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Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Take a Shot on the Underdog (Jan. 18)

Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings NHL Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Take a Shot on the Underdog (Jan. 18) article feature image

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

  • The Columbus Blue Jackets are favored over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday afternoon.
  • Detroit pulled off a big upset over Carolina in their last outing, while Columbus hasn't generated much offense in its first two games against Nashville.
  • See how we're betting Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets below.

Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings Odds

Blue Jackets Odds -165 [BET NOW]
Red Wings Odds +140 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Day | Time Monday | 12 p.m. ET
TV NHL Network
Odds as of Sunday at 1:45 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

I dreaded every Detroit Red Wings game last season. It wasn’t just that the Wings were historically bad. That stuff I can deal with in hockey. It was the fact they didn’t have a way to steal a game.

Jimmy Howard was floundering in goal, the defense couldn’t move the puck and Jeff Blashill only had one line that was competent.

Bookmakers kept dealing the Wings at huge numbers I would get sucked into,  because even the worst teams in the NHL can flip a game through a lucky bounce or some magic from a goaltender.

Unfortunately, Detroit wasn’t even good enough to keep games close so it could take advantage of a break or a strong performance between the pipes. Detroit ended up costing me a bunch of money, but it was my own fault for not putting the Wings on a “Betting Blacklist” at some point.

That said, it has only been two games, but I feel a lot better about the Red Wings’ chances to be a bet-on team in 2021. While most people will have a tough time separating Detroit from what they saw last season, I was actually a bit encouraged by what the team did in the offseason.

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Steve Yzerman brought in capable veterans like Bobby Ryan, Jon Merrill, Troy Stecher and Vlad Namestnikov to provide at least a little bit of depth. Thomas Greiss was signed to pair with Jonathan Bernier, giving Detroit a pretty decent goaltending partnership.

The Wings are still far from good and I’d be shocked if they finish above seventh in the Central Division, but they are going to be much better than they were last season and that makes them interesting for bettors.

Detroit opened the campaign with a tough task — a two-game set against the high-flying Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have been a possession juggernaut for years now, with a plethora of high-end offensive talent, so there was a good chance that the Wings would be blown out in both games and that would be that.

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.

The Wings were outplayed in both games, but they did something they rarely did in 2019/20 — they bent, but didn’t break. Detroit only had a 31.1% expected goals in the split with Carolina, but the Canes only had 13 high-danger scoring chances (per Natural Stat Trick) in the two games. The Wings gave up a ton of shots, but they kept the Hurricanes out of the danger area for the most part.

Nobody is throwing a parade for the Red Wings for executing a decent strategy and stealing a game from one of the division’s heavyweights, but it’s a step in the right direction and, should the Wings continue to play this way and get decent goaltending, gives them a path to pull some upsets this season.

Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets will look very different from what we saw in the Detroit-Carolina series.

The Jackets are nowhere near Carolina in terms of talent, but John Tortorella’s side plays terrific team defense and make you earn every inch of ice. That style has made Columbus one of my favorites to bet as an underdog, because it’s great at turning games into 50/50 contests. However, it also gives me pause to bet the Jackets as favorites because they don’t have the scoring talent to blow the doors off teams.

The Jackets did play their low-event style against the Predators, but it was Nashville that came out on top in both games. Columbus held the Predators to 1.67 expected goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, but the Jackets lost the goaltending battle and weren’t clinical enough to get any points from the set.

Blue Jackets-Red Wings Pick

After closing as +200 underdogs in each of their first two games, the Red Wings opened at +125 for this game against the Blue Jackets.

I think that number is a little low, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Columbus ends up getting bet up quite a bit before puck drop.

Since this game starts at 12 p.m. ET and has very little betting competition to speak of, the handle could be a little bit higher than usual. Casual money tends to end up on the favorite, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jackets are included as the first leg of a bunch of holiday parlays.

If that type of action pushes the price on Detroit up toward +140, I’d be interested in going back to the Wings.

Pick: Red Wings +140 or better

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