NHL Odds & Picks for Bruins vs. Devils: How to Bet Saturday’s Game in New Jersey (Jan. 16)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ondrej Kase
- The Boston Bruins take on the New Jersey Devils for the second time in three days, this time in a Saturday afternoon matchup in Newark.
- The Bruins are once again heavy favorites and should be able to secure another victory, so Michael Leboff is taking a wait-and-see approach to betting this game.
- Check out Leboff's full preview and betting analysis for Bruins vs. Devils below.
Bruins vs. Devils Odds
|Bruins Odds||-195 [BET NOW]|
|Devils Odds||+163 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
The Boston Bruins narrowly escaped becoming the first big favorite of the NHL season to lose on Thursday night. After blowing a pair of leads, the Bruins needed a shootout to squeak by the Devils, who were missing two of their best forwards.
While the B’s did get the win, it was another reminder about why laying juice in the NHL can be a harrowing experience. Boston basically dominated the game, outshooting the Devils to the tune of 37-22, but Mackenzie Blackwood was superb in goal and almost stole a win for New Jersey.
The Bruins opened in the -140/145 range for Thursday night but were absolutely pummeled and closed at -190, or thereabouts. Bookmakers didn’t make the same mistake for Saturday, as the B’s are sitting at -190 at the time of writing.
There was a bit of noise in the offseason that the Bruins would take a step back in 2021 because of a couple of key departures on their blueline. Usually, the Bruins are expected to make the playoffs and contend for a Stanley Cup, no if’s, and’s or but’s. This offseason, though, there was a “but.”
The Bruins are expected to be contenders again this season, but it’s the first time they’ve undergone significant change in a while and the East Division is a gauntlet, so there is a chance that maybe Boston falls off its perch a little bit.
One game won’t answer that question, but there was some really good and some not-so-good things about Boston’s performance on Thursday. The B’s outshot, out-chanced and out-played the Devils at 5-on-5, but the defense did allow 10 high-danger scoring chances to a team that doesn’t knock you over with its offensive firepower. The Bruins also failed to score at even strength.
But like I said, it was the first game of a very unique season, so nothing to be alarmed about. And even if the Bruins do take a step back in 2021, they have plenty of room to do so since they’ve been posting elite numbers over the past few seasons. A minor step back for this bunch would still keep them firmly in the hunt.
|Stat (5-on-5)||Regular Season (70 games)||Rank|
|Goals per 60||2.56||15th|
|Goals Against per 60||1.88||1st|
|Expected Goals per 60||2.22||27th|
|Expected Goals Against per 60||1.98||1st|
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.
And the Bruins also have plenty of fall-back options if the defense isn’t as stingy or if the forwards take some time to get going with David Pastrnak on the shelf. Boston is deep up front, has one of the NHL’s best power plays and employs one of the most reliable goaltending tandems in the league. This team isn’t set up to fail.
The one thing about the B’s that does make them a bit susceptible to taking one on the chin is that they didn’t generate a ton of scoring chances or score a ton of goals at 5-on-5 in 2019-20. That type of style can allow teams like the Devils to hang around deep into the game.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils have some things going in the right direction. Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes give them two potential No. 1 centers and they have talent on the edges with Nikita Gusev, Jesper Bratt, Kyle Palmieri and Andreas Johnsson.
There’s potential on defense, too, with Ryan Murray coming in to anchor the top pair and, hopefully, putting P.K. Subban in a spot for a bounce-back season. With the underrated Damon Severson and highly regarded rookie Ty Smith behind them, the Devils could expect an improvement from a blueline that finished near the bottom in goals against and expected goals against in 2019-20.
|Stat (5-on-5)||Regular Season (69 games)||Rank|
|Goals per 60||2.21||25th|
|Goals Against per 60||2.88||28th|
|Expected Goals per 60||2.27||25th|
|Expected Goals Against per 60||2.61||28th|
Like with most longshots, the Devils’ biggest issue is their lack of depth. There’s very little help behind the top six on offense and with Hischier and Bratt out, Lindy Ruff has basically one line he can trust.
That means that the onus will fall on Blackwood in goal. The 24-year-old was a bright spot for the Devils last season and looks like he could be on his way to a noteworthy career in Newark.
Relying on your goaltender to bail you out isn’t really a sustainable route to success, but the Devils don’t really have another viable option against the Bruins.
Devils vs. Bruins Betting Analysis
The Devils will need to basically repeat their performance from Thursday night to have a chance to pull the upset on Saturday afternoon. I don’t mean that they should let the Bruins out-shoot them by 16, but rather that they’ll have to weather the storm, get good goaltending and be clinical when they have scoring chances.
In all likelihood, Mackenzie Blackwood and the defense will be under siege at even strength and on the penalty kill, so New Jersey will need Blackwood to be stellar to even have a chance in this game.
That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for the Devils (it isn’t), but it does illustrate that there is a path to success for New Jersey, albeit a pretty slim one.
At -190, the odds are implying that the Bruins win this game 65.5% of the time. You basically won’t ever find me laying that kind of juice in an NHL game — there’s just too much variance — but that number feels about right, so I am taking a wait-and-see approach to this matchup, especially since it’s the only game on during the early afternoon and could attract a decent handle.
You can expect that most people will be looking to bet the B’s, whether by laying the juice, playing the puck-line or using them as a parlay piece, so there’s a chance this line gets high enough for a bet on the Devils.
If New Jersey gets to +185, I’d begin to think about having a go.