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Blackhawks vs. Oilers Odds & Pick: Chicago Could Provide Value Again In Game 2

Blackhawks vs. Oilers Odds & Pick: Chicago Could Provide Value Again In Game 2 article feature image

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images.

  • The Chicago Blackhawks took Game 1 of their series against the Edmonton Oilers in an impressive performance.
  • The betting market initially overreacted to the win, but Michael Leboff still sees value on Chicago for Monday night.
  • Find out which odds he's looking to bet below.

Blackhawks vs. Oilers Odds

Blackhawks Odds +111 [BET NOW]
Oilers Odds -129 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 [BET NOW]
Time 10:30 p.m. ET

As soon as the Edmonton Oilers made it official that they would be starting Mike Smith in goal for Game 1, I felt very good about my Blackhawks bet. Turns out the decision to go with Smith over Mikko Koskinen, who is better than Smith at being a goalie, was a bad call by Oilers head coach Dave Tippett.

Smith didn’t help Edmonton’s cause in the curtain-raiser, but he wasn’t the only reason the Oilers got waxed by the Blackhawks. The Hawks took 55.7% of the shot attempts, created 60% of the high-danger chances and controlled 55.8% of the expected goals at 5-on-5. Chicago was better than Edmonton all over the ice.

It was an especially bumpy afternoon for Edmonton’s top line. Connor McDavid scored the first goal of the game, but his unit was absolutely shelled at 5-on-5. McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian combined for a 28% expected goals rate at 5-on-5.

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.

Expected goals numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

Both of these teams are built to go as far as their superstars take them and in Game 1 it was Chicago’s headliners who played better.

I thought this series was a lot closer than the odds made it out to be. The Oilers are better, but these are two deeply flawed teams that rely on their best players carrying them over the line. One night, Chicago’s stars will show up. On the other, it could be Edmonton’s.

A comprehensive performance like the one Chicago put forth on Saturday will often skew the market for the next game, especially in a playoff series. Bettors are what-have-you-done-for-me-lately creatures and won’t want to back a team that was defeated in the fashion that Edmonton was on Saturday.

After opening in the +130 range for Game 1, the Blackhawks took some late money and closed between +112 (DraftKings) and +125 (bet365, FanDuel). Unsurprisingly, they opened lower than that for Game 2 and actually were sitting at +100 at FanDuel at 12:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. That number was a bit preposterous and the market has since corrected and pushed Chicago back up to +120 at FanDuel, bet365 and PointsBet and +111 at DraftKings.

I’d be pretty surprised to see Chicago jump much higher than +120 between now and puck drop, but I’m going to keep an eye on it because I’m closer on the Blackhawks than I am on the Oilers. I don’t think +120 provides all that much value and I’m hoping we can get a +125 on the Hawks, but if it doesn’t pop I’ll just bite the bullet and take +120 for action on the game.

[Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, CO, IN and WV only.]

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