog Coyotes to try and fog up this game. The Coyotes were known as a low-event team in 2019/20 and you’d expect them to play to that style in a contest where they are outmatched.
While pedestrian on offense last season, the Coyotes were pretty strong defensively, finishing with the seventh-best expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. That defense hasn’t translated over to the new season yet as the Yotes have surrendered 2.87 xGA per 60 minutes through their first three games.
Surprisingly, the Coyotes have generated some pretty strong offensive metrics in the first week of the 2021 campaign. Arizona did have the luxury of playing the porous Sharks in its first two games, but 2.84 xGF per 60 minutes is not too shabby, especially since the Coyotes finished with a 2.24 xGF/60 in 2019/20.
The Coyotes’ offensive numbers took a dip against the Knights, but they did hang with Vegas until the third period.
Should all else fail, the Coyotes have one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL to fall back on. Whether Arizona rolls with Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta, bettors should be prepared for the possibility that the Coyotes’ goaltender steals a game.
Coyotes-Golden Knights Pick
The Knights are a buzzsaw but laying this kind of juice against a team that is happy to sit back and see if one of their terrific goalies can steal a game isn’t something I’m interested in.
Instead, I think the Coyotes are in range for a bet. The listed +172 moneyline implies Arizona wins this game about 36.8% of the time. I think that’s a little bit low on a team whose defensive structure and goaltending offers a viable path to success. The Coyotes will need to get lucky, but that’s the case with any big underdog in the NHL.
William Hill has a +180 out there as of Wednesday morning.
Pick: Arizona Coyotes +170 or better