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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Blackhawks

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Blackhawks article feature image
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Pictured: Gustav Nyquist #14 of the Columbus Blue Jackets. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • The Blackhawks host the Blue Jackets as each team seeks a win before the holiday break.
  • Columbus has lost five in a row, while Chicago has lost eight straight.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the odds and offers up a betting pick below.

Blue Jackets vs. Blackhawks Odds

Blue Jackets Odds -102
Blackhawks Odds -118
Over/Under 6.5 (+100/-122)
Time 8:30 p.m. ET
TV NBCSCH+
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

On the final day before the holiday break, the Central Division’s Chicago Blackhawks host the Metropolitan Division’s Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the first meeting between these clubs this season and each squad finds itself at the bottom of its respective division.

Will the Blackhawks pull off the victory as a rare betting favorite, or can the Blue Jackets end their five-game losing streak? Let’s look at the odds and make a pick.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

There is not a lot to like about the Columbus Blue Jackets. They are dealing with more injuries than perhaps any other team in the league, the offense lacks creativity, the defense is thin and the goaltending has performed far below replacement level.

With that being said, they are still the side to target in this contest. The Blue Jackets are terrible in pretty much every fashion, but are still better than Chicago across the board.

At 5-on-5, Columbus ranks 27th in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and 28th in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60). Those are some brutal rankings, but the Hawks rank 32nd and 29th, respectively, in those two categories.

The Blue Jackets should also possess the goaltending advantage as Daniil Tarasov is slated to start between the pipes. Through 11 appearances in the crease this season, Tarasov boasts a .913 SV% and a 3.13 GAA.

If he qualified, Tarasov would rank 11th among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.


Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks’ tank for Connor Bedard has gone beautifully as of late. The Blackhawks have dropped 16 of their past 17 games with an average losing margin of 2.7 goals.

Chicago’s lineup is a disaster. There is no depth offensively outside of a few pieces in the top six and the defense bleeds high-danger scoring chances at an extraordinarily high rate.

This roster is constructed to lose games, which is what GM Kyle Davidson wants in an attempt to win the Bedard sweepstakes. That is why he traded away almost every key piece over the off-season, with the exception of Patrick Kane, who is likely to get dealt prior to the trade deadline.

Backing up this poor lineup is goaltender Petr Mrazek, who is projected to get the start Friday. It has been a tremendously difficult season for the veteran netminder, both due to his play and the team in front of him.

He is 2-8-1 with a .874 SV% and a 4.22 GAA.

If he qualified, Mrazek would rank second-to-last among starting goaltenders in GSAx/60 at 5-on-5.


Blue Jackets vs. Blackhawks Pick

In a battle between two bottom feeders, the wrong team is favored. There is an old saying that goes, “players don’t tank, organizations do.”

While that statement is true, and the Hawks’ players certainly don’t care about the draft pick, the group has clearly given up on the year regardless. Over the past couple of weeks, Chicago’s play has gotten sloppier and lazier. The effort is practically non-existent.

Chicago is currently under “must-fade” status in every single game, regardless of its opponent. The Jackets aren’t good either, but they do possess the advantage offensively, defensively and in net.

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