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

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blue Jackets vs. Kraken article feature image

Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Matty Beniers of the Seattle Kraken.

  • The Kraken host the Blue Jackets on Saturday and both teams will be playing the second leg of a back-to-back.
  • On paper, Seattle is the much better team, but where does the betting value lie?
  • Ryan Dadoun digs into the odds and offers up his best bet below.

Blue Jackets vs. Kraken Odds

Blue Jackets Odds+215
Kraken Odds-265
Over/Under6.5 (-110/-110)
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Seattle didn't have a Vegas-like first season, but the Kraken's sophomore campaign has been a complete reversal as they are 28-14-5 entering Friday's action. Meanwhile, Columbus is a dreary 15-30-3.

Both teams will be tired given that Seattle and Columbus are scheduled to play Friday, but regardless of that small wrinkle, it's pretty clear the Kraken are the heavy favorites.

That being said, is there a reason to consider going with the underdog or should we just take the safer bet? Let's look at the odds and make a betting prediction.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus has had a rough campaign and injuries have been a big part of the problem. Jakub Voracek (concussion), who had 62 points last season, hasn't played since Nov. 4 and Zach Werenski (shoulder), who had 48 points while averaging 25:40 of ice time in 2021-22, hasn't played since Nov. 10. Gustav Nyquist, who has 10 goals and 42 points this season, has joined them on the injured list and is out indefinitely with an upper body injury.

Columbus has the 29th-ranked offense (2.58 goals per game) and considering the players the Blue Jackets are missing, they'll have a hard time doing meaningfully better against the Kraken. To be fair, they do still have Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine, a superb combo for the top line, but Columbus doesn't really have the depth to capitalize on its star power.

To make matters worse, Joonas Korpisalo is expected to start Friday versus Vancouver, which leaves Elvis Merzlikins as the probable starter against Seattle. Merzlikins has a 5-13-0 record, a 4.48 GAA and a .868 save percentage in 20 contests this season. To put that into context, Merzlikins has the worst GAA and lowest save percentage among goaltenders who have appeared in at least 15 games.

Merzlikins hasn't done much better lately either. He's 1-3-0 with a 4.36 GAA and an .879 save percentage over his past four games.

Seattle Kraken

Just how good is the Kraken offense? They rank fourth with 3.66 goals per game and have managed that without a star forward. Going into Friday's contest, Seattle doesn't have a single player who has reached the 40-point milestone — despite 80 players across the league having reached that mark.

As of Friday, Seattle does have six players with over 30 points. The Blue Jackets have one. Seattle also has three players with at least 15 goals. The Blue Jackets have none.

Seattle has become Exhibit A of showing how to assemble an elite offense group without a true superstar.

The Kraken have needed that strong offense because their goaltending hasn't measured up. Martin Jones is set to start Friday against Calgary, so Philipp Grubauer will probably face the Blue Jackets. Grubauer has struggled this season, posting a 4-8-2 record, a 3.18 GAA and a .893 save percentage in 16 contests.

Under most circumstances, I'd give the goaltending edge to Seattle's opponent when Grubauer is sent out, but given how poorly Merzlikins has done, Grubauer actually looks like the better netminder, barely.

Blue Jackets vs. Kraken Pick

As expected, given these two teams' divergent records, the moneyline odds are about as lopsided as they can be. However, the puckline is 1.5 goals in favor of Columbus.

Part of me wants to get cute and take Columbus just to have the spread on my side, but at the end of the day, I have to recommend selecting Seattle on the puckline. This contest looks too one-sided for me to do otherwise.

In any game, any outcome is possible, but with Merzlikins as Columbus' projected starter, the Blue Jackets' injury situation, the great season the Kraken are having and the fact that this game is being played in Seattle, there is just too much stacked in the Kraken's favor for me to feel comfortable betting against them.

Pick: Kracken Puckline | Play to -130

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