Blackhawks vs. Blues NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can Underdog Chicago Pull Off Road Upset? (Saturday, Feb. 12)
David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury
- The Chicago Blackhawks square off against the St. Louis Blues in Saturday's NHL showdown.
- The host Blues are heavy -200 ML favorites entering this matchup, but Nicholas Martin thinks this is a prime spot for the underdogs to spring the upset.
- Check out below why he thinks Chicago gets the best of its counterpart.
Blackhawks vs. Blues Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
St. Louis will look to bounce back after a second consecutive embarrassing home defeat in Saturday’s game against Chicago. And the Blues will have a great chance to do so against their Central Division rivals.
Can St. Louis get its shaky defensive play under control or will we see Chicago able to post another surprising victory, building off a great effort Wednesday in Edmonton?
Lost in much of the story surrounding Chicago’s 4-1 win over Edmonton, which ultimately lead to head coach Dave Tippett’s dismissal, was that the team truly played a sharp game and generated a ton in front of goal.
Surely, they could’ve seen one or more pucks end up in their net, but offensively the team was very threatening, and Alex Debrincat and Patrick Kane were clearly the best two players on the ice.
Kirby Dach, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, had a strong contest with two points and has the talent to produce more than we have seen so far for the Blackhawks, which would be a massive boost to a club clearly lacking many true offensive threats.
Defensively the Hawks have stabilized under coach Derek King, and although they have started to regress from the excellent results we saw for the first month and a bit of his hire, a 14th best 2.98 xGA/60 rate over their last 5 contests is still far better than what we saw early on from the Hawks.
Looking toward this contest, Chicago’s ability to play a sharp defensive game will be crucial and need to capitalize on St. Louis’ suspect defensive play at the other end. It’s certainly a very tough argument to say they hold the same kind of offensive firepower as the Blues this season.
Another strong performance from last year’s Vezina trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury will be crucial to the Blackhawks’ chances. Fleury has put together an inconsistent season holding a -9.5 goals saved above expected rating and a .910 save %, but has stabilized after a very dreadful start.
St. Louis Blues
For much of January, I had St. Louis pegged as a group due for worse results defensively, as the nature of the breakdowns allowed by this unit a lot of nights appeared much worse than results had indicated.
That narrative came to a fever pitch Thursday against the Devils, with the club collapsing in a 7-4 loss, following a 4-1 home loss to a depleted Winnipeg Jets one game prior.
Surely, they aren’t as poor as the two results indicate, but I do see this defense setting up to be below average big picture and a fourth-worst league wide xGA/60 over their last 10 of 3.56 is a pretty firm comment that these results aren’t simply awful luck.
Offensively, this is a very dangerous club, which has certainly gone a long way in covering the lesser defensive play this season, allowing the Blues to still achieve a successful record.
Expected goals mean far from everything, and at least offensively it’s clear this team is capable of outscoring their expected rate big picture with the lethal playmakers and finishers on hand. They have also scored 20.99 goals above expected already this season, but a 39.5 xGF% over their last 10 games is hard to ignore, the league’s third-worst mark coming from a supposed contender.
They have seen far worse goaltending of late from Jordan Binnington compared to Ville Husso however, and we can expect Ville Husso to get another chance to start here after Binnington was lit up by New Jersey.
Husso holds a +16.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .941 save % throughout 15 games played this season.
St. Louis is no doubt the better team, holding a way deeper offensive unit, but it enters as a massive favorite with Chicago going as the biggest underdog on the eight-game slate at +165 odds.
Chicago’s main strength under Derek King has been their ability to hang around in games, often faring positively in close contests, and attempting to allow little in the way of high danger chances against.
Fleury enters this contest after a tremendous effort against an Oilers team with a similar makeup to the Blues, in that they simply look to overpower offensively to cover up for lesser defensive play. That said, I think he and the Blackhawks are too big of an underdog with this one having a similar storyline.
At such long odds, I see value backing Chicago against St. Louis, which really hasn’t appeared to be in dominant enough form to warrant such a price.
Pick: Chicago ML (+165 or better)
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