Wednesday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: St. Louis Blues vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Preview
Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Vladimir Tarasenko.
- The St. Louis Blues take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Wednesday's NHL action.
- Pittsburgh is the slight home favorite in this spot, but that doesn't mean there's no betting value on St. Louis.
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup below and details why she's backing the road underdogs.
Blues vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Two red-hot teams will go head-to-head on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the St. Louis Blues.
The Penguins have won their last eight games and put up eight goals against the San Jose Sharks in their most recent victory. As for the Blues, they’ll be looking for their eighth win in their last 10 games after an impressive 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild at the frigid Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
The Blues showed serious swagger in that outdoor game as they were unfazed by the record cold temperatures. That mindset, and the ability to rise to a challenge, could serve them well against the streaking Penguins on Wednesday.
St. Louis Blues
After going through a bumpy patch earlier in the season, the Blues have been in fine form since late November, with a record of 8-2-2 in their last 12 games. They rank among the league’s top teams in all key metrics — scoring, defending and special teams. But it is worth noting that their underlying possession numbers at 5-on-5 rank them in the bottom third of the league, even through their recent run of success.
St. Louis boasts a couple of intangibles that are helping the club keep winning. First, Vladimir Tarasenko has found his smile again, and has formed a productive pairing with Jordan Kyrou. They’re the top two scorers on the team, and while Kyrou was just named the NHL’s first star of the week after putting up seven points in two games, Tarasenko has been among the league’s top point-producers over the last month or so.
Secondary scoring has also been solid, with Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev chipping in regularly.
Injuries and Covid challenges have taken their toll on the Blues’ roster for much of this season. Generally speaking, they’ve weathered the storms well — and for the moment, they’re reasonably healthy. Brayden Schenn is expected to return on Wednesday after missing five games with an upper-body injury, and Robert Bortuzzo (Covid protocol) could also be available.
The Penguins, of course, seem impervious to roster challenges — winning often, no matter who is and isn’t able to take to the ice. They even pulled out a big win over San Jose on Sunday while their stud goalie, Tristan Jarry, was in Covid protocol.
Jarry was back with the team for practice on Tuesday, so it seems likely that he’ll get the nod against the Blues.
Forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger are also out of Covid protocol, while Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust returned from their injuries to suit up against the Sharks. That leaves just a smattering of names on the injured list: Jeff Carter (Covid protocol), Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) and Evgeni Malkin (knee surgery).
On Tuesday, coach Mike Sullivan said Carter is now day-to-day. Zucker is skating, but it’s unclear how close he might be to a return. Malkin is also getting close to making his season debut.
The linchpin of the Penguins’ success this season has been their defense — including excellence in net and the NHL’s best penalty kill. At 5-on-5, their possession numbers are also among the league’s best. This isn’t being done with smoke and mirrors.
Blues vs. Penguins Pick
This is the first meeting of the year between St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The two teams haven’t met since they split a pair of games, five days apart, late in 2019 — when the Blues were still the defending Stanley Cup champs.
With both sides reasonably healthy and currently riding high, Wednesday’s clash should be very fun to watch.
Breaking it all down, there isn’t much to choose between the two squads. But I’m not sure I value Pittsburgh’s home-ice advantage enough to justify the -130 opening line, which suggests a 56.5% chance of a win.
Assuming their extremities have all thawed successfully after that chilly outdoor game in Minneapolis, the Blues are worth backing as hungry underdogs who could snap Pittsburgh’s winning streak.
Be wary if the odds tighten up, but bet the Blues with confidence if it turns out Jarry isn’t ready to go in Pittsburgh’s net.
Pick: Blues +110 (play down to +105)
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