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Predators vs. Coyotes Odds & Pick: Value On Arizona In Game 4

Predators vs. Coyotes Odds & Pick: Value On Arizona In Game 4 article feature image

Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Phil Kessel.

  • As the Predators vs. Coyotes series heads into Game 4, our hockey betting analyst sees value on Arizona.
  • Find analysis of the odds for Friday's matchup below, complete with Michael Leboff's pick.

Predators vs. Coyotes Odds

Coyotes Odds +120 [BET NOW]
Predators Odds -139 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 5.5 (+114/-137) [BET NOW]
Time Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET
TV NHL Network

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It was always clear what the Arizona Coyotes needed to do to hang with the Nashville Predators in a best-of-five series. The Yotes needed to hang with the Preds at 5-on-5 and hope that goaltender Darcy Kuemper would carry over his form from the regular season.

Kuemper has certainly done his part. The 30-year-old netminder has a .947 save percentage (SV%) at even strength and a .928 SV% in all situations through three games. Kuemper’s piece de resistance came in Game 3 when he stopped 39 of 40 shots.

According to MoneyPuck’s expected goals model, the Predators should have scored 3.52 goals on Wednesday (including 3.18 at 5-on-5), but Kuemper held them in check despite Nashville playing perhaps its best game of the series. If the Predators and Coyotes played that game 100 times, the Predators probably would have won 90.

And you wonder why betting on hockey is so damn cruel.

Arizona Coyotes Nashville Predators
5-on-5 Goals For 6 5
5-on-5 Expected Goals For 4.19 5.93
5-on-5 Shot Attempts 118 156
5-on-5 High-Danger Scoring Chances 24 29

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.

It’s hard to account for goaltending when handicapping an NHL game because it’s so difficult to project. Kuemper could come out and struggle in Game 4 or he could stand on his head again.

I generally try to avoid betting on, or against, a team just because of their goalie, but it is something I always keep in mind. There are some goalies who can bridge the gap between a mediocre team and a strong team and some goalies who can drag a team down.

Kuemper is certainly in the first bucket. He was on pace for a Vezina-worthy season before he got hurt this season and his +17.01 Goals Saved Above Expectations over his last 84 games (not including playoffs) makes him out to be one of the most dependable goaltenders in the NHL.

You’d think that Nashville’s goaltending tandem, which is currently led by Juuse Saros with Pekka Rinne serving as the deputy, would be able to keep pace with Kuemper but that hasn’t been the case.

Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) is an advanced statistic that measures a goaltender’s performance against the quality of scoring chances he faced. It is a better catch-all metric compared to save percentage because every SV% counts every saved shot and goal the same, while GSAx weights shots by the quality of the scoring chance.

GSAx numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.

Saros (or Rinne, if the Preds go in that direction) is certainly good enough to bounce back and lead the Predators to a victory in Game 4 and his job should be a little easier than Kuemper’s considering Nashville is the better team. A good performance from Saros can have the same kind of impact as a great performance from Kuemper.

In terms of Game 4, I like the Coyotes at the price. The listed odds put their implied probability a shade below 44% and I think that underrates Arizona a little bit. I wouldn’t go below +115 on Arizona and even there I’m not enamored with the price.

If you are looking to bet on Nashville, I’d consider looking at the series price (+215) rather than laying the -139 on Game 4. Considering the price on Nashville at the moment and where the Preds have closed in this series (-136, 141, -148) you’d probably get more value on the +215 than you would on creating an open parlay with Nashville in its next two games.

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