NHL Odds, Expert Pick & Prediction: Blues vs. Blackhawks (November 16)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Binnington and Josh Leivo.
- The Blues and Blackhawks meet in a Central Division rivalry game on Wednesday evening.
- St. Louis is rebounding off a tough start to the season and is favored, while Chicago is playing much like its lottery-bound expectations.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Blues vs. Blackhawks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.|
St. Louis enters in the midst of a solid stretch, however, and appears to be righting the ship with impressive wins in Vegas and Colorado to start a three-game road swing.
Chicago is heading in the opposite direction and has lost seven of nine after a surprisingly strong start to the campaign.
Can St. Louis continue clawing its way back up the Central leaderboard?
Blues Trending Up After Tough Start
With David Perron the only meaningful loss to the Blues' forward core this season, most would have expected the Blues to be one of the most potent offensive teams in the league this season.
The Blues scored at a fourth-best clip league wide in last year's regular season, and carried that play into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they still managed 3.33 goals per game against the Wild and the eventual champion Avalanche.
Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas were two major reasons why, and were each awarded matching $8.125 million extensions this summer.
Similar to the rest of the Blues' offensive core, both have struggled in the early going, but have been quite noticeable over the last handful of games and seem to be finding it.
The Blues have played to a 50.85 xGF% over the last seven games, which is actually a slight improvement compared to the analytical profile we have typically seen from this core.
The main difference for the Blues thus far this season has been that the team has hard a very hard time finishing off its offensive chances, and has shot just 7.48% and scored -6.43 goals above expected.
Even Monday in Colorado it seemed clear the Blues could have managed more than three goals, but things are clearly looking up in that regard with 11 goals over the win streak.
St. Louis may be primed for a bigger breakthrough as it faces off against a much more gettable defensive opponent Wednesday, and I believe that the pieces are in place for more success in that regard moving forward.
It's been a very up-and-down start to the season No. 1 netminder Jordan Binnington. He has bounced back with two superb outings with wins over Vegas and Colorado, stopping 79-of-83 (.951%) shots in those contests.
Binnington will likely be given a chance to build on his strong recent results with the start Wednesday.
Blackhawks Coming Back Down to Earth
Chicago is beginning to look more like the lottery team most expected entering the season, and not for a lack of trying. It's still clear that the team's competitive level has been well above average so far, if anything.
That could arguably be seen as a negative, though, because while the roster seems to be far from laying down and accepting its fate on any given night, the lack of talent seems to be shining through.
Over the last six games, Chicago owns a 42.75% expected goals for rate, which is nearly identical to its season-long mark of which is actually only marginally worse than its rate altogether on the season.
My point being that the Hawks have not really started to play worse, they have just started to see more of the kind of results that were deserved all season long.
Seth Jones is far from a $9.5 million player and his dreadful contract is a big reason as to why Chicago was forced to initiate a full-blown rebuild. Even still, has absence from the lineup looms large with some of the bodies currently playing big minutes on the back-end.
The offensive core does not look much better, and it's hard to find many arguments as to why the Blackhawks should continue to overachieve its poor underlying metrics moving forward.
Chicago has also received surprisingly strong play in goal, as its four different goalies to see the ice so far have played to a combined +2.3 GSAx.
We will likely see Arvid Soderblom make the start in this contest, and he owns a +2.8 GSAx and .931 save % throughout five games.
Soderblom was an elite netminder at the AHL level last season and may simply be better than many expected entering the season, but it still seems quite unlikely that he will achieve above average results over a larger sample.
Blues vs. Blackhawks Pick
The Blues' greatest concern this season will likely be their defensive play, but the Blackhawks are not the type of team to expose their shallow back-end. Chicago is skating a very thin offensive core with only a couple pieces to keep in check.
This is a great matchup for the Blues' deeper offensive core to shine through while hiding the team's main concerns, and I believe the Blues will win this game in regulation often enough to have value at a price of -110.
Pick: St. Louis Blues 3-Way Moneyline -110 (Play to -120)