NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blackhawks vs. Sharks
Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36).
- The San Jose Sharks host the Chicago Blackhawks in Saturday night NHL action.
- San Jose has won five of the past eight games between these squads and our expert sees value in backing them here as well.
- Tony Sartori digs into the matchup and offers up his best bet below.
Blackhawks vs. Sharks Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (+104 /-122)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
In Saturday’s nightcap, there is a Western Conference tilt with the Pacific Division’s San Jose Sharks hosting the Central Division’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Winning five of the past eight meetings between these two clubs, San Jose typically fares well in this matchup.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as our betting pick and prediction for Blackhawks vs. Sharks.
Entering this contest in shockingly good form, the Blackhawks have won each of their last four games, with three of those four wins coming against teams currently in a playoff spot. The main reason for this strong stretch is the play of future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane, who has potted seven goals and added three assists over that span.
However, with the likely pending trade with the New York Rangers, Kane sat out of practice on Friday and it is likely that he will not play on Saturday night. Even if Kane plays on Saturday evening, the Hawks are due to regress back to the mean.
At 5-on-5, Chicago ranks last in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and second-to-last in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). Backing up this woefully inefficient lineup is goaltender Petr Mrazek, who is slated to get the start between the pipes in this matchup.
It has been a difficult campaign for the veteran netminder, who is 7-15-2 with a .888 save percentage (SV%) and 3.86 goals against average (GAA) through 26 starts. His underlying metrics suggest that positive regression is unlikely, ranking 28th among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.
San Jose Sharks
It has been a poor stretch of hockey for the Sharks recently, winning just one of their last five games. With that said, Saturday presents a tremendous “get right” spot against the Hawks.
While San Jose struggles in its own right, it is better than Chicago across the board. At 5-on-5, the Sharks rank 12th in the league in xGF/60 and 18th in xGA/60, ranking higher than the Hawks in each category.
Additionally, San Jose boasts the advantage in net as goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen is slated to start between the pipes. While Kahkonen started the season on a poor note, the second-half has gone much more smoothly for the 26-year-old. Over his last six starts, he boasts a .925 SV% and 2.68 GAA.
Blackhawks vs. Sharks Pick
If you are going to fade Chicago, then it is more profitable to take the opposing team on the puck line. Of the Hawks’ last 21 losses, 19 have come by at least a two-goal margin.
Meanwhile, 11 of the Sharks’ last 13 wins have come by at least a two-goal margin. Mrazek’s poor play should continue against San Jose, a club that he possesses a .888 SV% against through the last four meetings.
On the flip side, Kahkonen is 4-1 with a .918 SV% in his last five starts against Chicago. Back the team with the better offense, defense, and goaltender to take care of business on home ice.
Pick: Sharks -1.5 (+138) | Play down to (+110)
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