NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Golden Knights
Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jersey Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek
- The New Jersey Devils travel west to Las Vegas to face the Golden Knights on Friday night.
- Both teams are coming off wins as the Devils have won three in a row and the Golden Knights are trying to win back-to-back contests.
- Continue reading for Tony Sartori's best bet and analysis.
Devils vs. Golden Knights Odds
|Golden Knights Odds
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|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
In Friday's nightcap, the Pacific Division's Vegas Golden Knights host the Metropolitan Division's New Jersey Devils in a possible preview Stanley Cup Finals preview.
This matchup is the second meeting between these clubs this season, with New Jersey having squeaked out a 3-2 overtime victory in the first game.
Here's a look at the odds, as well as our betting pick and prediction for Devils vs. Golden Knights.
New Jersey Devils
Winners of three straight games and nine of their past 12, the New Jersey Devils enter this contest in fantastic form. The offense is firing on all cylinders and recently acquired star forward Timo Meier hasn't even made his debut in New Jersey's lineup yet.
If Meier is able to go on Friday evening, this lineup just gets that much scarier. During this three-game win streak, the Devils are averaging a whopping six goals per game.
This offensive outburst is not surprising given New Jersey's excellent underlying metrics. At 5-on-5, the Devils rank fifth in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60).
Defensively, this team is nearly as dominant. At 5-on-5, the Devils rank eighth in the league in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).
One of the best two-way teams in hockey, New Jersey is backed up by goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Through 39 appearances in the crease this season, Vanecek is 26-6-3 with a .910 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.46 goals against average (GAA).
He has struggled in his past couple of outings, but positive regression is likely looming for Vanecek. Among starting goaltenders, he ranks in the top half of the league in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights also enter this contest in good form and have won seven of their past 10 games. There is no doubt this matchup is a heavyweight bout as both teams are legit contenders to hoist the Cup.
However, I am not sold that Vegas is quite on New Jersey's level. First of all, the Eastern Conference is unquestionably stronger than the West, which is part of the reason the Knights possess a better record than the Devils.
Secondly, New Jersey's offense is better and ranks six spots higher in xGF/60 at 5-on-5. While Vegas ranks four spots higher than the Devils in xGA/60 at 5-on-5, it is missing its best two-way player in Mark Stone, who remains sidelined due to back surgery.
The Devils also possess the advantage in net with Adin Hill slated to start for the Knights. While his surface-level stats are even with Vanecek's, Hill's underlying metrics are much more concerning.
If he qualified, Hill would rank 26th among starting goaltenders in GSAx/60 at 5-on-5.
Devils vs. Golden Knights Pick
With the better offense, goaltender and Stone still missing from Vegas' lineup, I like the Devils to take care of business on the road in this matchup. Playing away from the Prudential Center hasn't been an issue for New Jersey this season as the Devils are 22-4-3 on the road.
Additionally, Vanecek possesses a strong track record against the Knights. Through two career starts against Vegas, he boasts a .949 SV% and a 1.47 GAA.
Meanwhile, Hill is going to have his hands full against a red-hot Devils lineup.
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