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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blues vs. Blackhawks

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blues vs. Blackhawks article feature image

Joe Puetz/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Binnington

  • The St. Louis Blues visit the Chicago Blackhawks in Thursday night NHL action.
  • St. Louis has been playing well and has won six of its past 10 games. Meanwhile, Chicago has struggled lately -- just as it has all season.
  • Tony Sartori provides his best bet and analysis below.

Blues vs. Blackhawks Odds

Blues Odds-143
Blackhawks Odds+123
Over/Under6.5 (-103/-117)
Time8:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There is a Central Division tilt on Thursday evening with the eighth-place Chicago Blackhawks hosting the sixth-place St. Louis Blues.

St. Louis has dominated this matchup over the past couple of seasons and won nine of the past 11 meetings between these clubs.

Here’s a look at the odds, as well as my Blues vs. Blackhawks betting pick.

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St. Louis Blues

The bad news for the St. Louis Blues is that they are a terrible hockey team. The good news is they are not nearly as bad as the Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis enters this contest in relatively decent form, having won seven of its past 11 games. A big reason for the uptick in performance is the incredible play of winger Jakub Vrana, who has been a tremendous addition to the club.

Over the past 11 games, Vrana has tallied eight goals and two assists. Most of the recent wins came against bottom feeders — outside of the Winnipeg Jets — but that just gives me even more confidence in the Blues against the lowly Hawks.

While the Blues’ underlying metrics aren’t anything to brag about, they do outrank Chicago in every key category. At 5-on-5, St. Louis ranks four spots higher than the Hawks in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and five spots higher in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are right where one would expect in the standings. After trading any and all assets with value at the deadline, Chicago saw a brief uptick in performance with multiple AHL guys playing on the big stage and trying to earn future roster spots.

However, reality quickly set in for a team with this type of roster construction. Chicago has lost 13 of its past 16 games and is a disaster on both offense and defense.

At 5-on-5, the Hawks rank last in the league in xGF/60 and second-to-last in xGA/60. Backing up this inefficient team is goaltender Petr Mrazek, who is projected to start Thursday.

It has been a difficult campaign for the veteran netminder, who is 8-20-3 with a .896 SV% and a 3.61 goals against average (GAA) through 35 appearances.

Among starting goaltenders, Mrazek ranks 20th in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.

Blues vs. Blackhawks Pick

Mrazek’s poor play is likely to continue against the Blues. Over his past two appearances against St. Louis, he is 0-1 with a .789 SV% and a 6.01 GAA.

Across the ice, Jordan Binnington is expected to get the nod in net for St. Louis. Overall, it’s been a rough season for Binnington, but playing against the Hawks may give him a much-needed boost.

Over his past six starts against Chicago, Binnington is 4-1-1 with a .928 SV% and a 1.85 GAA. With the better offense, defense and goaltender (maybe), back the superior team to take care of business on the road.

Pick: Blues Moneyline | Play to -165

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