Bruins vs Blue Jackets NHL Picks, Odds, Prediction (October 28)
Pictured: Johnny Gaudreau. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
- The Blue Jackets host the Bruins on Friday night.
- Boston is the better side, but may be fatigued after a rough stretch of games.
- Is that enough of a reason to back Columbus? Ryan Dadoun breaks down the matchup below.
Bruins vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+140|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Bruins are a strong squad off to a fantastic start, but they're also the road team gearing up for the second half of a back-to-back and their third game in four days. The odds are showing Boston as the favorite, but is fatigue reason enough for you to side with Columbus instead?
Let's start with what makes the Bruins such a force in the first place: their amazing offense. The Bruins averaged 4.14 goals through their first seven games. David Pastrnak continues to serve as one of the best forwards in the league and is in the running for the scoring title at this very early stage of the season. David Krejci returned from his year of playing hockey in the Czech League and is as good as ever. Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron isn't showing any signs of slowing down, even at 37 years old.
Now that Brad Marchand, who had 32 goals and 80 points in 70 games last season, has recovered from the hip surgery he underwent in June, you could make a strong case for the Bruins having the best forward core in the league.
Consider that Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Trophy in 2018 and recorded 61 points last season, is only the fifth best forward on this team. A.J. Greer, Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno and Pavel Zacha have also each recorded at least four points this season, giving the Bruins a slew of secondary scoring. This is clearly a team that can make opposing goaltenders miserable.
However, Boston isn't just an offensive force. Linus Ullmark is a strong starting goaltender with a 5-0-0 record, 2.01 GAA and a .936 save percentage in five starts. Jeremy Swayman started Thursday against Detroit, so while the Bruins as a whole might be tired, Ullmark will be fresh going into Friday's action.
The Blue Jackets went into this season with a sense of optimism after inking Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $68.25 million contract over the summer. To be fair to Gaudreau, he's lived up to his end of the bargain — scoring five goals and eight points in eight games — but the Blue Jackets as a whole have struggled and enter Friday's contest with a disappointing 3-5-0 record.
Part of Columbus' problem was losing Patrik Laine to an elbow injury in the season opener. That stood in the way of Laine and Gaudreau developing chemistry. Laine returned on Tuesday and although the Blue Jackets suffered a 6-3 loss to Arizona that night, at least Columbus now has its ideal first line.
The Blue Jackets are missing a goaltender in Joonas Korpisalo (hip) and might be without defensemen Jake Bean (illness), Nick Blankenburg (upper body), and Adam Boqvist (foot). To make matters worse, goaltenders Elvis Merzlikins and Daniil Tarasov have struggled mightily this season. Merzlikins has a 4.06 GAA and .863 save percentage in five games while Tarasov has a 3.90 GAA and .888 save percentage in four contests.
While Boston has been one the of the best teams offensively, the Blue Jackets have been one of the worst defensively, allowing an average of 4.13 goals per game.
Under normal circumstances, this would be a dream matchup for the Bruins.
Bruins vs. Blue Jackets Pick
But these aren't normal circumstances. Columbus had the past two days off and will be playing at home while it would be understandable for the Bruins to be running on fumes.
Keep in mind that the Bruins have some key players who are getting up there in age. Most notably, Bergeron is 37, so while he's been dominate this season, if he ever was to have a game where he's off, it stands to reason that it would be on a night like this. Krejci isn't much younger at 36, but he might not be an option regardless after suffering an upper-body injury Thursday night. If Krejci can't play, that will leave Boston with a significant hole in its lineup.
The last time the Bruins were in this situation was on Oct. 18 when they played in Ottawa for their third game in four days. Boston suffered a 7-5 loss in that contest. In 2021-22, the Bruins were 5-6-0 in the second half of back-to-backs, compared to 46-20-5 in all other situations.
This game is far from the relatively safe Boston bet that it would have been otherwise. For that reason, I like the boldness of going against the odds and taking Columbus on the moneyline for a compelling +140 payout. If you want to hedge, you could take Columbus on the puck line instead. It's a lesser payout, but the Blue Jackets are being given a 1.5-goal edge on the spread.
Pick:Columbus Blue Jackets Moneyline +140 (play down to +120)