NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Oilers vs. Flames (December 27)
Paul Swanson/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.
Oilers vs. Flames Odds
|6.5 (-115 / -105)
|9 p.m. ET
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
Tuesday night will offer the season's second edition of the battle of Alberta, which has consistently proven to provide some of the most exciting hockey the NHL has to offer.
Calgary sits just a single point above the Oilers in the Western Conference for the final wild card playoff berth, which makes Tuesday's contest especially interesting.
Let's dive into what we can expect from Tuesday's matchup.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have combined for an utterly ridiculous total of 122 points in just 35 games and are scoring at a pace the NHL has not seen in recent history.
However Edmonton still enters this contest outside of the playoff picture in a soft Western Conference, and a number of the usual concerns have been prominent.
Edmonton has allowed 3.46 goals against per game this season, which is the ninth-worst mark in the league.
A number of its top defenders, such as Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard, have continually offered up turnovers in bad locations on the ice and will still deservedly continue to play massive roles on this defensive corps moving forward.
As we head closer to the season's halfway mark, it does not seem likely the Oilers will entirely shore up the defensive play moving forward. Edmonton will always be liable to have that flaw exposed against top sides.
The Oilers have played to a success rate of just 72.3% on the penalty kill, which is the seventh-worst mark in the league.
On a number of nights, Edmonton's defensive flaws have been hidden by what remains one of the best offenses in hockey. It has scored 3.60 goals per game and projects to remain top-five all season.
Stuart Skinner will likely start in goal Tuesday for the Oilers. Skinner has played to a -1.1 goals saved above expected rating and .911 save percentage in 21 appearances this season.
Throughout the month of December, Calgary has generated offensive chances at a well above-average clip with a xGF/60 of 3.43, the league's 12th-best mark throughout that sample.
Despite its early struggles, Calgary has actually consistently generated offensive chances at a very reasonable clip this season. But an inability to finish seemed to hide what appeared to be reasonable offensive play.
Over its last 14 contests, Calgary has started to finish chances off at more standard rate and has averaged 3.50 goals per game. It will likely continue to show better offense moving forward.
The Flames took full advantage of what has become a very soft road swing throughout California and saw three different offensive units displaying dangerous form at 5-on-5.
Jonathan Huberdeau has managed 15 points throughout his last 15 games, and if he can continue to produce at a more livable clip offensively, it will go as a massive surge to a Flames offense that has no doubt underachieved to this point.
Jacob Markstrom has found his form in goal for the Flames and enters this matchup with a +4.7 goals saved above expected rating and a .894 save percentage in 24 appearances.
Markstrom has been absolutely torched in recent matchups versus Edmonton, but my expectation is that he's still given another opportunity in this spot, as he has clearly retaken the No. 1 role.
Oilers vs. Flames Pick
We have consistently seen the battle of Alberta offer high-scoring, back-and-forth contests that have been extremely appealing to the viewer throughout the McDavid/Draisaitl era.
Since the start of last season's matchups between the Flames and Oilers, these teams have averaged 8.08 goals per game over an 11-game sample with the game total going over 6.5 in nine of the 12 contests.
All of the reasons this rivalry has consistently featured higher-scoring matchups remain in place for tonight's game, which makes me see some strong value in sticking with the over.
Edmonton has had an extremely hard time limiting the opposition this season, and Calgary should be able to generate three or more goals in tonight's matchup.
McDavid and Draisaitl seem to regularly raise the bar for this matchup as well. Calgary keeping those two and the Oilers' lethal power play in check would go as quite a surprise.
The fact that Edmonton's power play has been lethal while its penalty kill has been very shaky are two other factors working in the favor of the over, as these games have typically seen a higher-than-average number of penalty minutes.
If this game remains close or if Edmonton trails, McDavid and Draisaitl skating well past their season average of time on ice is extremely likely and also works in the favor of the over.
There doesn't seem to be much logical reasoning to move away from the narrative we've consistently seen in this rivalry. I like a bet on the over down to -145.
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