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NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins (April 2)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Bruins (April 2) article feature image
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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Bruins standout Brad Marchand.

  • The Boston Bruins welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to Beantown for Saturday's NHL game.
  • The Bruins have been one of the hottest teams in the league, leading analyst Nicholas Martin to believe this could be a rout.
  • Check out below why he's backing Boston to earn the easy victory.

Blue Jackets vs. Bruins Odds

Blue Jackets Odds +310
Bruins Odds -400
Over/Under 6.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

After suffering a crucial loss on home ice to Toronto on Tuesday, Boston took some frustration out on visiting New Jersey in an 8-1 blowout in Thursday’s NHL action.

Boston now looks toward some easier competition Saturday when it faces Columbus as it pursues home-ice advantage in opening round of the playoffs.

So, will we see another comfortable Bruins result here or is Columbus due for an uptick in results? Let’s check to this matchup and find some betting value.

Columbus Blue Jackets

After being bested twice in a home-and-home set with the Islanders to start the week, Columbus has now suffered five consecutive defeats. For weeks, I targeted Columbus as a club due for regression and we are seeing it hit that wall hard.

Consistent with most the 2022 schedule, Columbus has allowed a ton of chances against while allowing a lot of goals against as well. Over the last six contests, the Blue Jackets have played to a 44.48 expected goals rate and a 3.27 xGA/60 minutes effort.

The way Columbus’ young group has competed is simply admirable, so I hate picking on this group. The team has managed to stay ahead of comparable developing teams or groups like the Devils, who even projected to be loosely in the playoff mix. And for that reason, Columbus deserve a lot of credit.

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However, the play offered over the last two months has simply not been as mediocre as the record has often suggested, so not continuing to fade them has proved difficult as the underlying numbers remain very poor.

Top defender Zach Werenski ending up on the IR certainly hasn’t helped things and he will remain sidelined for this contest.

Goaltender Elvis Merlikins will likely draw the start from head coach Brad Larsen. He has played  to a -7.0 GSAx rating with a .902 save % through 46 games played.

Boston Bruins

Boston’s 8-1 win moved it to an absurd 15-3-1 over the last 19 games, and right in the mix of the the race for second in the Atlantic Division. During that run, the Bruins have played to a league leading 59.27 xG and it’s a very fair statement to say that they’re a contender.

The Bruins have continued to dominate over a more recent sample looking towards the last two weeks of play. Boston owns a  5-1-0 record and a 60.3% xG rate.

Hampus Lindholm has thrived since his arrival in Boston at the trade deadline, playing mainly on the top pair with Charlie McAvoy and bolstering an already excellent defensive club. In 46.6. minutes of play together, he and McAvoy have been absolutely dominant, playing to a 70.0% xG share.

With more pieces currently contributing offensively than we have often seen in recent years, the Bruins look scary good heading towards the postseason.

It remains to be seen whether Boston will start Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman and confirmation on the starter should be available Saturday.

Swayman has played to a +10.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .920 save % throughout 32 games played, while Ullmark holds a -1.3 GSAx with a .910 throughout 34 games played.

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Blue Jackets vs. Bruins Pick

Boston have been among the league’s best teams and continued to take big strides toward a postseason with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations.

One thing the Bruins can do to help makes things somewhat easier would be to confirm home-ice advantage and avoid a wild card. Should Boston hope to do so, it must avoid letdown games against teams they can comfortably dominate like Columbus.

It will be hard for Columbus to score its way to a result against the Bruins as they have done as of late, and it’s easy to see why this should be another comfortable win for Boston.

It seems crazy to think -130 is a valuable price looking toward the Puck Line, but I think this is a spot where everybody piles on Boston and we actually do not see a better number come game time.

I like Boston at -130 to cover the Puck Line of -1.5 goals and would play that down to -145 odds as my top pick.

Pick: Boston -1.5 (-130 | Play to -145)

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