Blackhawks vs. Predators Odds & Pick: Will Home Favorites Continue to Crush? (Wednesday, Jan. 27)

Blackhawks vs. Predators Odds & Pick: Will Home Favorites Continue to Crush? (Wednesday, Jan. 27) article feature image
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Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luke Kunin

  • The Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night as the NHL season reaches the two-week point.
  • Favorites have been dominant this season, and although it's a short sample size, it's worth making a note of.
  • Michael Leboff explains whether or not that trend will continue in this game below.

Blackhawks vs. Predators Odds

Blackhawks Odds +160
Predators Odds -186
Over/Under 6
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSN
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

The 2021 NHL season turns two weeks old on Wednesday, and perhaps the most surprising part of the first fortnight is just how dominant favorites have been to start the season.

Per Bet Labs, the chalk is 62-36 on the moneyline through the first 98 games of 2021, good enough for a 63.2% win rate and a +6.2% ROI.

In 2019-20, favorites won at a 56.8% clip for a -4.6% ROI. The season prior to that, they came in at 56.9%. Over the last five regular seasons (not including 2021) favorites have won 58.1% of NHL games. In other words, this madness should calm down.

But there is a scary caveat. There has only been one season since 2005-06 in which favorites have won over 60% of games. That was back in 2013, which was also a shortened season that started in January.

Perhaps (and hopefully) it’s a coincidence, but it also could be a side effect of a schedule that has each team playing the same six or seven teams over and over again.

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The other noteworthy trend is that home teams are also winning at an impressive scale. Through the first 98 games, hosts are 59-39 (60.2%) and have a +16.9% ROI. Home favorites are 39-16. That’s good enough for a 70.9% win rate and a 18.2% ROI.

Over the last five regular seasons (not including 2021), home teams have won 54.8% of the nearly 7,000 NHL games played in that span. There have been some outlier seasons, sure, but nothing this crazy.

In fact, there’s only been one season in which home teams have won above 57.1% of their games, and that came in — you guessed it — the lockout-shortened season in 2013 when home teams won 58.1% of contests.

Those kinds of numbers will keep me up at night.

But let’s get onto Wednesday night’s nationally-televised game between the Blackhawks and Predators. This is the second game of a back-to-back for these two Central Division foes after Nashville came out on top, 3-2, as a -182 favorite. That’s right about where the Preds opened for Wednesday night’s run-it-back, though that number has ticked down a bit over night.

If you’re looking to keep riding the trend and just back a home favorite, regardless of price, you can stop reading this article and bet the Predators. If you’re a glutton for punishment and want to at least consider whether or not Chicago has some value on Wednesday, we can press on.

The Blackhawks came into 2021 with a clear identity. They have unreliable goaltending, a weak defense and some high-end scorers who can break a game open here and there to cover up for their significant flaws at the other end of the ice. That’s at least what we thought.

Through seven games, the Blackhawks have not been a complete mess defensively. Sure, they are still allowing too many goals against (2.82 per 60 minutes at 5-on-5), but their expected goals against sits at an impressive 2.05 xGA/60 through seven games, and they are bang average in terms of giving up high-danger scoring chances.

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In fact, for the first time in a while, the Blackhawks have an expected goals rate above 50%, and it’s due to their defensive fortitude rather than an offense that creates a ton of scoring chances.

Of course, seven games is a very small sample size, but it’s not like the Blackhawks didn’t know they were a defensive calamity coming into the season.

A change in style was needed for this team to be competitive, so perhaps they are trying to fog up the game more this season rather than just try and trade chances with every team they play like they did in 2019-20 when they could at least rely on their since-moved-on goaltenders.

More good news is that the Predators are not the type of team to run up the score. Nashville is only creating 1.83 xGF/60 through its first six games and while that number will certainly tick up, the Preds weren’t a creative force last season as they finished 15th in expected goals created at 5-on-5.

Nashville is certainly the better, deeper team and will have a decided goaltending advantage on Wednesday night, but I’m not interested in laying -175 on a team that has struggled to create scoring chances and is below 48% in expected goal share to start the season.

I think the current number is too high on a team that struggles to create scoring chances. At +148, you’re basically asking yourself if the Blackhawks win this game more than 40.3% of the time.

That may be a bit rich, considering they added Alex DeBrincat to an injured/COVID list that includes Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach, but I would start to get tempted if these odds tick up above +165.

Pick: Blackhawks +165 or better

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