NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Ducks
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Gaudreau of the Columbus Blue Jackets
- The Ducks host the Blue Jackets in a Friday night tilt between two of the NHL's worst teams.
- Neither of these teams is competing for a spot in the postseason, but there's still betting value to be found and our expert has done so.
- Tony Sartori previews the game and offers up his best bet below.
Blue Jackets vs. Ducks Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||-105|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
In Friday’s nightcap, the Pacific Division’s Anaheim Ducks host the Metropolitan Division’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both of these clubs find themselves near the basement of the NHL standings, and while organizations tank, players don’t.
Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my Blue Jackets vs. Ducks pick.
Columbus Blue Jackets
There is no denying the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets are terrible, and their 21-38-7 record is far worse than most predicted after the club brought in Johnny Gaudreau over the off-season. Since Columbus is on the second-half of a back-to-back, backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson is slated to start Friday.
It has been a tough stretch for Hutchinson, who is coming off his first couple of starts since 2021. Since getting another crack in the NHL after Elvis Merzlikins returned to Latvia, Hutchinson is 0-1-1 with a .873 save percentage (SV%) and a 3.33 goals against average (GAA).
However, those two outings came against St. Louis and Pittsburgh, two deep offenses full of talent. Perhaps a matchup against the lowly Anaheim Ducks is exactly what Hutchinson needs to get back on track, which is very possible considering his history against them.
Through six career outings against Anaheim, Hutchinson boasts a .915 SV% and a 2.62 GAA.
Across the ice, goaltender John Gibson is slated to start for the Ducks. Hutchinson has struggled in each of his past two outings, but Gibson has been even worse.
Over his past two starts, Gibson is 0-1-1 with a troubling .841 SV%. It has been a difficult campaign for Gibson, who ranks 20th among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.
Not helping his cause is the fact that Anaheim is arguably the worst two-way team in the league. At 5-on-5, the Ducks rank 29th in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and last in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).
While Columbus also struggles in every aspect of the game, it ranks higher than Anaheim in both xGF/60 and xGA/60 at 5-on-5.
Blue Jackets vs. Ducks Pick
Not only are the Blue Jackets better than the Ducks at even-strength, but they also rank higher in both power play goals for per 60 minutes and penalty kill goals against per 60 minutes.
So, if Columbus is better at both even-strength and special teams, why are the Blue Jackets +110? First of all, Anaheim is on home ice, although it is even worse at the Honda Center than on the road this season.
Secondly, Hutchinson hasn’t looked great since making his return to the NHL. With that in mind, Gibson has also struggled mightily.
Finally, the Blue Jackets are on the second half of a back-to-back while the Ducks haven’t played since Wednesday. That fact is the most concerning in backing Columbus, but with the better team priced at plus-money, it’s worth taking a shot on Columbus.
Pick: Blue Jackets Moneyline | Play to -120
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