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NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Coyotes vs. Sharks (Dec. 28)

NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Coyotes vs. Sharks (Dec. 28) article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Keller

  • The Sharks are home favorites against the Coyotes on Tuesday night.
  • Is there value on the Coyotes against the struggling Sharks?
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and making his betting pick below.

Coyotes vs. Sharks Odds

Coyotes Odds+180
Sharks Odds-215
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Arizona Coyotes are in a familiar spot on Tuesday night. The Coyotes are big underdogs as they travel to the SAP Center to take on the San Jose Sharks. Neither team has been in action for over 10 days as the NHL paused its season ahead of the holiday break.

Is getting the league’s worst team a blessing or a curse for the Sharks, who desperately need two points to stay in the playoff picture in the Pacific Division?

Modest Improvements for Arizona

The Coyotes entered the shutdown on a high note, finally breaking through with another win after an excellent effort in Anaheim, capped off by Clayton Keller’s overtime winner for a 6-5 final.

The Coyotes put together another excellent effort in their previous game, but suffered a tough-luck 3-2 loss after a late collapse against the Rangers. Arizona has skated to a 48.9% expected goals rate over its last three games, which is a considerable improvement for this team.

With No. 1 defensemen Jakob Chychrun on the sidelines, the Coyotes will roll out Shayne Gostisbehere and Dysin Mayo as the top pair on defense, and while neither would be playing that role on any other team, they have been playing well together for the Desert Dogs.

Gostisbehere has been in excellent form altogether this season, and could fetch a decent return at the deadline for contending teams in need of a puck-mover.

The offensive depth continues to be an issue for the Coyotes, but seeing Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz break through with 10 points over the last three games is a huge positive for Coyotes fans. Both were once viewed to be legitimate top line pieces, but have struggled to find potential of late, and could offer more upside going forward this season than we have seen so far.

Arizona will likely go with Scott Wedgewood in net and the journeyman netminder has posted a .903 save percentage (SV%) and a -3.6 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) throughout 16 games this season.

The Sharks Are Trending Down

After a sizzling 4-0 start to the season, the Sharks have fallen off the pace and look more like the team most people expected them to be entering the season. San Jose’s record sits at 15-14-1 as the league picks back up.

The last six games have been a particular struggle for the Sharks, as they’ve gone 2-4 and posted a 46.7% expected goals rate.

The Sharks offensive talent won’t move the needle much at 5-on-5, so I don’t think we’ll see them trend up too much from their current offensive output, which has them 27th overall with an average of 2.6 goals per game.

Adin Hill, Tomas Hertl and Jonathan Dahlen will remain in Covid-19 protocol, while Kevin Labanc will remain out due to shoulder injury.

With Hill out, James Reimer will draw the start here and he’s been very sharp this season with a +9.2 GSAx to go along with a .936 SV% in 16 games.

Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Karlsson

Coyotes vs. Sharks Pick

Right now seems like a good time to tread lightly betting-wise, as we can expect some extra volatility coming out of the Christmas/Covid breaks in the NHL. Lineups will be mess for the time being, so bettors also need to keep an eye out for late changes. With that in mind, I’m going to size down to half-unit plays and instead try to observe how teams come out of the break — and what better way to get back into the swing of things than by betting the NHL’s worst team.

The Coyotes put together competitive efforts prior to the shutdown,  and I think this could be a good spot for them to hang around against the Sharks, who have not posted strong offensive results altogether, and will take the ice without two top-six forwards in Hertl and Dahlen.

It’s really hard to know how these teams will come out of the break, which makes the idea of laying -200 with a mediocre team a really frightening proposition.

If the Coyotes can put together a similar effort to what we have seen the last three times out that they certainly have a chance to pay off at some decent odds.

After opening around +200, this line has come down a bit to +180, but even with the movement it’s Coyotes or nothing in this spot.

Pick: Arizona Coyotes +180 or better

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