NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Blues vs. Oilers (December 15)
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.
- The Blues travel to Columbus to face the Oilers on Thursday night as road underdogs.
- Connor McDavid and the Oilers have been surging recently, but is this the right sell-high spot on Edmonton?
- Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Blues vs. Oilers Odds
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Thursday's nightcap features a Western Conference tilt with the Edmonton Oilers hosting the Central Division's St. Louis Blues. These two clubs squared off earlier this season as Edmonton grabbed a 3-1 win at the end of October.
Will the Oilers take care of business once again, or can the Blues get their revenge as road underdogs?
Check out the odds, preview and prediction for Blues vs. Oilers below.
St. Louis Feeling the Blues
It has been an extremely tough stretch of hockey for the St. Louis Blues, losing eight of their last 11 games. Of those eight losses, seven were by two or more goals–a trend that should continue in this contest.
Goaltender Jordan Binnington will take the crease tonight, but he has struggled between the pipes this season. Through 22 starts, he possesses a .894 SV% and 3.23 GAA.
Based on his metrics, positive regression is unlikely for Binnington. Among starting goaltenders, he ranks just 22nd in Goals Saved Above Expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5v5.
This poor play is likely to continue against the Oilers, a team Binnington has struggled against throughout his career. In six career outings against Edmonton, he possesses a mere .893 SV%.
To be fair to Binnington, he has a terrible defense in front of him. At 5v5, the Blues rank just 24th in the league in Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).
With an aging blue line that lost Marco Scandella and Scott Perunovich before the season even started, it's not shocking that this team bleeds High-Danger Scoring Chances at a high clip. In a similar fashion, father time is also catching up with this forward group.
Entering this game, St. Louis ranks just 22nd in the league in Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF/60) at 5v5.
Oilers' Offense Leads the Way
On the other hand, the Edmonton Oilers are starting to find their rhythm as they have won seven of their last 10 games. This trend should continue with goaltender Stuart Skinner slated to take the crease for Edmonton.
The rookie netminder has been excellent this season, posting a .919 SV% and 2.76 GAA in 17 appearances. Based on his metrics, regression should not be an issue.
Among starting goaltenders, Skinner ranks second in GSAx/60 at 5v5. In his lone career start against the Blues, Skinner stopped 37 of 38 pucks for a .974 SV% en route to a 3-1 win.
Additionally, he should get plenty of goal support considering Edmonton's high-powered offense. At 5v5, the Oilers rank 10th in the league in xGF/60.
Coach Jay Woodcroft made a great decision to stack the first line by uniting Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman. This powerhouse first line has reignited the offense in the absence of Evander Kane, despite the rest of the lineup relying heavily on those three to produce goals.
Blues vs. Oilers Pick
As has been the case over the last couple of seasons, the Oilers thrive on special teams as they rank first in Power Play Percentage. This aspect of the game presents a big problem for the Blues, who rank second-to-last in Penalty Kill Percentage.
In this contest, the Oilers boast the better offense and goaltending, while the defensive play is likely a wash as both teams struggle on the back end. On home ice, Edmonton should both win and cover against St. Louis once again.