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Capitals vs. Blues Odds & Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (November 17)

Capitals vs. Blues Odds & Prediction | NHL Betting Preview (November 17) article feature image
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AP Photo/Nick Wass. Pictured: Alex Ovechkin (8) Evgeny Kuznetsov (92)

  • The matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals is Pick'Em entering Thursday night, but recent travel may suggest Washington is the right side.
  • The Blues will be playing the second half of a back-to-back and their third game in four days.
  • Ryan Dadoun previews the game and shares his best bet below.

Capitals vs. Blues Odds

Capitals Odds +110
Blues Odds -130
Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Blues have managed to move past their recent eight-game losing streak, but Washington’s slump is still ongoing. After dropping seven of their past nine games, can the Capitals turn the tide against the Blues?

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End of the Capitals’ Era?

The Capitals have made the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons, but their ability to earn a postseason berth in 2022-23 has been in question. We’re still early in the campaign, but Washington is 7-9-2 and trending in the wrong direction.

For a long time, Washington’s strength has been its offense, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The Capitals are tied for 24th in the league with 2.83 goals per game.

That’s not because the Capitals’ top players have collapsed. Alex Ovechkin, even at the age of 37, is still doing his part with eight goals and 14 points in 18 contests. Dylan Strome has been fine in his first season with the Capitals, providing five goals and 13 points in 18 contests. Evgeny Kuznetsov is underperforming by his standards, but his start has been okay with two goals and 13 points in 17 games.

All of them have been fine, though none of them are off to elite starts and the Capitals lack the offensive depth to pick up the slack. Of course, they’re so thin because they’re missing forwards Nicklas Backstrom (hip), Connor Brown (knee), Carl Hagelin (hip), T.J. Oshie (lower body) and Tom Wilson (knee). With that much talent unavailable, it’s no surprise Washington is struggling to find the back of the net.

The Capitals’ defense and goaltending have been less of an issue, but it hasn’t been able to save them. Darcy Kuemper has started 14 of Washington’s first 18 games and is 5-8-1 with a 2.73 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Like the team, Kuemper has struggled lately, surrendering 15 goals over his past five contests. In his rare appearances, Charlie Lindgren has been a mixed bag, posting a 2-1-1 record, 2.98 GAA and .915 save percentage in five contests.

It’s not that either of them have been bad, the Capitals just weren’t set up to pick up a ton of 2-1 and 3-2 victories and their goaltenders aren’t making up the difference.


Are the Blues Back?

Going into Wednesday’s action, St. Louis had picked up three straight wins since enduring an eight-game losing streak. Among those victories is a 3-2 win over Vegas, which has dominated this season, and a 3-2 win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

Goaltender Jordan Binnington has been at the heart of the Blues’ reversal, stopping 106 of 113 shots over his past three starts. He’s still just 6-5-0 with a 3.07 GAA and .904 save percentage in 11 games this season, but at least he’s trending in the right direction.

Binnington’s recent success has been critical because the Blues’ offense has been even worse than Washington’s. St. Louis ranks dead last offensively with just 2.43 goals per game.

Like Washington, the Blues have endured more than their fair share of injured forwards this season, but the difference is St. Louis is relatively healthy now. They just need those forwards to start getting going.

Jordan Kyrou had 75 points last season, but had just six points in his first 14 games in 2022-23. Ivan Barbashev contributed five points in his first 14 contests after finishing with 60 in 2021-22. Ryan O’Reilly similarly recorded 58 points last season, but had five points in his first 14 games this time around. If those three can heat up, it would go a long way toward solving the Blues’ issues.

As things stand for now though, the Blues are a team with the tools to be a serious contender. However, their wildly hot-and-cold start has made them hard to gauge.


Capitals vs. Blues Pick

In a vacuum, I’d take the Blues to win this game given Washington’s injury issues, but St. Louis has a major factor working against them: the schedule. St. Louis played in Colorado on Monday and in Chicago on Wednesday. The Blues have traveled a lot recently and are playing the second half of a back-to-back, as well as for the third time in four days.

That kind of fatigue is likely to take its toll. Plus, the Blues’ recent success has been in part due to Jordan Binnington’s hot streak, but he started Wednesday, so he probably won’t be in net against Washington.

For those reasons, I like the Capitals on the moneyline, especially because their underdog status will provide those who bet on them with a decent potential payout.

Pick: Washington Capitals Moneyline +110 (Play to -105)

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