NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions: San Jose Sharks vs. St. Louis Blues (Wednesday, Jan. 20)
ST. LOUIS, MO – JANUARY 18: during an NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues on January 18, 2021, at Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
Sharks vs. Blues Odds
|Sharks Odds||+150 [BET NOW]|
|Senators Odds||-175 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||6 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday night and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.|
The NHL’s West Division can be broken up into two different competitions. The Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues are far and away the top three teams in the set, while the other five teams, including the San Jose Sharks, will likely compete amongst each other for the final spot in the playoffs.
Thus, it’s no wonder that the Blues are prohibitive favorites in this game, but does that mean they aren’t worthy of a bet?
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks needed to do something about their goaltending in the offseason, so they traded for Devan Dubnyk. That probably wasn’t a wise move as it appears that Dubnyk’s .890 save percentage might be an indicator of a goalie on a downward slope rather than simply a blip on the radar.
With Dubnyk and incumbent Martin Jones, San Jose arguably have the second-worst goaltending duo in the league after the Chicago Blackhawks. Jones has not posted over a .900 save percentage since 2018.
The Sharks are built around their two star defensemen, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson, but neither is known for their work in the defensive zone. Through three games this season, no team has a worse expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 than the Sharks with 3.14.
Combining the leaky defense with bad goaltending is a recipe for giving up a crooked number quite often. San Jose will be fishing the puck out of its own net quite often this season.
Offensively, the Sharks have some solid players in Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, but they don’t have much help down the roster. If those guys aren’t scoring, it’s hard to find the goals on this team.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues won the Stanley Cup just two seasons ago and a lot of players from that squad remain on the roster. St. Louis’ identity has not changed much either.
Last season, the Blues ranked first in shot attempts allowed and seventh in expected goals against per 60 minutes. Despite opening the season with two games against the Colorado Avalanche, the Blues boast the best xGA per 60 minutes and they have allowed the second-fewest shot attempts per 60 (both stats 5-on-5).
Unfortunately for the Blues, Jordan Binnington has allowed 8 goals over his past five periods of work and sports a -4.41 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) through his first three games. This comes on the heels of a poor showing in last year’s playoffs.
Binnington will always have a special spot in St. Louis after his playoff run in 2019, but it will be interesting to see how much leeway he gets if things continue to trend in the wrong direction in 2021.
Going into the season, the question was whether the Blues would be able to score enough. With Vladimir Tarasenko on long-term injured reserve, there’s no elite offensive players on this team. That being said, the group involving Ryan O’Reilly, Mike Hoffman, Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and David Perron should do enough for the Blues. New addition Torey Krug should add some scoring from the backend along with Vince Dunn and Justin Faulk.
Blues vs. Sharks Best Bet
The Blues deserve to be the chalk in this game but -175 is simply too steep for me to pursue. On the flipside, I’d probably need something closer to +170 to consider betting the Sharks in this game. Their goaltending situation puts them behind the eight ball before the puck even drops.
I thought about betting the Over in this game but the Blues defense is amongst the league’s best, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see them hold the Sharks to a goal or shut them out.
This leads me to isolating the biggest weakness for the Sharks. I think the Blues should be able to score at will against a Sharks defense that is leaking high-quality chances in front of suspect goaltending.
The Blues hung a 5-spot on the Sharks on Monday night, so my favorite angle in this contest is to back the Blues to score Over 3.5 goals at +107. I would bet it to -110.
The Bet: St. Louis Blues Team Total Over 3.5 (+107)