NHL Odds & Picks for Blues vs. Golden Knights: St. Louis Can Hang with Vegas on Thursday Night (Jan. 28)
LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 26: the Vegas Golden Knights against the St. Louis Blues on January 26, 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)
Editor’s Note: Thursday night’s game between Vegas and St. Louis has been postponed due to COVID issues.
Blues vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-148|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
The chalk just keeps rolling in the NHL. Favorites went 2-0 on Wednesday night, bringing their record to a robust 64-36 through the first 100 games of the 2021 campaign. Both of Wednesday’s winners were also the home team, which brought their 2021 record to 61-39 overall and 41-16 for home favorites.
At some point these numbers should calm down. Over the last five seasons (not including 2021), favorites have won 58.1% of NHL games and home teams have a 54.8% win rate (per Bet Labs).
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. That also happens to be the last time that home teams had a win rate over 57.1%.
Regression, can you hear our cries for help?
While I do expect/hope/need those numbers to come down, it will be interesting to see how this developing trend plays out on Thursday night with 14 games on the docket.
My favorite bet on this deep board is… a road underdog.
Blues vs. Golden Knights Betting Analysis
The St. Louis Blues are giving up more goals than we’re used to seeing. The Blues are allowing 3.7 goals per game overall, and 2.7 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5. When you think of Craig Berube’s Blues, you think defense. But in a funky turn of events, St. Louis is leaking tallies to start 2021. The Blues have allowed 4+ goals in half of their games and they’ve shipped at least six goals twice.
Numbers like that give you some pause, especially since the Blues watched their No. 1 defenseman walk to Vegas in the offseason, but there’s no reason to panic about this defense. While they are allowing 2.7 goals/60, the Blues are surrendering just 1.99 xG/60 through their first seven contests. That number is basically on par with where St. Louis was in 2019/20.
The Golden Knights are an offensive buzzsaw that led the NHL (by a noteworthy margin) with a +0.65 xG differential per 60 minutes last season, but the Blues are equipped to absorb that kind of pressure and keep the Knights from running away with this game.
St. Louis has been one of the league’s best teams at keeping the opposition out of the danger areas and that hasn’t changed so far as the Blues are surrendering just 6.6 high-danger scoring chances per 60 minutes through their first seven contests (per Natural Stat Trick.)
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.
Additionally, the Blues should have the goaltending edge in this game. The Knights plan to rotate their goalies each game in the beginning of the season and Robin Lehner played on Tuesday, so that means St. Louis will go up against Marc-Andre Fleury. Despite a strong start to the season, Fleury is a few tiers below Lehner and his presence should give the Blues, a team that does struggle to create opportunities, a bit of a boost on offense.
The Blues closed as +125 underdogs against the Knights on Tuesday night. I thought that number was in range for a play, so I’ll go back to them again on Thursday with what should be a better goaltending matchup.