Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks Betting Preview
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Binnington
Blackhawks vs. Blues Odds
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+ | Hulu|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
One of the NHL’s best rivalries will resume when the Chicago Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues in a Black Friday matinee.
The Blackhawks have collected some wins since their coaching change earlier this month, and Marc-Andre Fleury is once again back in Vezina form. Even though the Blues have lacked consistency this season, here’s why you should back the road favorites, who still hold an eight-point edge over their rivals in the Central Division standings.
Blues Have Lacked Consistency
St. Louis sits second in the Central with a 10-7-2 record. But the club has been the picture of inconsistency, causing a bit of a nightmare scenario for bettors.
The Blues started the season with a five-game win streak. Then, they went 3-2-1 over the next six games, alternating wins and losses. Next, they went on a four-game losing streak. Their last four games have been win-loss-win-loss — most recently a 4-2 road defeat in Detroit on Wednesday.
St. Louis ranks in the top 10 in goals for and against. Their power play is second in the league at 29.1%, and the penalty killing is fine, ranked 14th. When the Blues are good, they’re good. When they’re not, they keep it close. Only two of their seven regulation losses this season have been by more than one goal.
Looking under the hood, the picture isn’t terribly rosy; St. Louis has a 22nd-ranked expected goals share of 48.51% at 5-on-5. In net, Jordan Binnington has been the man once again, and has logged 2.3 goals saved above expected.
The Blues will be starting a back-to-back in Chicago on Friday before heading home to host Columbus on Saturday. Ville Husso took the loss in Detroit, so look for Binnington to start against the Blackhawks.
Offensively, 23-year-old Jordan Kyrou is having a breakout season for the Blues, leading his team with 20 points. After his offseason trade request, Vladimir Tarasenko is back on track with 16 points, and free-agent signing Brandon Saad is tied for the team lead with eight goals.
Fleury Behind Blackhawks’ Resurgence
The Blackhawks won just one of their first 12 games, leading to the dismissal of coach Jeremy Colliton. Since he was replaced by Derek King behind the bench on Nov. 6, Chicago has gone a very respectable 5-2-0, with their only losses coming against Pacific Division-powerhouses Edmonton and Calgary.
The main reason for their recent success is Fleury’s return to form. Since the coaching change, the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner is 4-1-0, with a .955 save percentage and 1.58 goals-against average to go along with 6.57 goals saved above average at 5-on-5.
The Blackhawks still aren’t scoring much. They’ve managed more than two goals in just one game since King took the reins. But when Fleury’s delivering that kind of lights-out netminding, one or two goals can be enough.
Friday’s game marks the Blackhawks’ return to the United Center after a four-game Pacific Division road trip. Chicago’s only key injury is to forward Tyler Johnson. He is now skating after missing nearly a month with a neck injury, but isn’t expected to be ready to return to action on Friday.
Blues vs. Blackhawks Pick
When making a betting decision for this game, there’s one big question: Which St. Louis team will show up? If the Blues continue their recent win-one-lose-one pattern, they’re due for a victory. And they did win the only other meeting between the teams so far this year — a 1 -0 shutout in St. Louis on October 30, when the Blackhawks were still reeling.
The two teams are long-time rivals, but were assigned to separate divisions last season. Looking back to 2019-20, the Blues won all four of those meetings and added insult to injury by posting road shutouts in both games at the United Center.
The Blackhawks are definitely playing better than they did during the first month of the season. But when you put a struggling offense up against a club that locks it down defensively whenever these two teams face each other, the Blues look to hold the edge.
At -120, the oddsmakers are giving St. Louis a 54.55% implied chance of victory. Though the Blackhawks are now showing a pulse, don’t count on them to deliver a win for their home crowd in this Black Friday matinee.
Pick: St. Louis ML (-120 | play down to -150)
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