NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions: Bet on the Minnesota Wild to Go Up 2-0 vs. Vancouver Canucks (Tuesday, Aug. 4)
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Canucks vs. Wild Odds
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|Wild Odds||-115 [BET NOW]|
|Canucks Odds||-105 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5.5 (-125/+104) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 10:45 p.m. ET|
The Minnesota Wild put together a comprehensive effort in their 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1. The Wild dominated at 5-on-5, their power play looked good and, most notably, they got some great goaltending from Alex Stalock on Sunday night.
Outside of the goaltending, it was a very Wild-like performance. Minnesota’s defense limited Vancouver to just three high-danger scoring chances and the Wild won the expected goals battle 1.86 to 1.19 at 5-on-5 and 4.03 to 1.37 in all situations. Minnesota’s offense proved to be opportunistic during the regular season and that was the case on Sunday night.
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.
I’ve been high on Minnesota since the season began because of its prowess at 5-on-5, but I was weary of its goaltending. Stalock and Devan Dubnyk were the league’s worst netminding partnership in 2019-20, combining for a -44.14 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in 69 games.
Stalock’s shutout in Game 1 was an ear-perker for Wild backers, but hockey bettors know better than to try and predict a goaltender’s form. I’m certainly not expecting another shutout from Stalock, but the beauty of the Wild’s system is that he doesn’t need to be anything but average for Minnesota to have success.
The Wild’s defense has made life so easy for Stalock and Dubnyk over the past few years. Perhaps Stalock is about to return the favor.
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.
Stylistically, the Canucks are a team that relies on creating chances by establishing offensive zone time with its cycle game. Wear defenses down, get the puck to one of its snazzy playmakers and let him pick out the right pass or shot to create a scoring chance.
The bad news is that Vancouver doesn’t have the depth to have an effective Plan B. If Minnesota shuts down Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller the Canucks don’t really have an answer.
That’s why I thought Vancouver was a false favorite in this series. Game 1 was a virtual pick ’em but the Wild are favorites across-the-board for Game 2. That isn’t surprising since Minnesota was much better in Game 1 and there was a lot of movement toward Minnesota before the curtain-raiser.
I like the Wild at -115 (PointsBet, bet365) and would pay up to -120 in Game 2 but I would get those bets in ASAP as I expect Minnesota to get more expensive as we get closer to puck drop.
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