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NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes (Jan. 6)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes (Jan. 6) article feature image
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Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury.

  • The Blackhawks are favored on Thursday night on the road against the Coyotes.
  • Chicago has lost five straight but is coming off a promising performance against the mighty Avalanche.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.

Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Odds

Blackhawks Odds -160
Coyotes Odds +135
Over/Under 5.5
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Chicago will head into Arizona looking to snap a five-game skid against a Coyotes team with a realistic shot at posting the salary cap era’s worst record, sitting at 6-22-3 so far.

Will the Blackhawks be able to claim two points from some considerably inferior competition and get things moving in the right direction again?

Chicago Coming Off Valiant Effort

Forgotten after Cale Makar’s jaw-dropping overtime winner on Tuesday was the fact that Chicago had played a really solid game, fighting back from two goals down against the lethal Colorado Avalanche, including an expected goals share of 2.67-1.56 rarely seen in Avs contests.

Chicago has faced three notably tough spots in return since the COVID/holiday break, facing a red-hot Nashville club with a third string net-minder in, before playing the rested and excellent Calgary Flames the next day.

This contest in Arizona offers a great chance to reset and get things right for Chicago, and a similar effort here to what we saw Tuesday against Colorado would likely find it back in the win column.

The Blackhawks’ lack of offensive depth undoubtedly leaves them as a bottom-third club this year, but they still have greatly limited high quality chances against since interim coach Derek King took charge. They’ve kept that trend up with a 2.22 expected goals allowed per 60 minutes over the last month, with a 49.69 xGF% altogether.

Marc-Andre Fleury has stabilized Chicago between the pipes, as expected, as the season has progressed. He has a -7.0 goals saved above expected rating and .911 save percentage in 21 games.

Dreadful Coyotes Offer Little Across Ice

Heading into the season, Arizona’s roster appeared to offer arguably less talent than any seen in recent memory, and the results have been as expected.

The team is arguably skating less dreadfully of late than it was to begin the season, but with that said the Coyotes still have posted just a 45.05 xGF% over their last eight games, during which they’ve notched a 1-6-1 record and -16 goal differential.

Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz have found better form of late up front, but even still Arizona offers very little ability going forward.

Dysin Mayo has been a positive story for the Coyotes and will remain on the top defensive pair tomorrow night with Jakob Chychrun sidelined. But although the 25-year-old has surprised with his play this season, it’s clear he should not be playing top-pair minutes. He has posted a 45.7 xGF% in 305.7 minutes with Shayne Gostisbehere this season.

It’s unclear whether the Coyotes will go back to Karel Vejmelka here after a strong start vs Winnipeg or with Scott Wedgewood, but I would lean toward Wedgewood getting back in. He holds a -7.7 goals saved above expected rating, with a .894 save percentage in 17 games this season.

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Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Pick

As outlined, Chicago has come out of the break facing three straight tough spots, but this is a perfect get-right spot.

The Blackhawks are far from a dominant club, but they have trended upward under King. I think they can build on that very strong effort against Colorado and get a better result against a dreadful Coyotes roster.

Arizona simply hasn’t been laying down and is clearly competing, but the lack of scoring punch, combined with some lesser goaltending options and horrible special teams play, continues to lead to loss after loss.

Chicago has still carried more play at 5-on-5 of late than Arizona, has a goaltending edge with Fleury in and is still offering better special teams play. At -155 I’m still willing to lay the juice, and look to fade the Coyotes once again here.

For a Blackhawks team that has played a ton of close contests including lots of games ending past regulation under King, I’ll take some lower odds to still have a wager alive in overtime worst-case scenario as opposed to playing -1.5 or 3-way lines, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that. I think we have some value fading Arizona yet again at -155.

Pick: Blackhawks -155 (play to -175) 

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