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NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Flames vs. Blues (January 10)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Prediction: Flames vs. Blues (January 10) article feature image
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Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Elias Lindholm #28 of the Calgary Flames

  • The Flames visit the Gateway to the West for Tuesday's game with the Blues.
  • Both teams have experienced recent success, but St. Louis may be playing above its head based on the actual on-ice product.
  • Below, Nicholas Martin offers his best bet for the card, which targets the game's puck line.

Flames vs. Blues Odds

Flames Odds -176
Blues Odds +142
Over/Under 6 (+106 / -130)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV SNE
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

St. Louis will host Calgary for a matchup with heavy playoff implications on Tuesday. The Blues enter three points back of Calgary in the wild-card playoff race with both having played 41 games.

Calgary is priced as road favorites at -176 due to what has been a significantly more impressive process, as well as the fact that St. Louis is currently fighting through a number of significant injuries to the roster.

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D a Key for Calgary Flames

Calgary enters off a tough loss to the lowly Blackhawks on Sunday, in which the Flames fired 47 shots on net and were the better side by a meaningful margin.

That matchup put somewhat of an exclamation point on the notion that perhaps Calgary’s shot quality is below that of other strong NHL sides, and that perhaps the Flames’ offensive struggles have been caused by more than bad luck.

However, if Elias Lindholm’s shot off the crossbar goes in late in the third period, that narrative suddenly goes away for another night, and we’d be talking about another Flames win.

The line between unlucky and flawed can oftentimes be tough to differentiate in the NHL, but what the Flames have done lately has been impressive and is going to be a winning formula even if the offensive chances never go in at a higher clip.

Over the last 10 games, Calgary has played to the league’s top xGF% at 61.62, and that elite rate is not surprising watching the actual on-ice product.

Calgary’s deep defensive core offers a massive advantage over the majority of Western Conference sides and does a tremendous job of suppressing opposition chances and driving play into the offensive zone.

Calgary’s sharp defensive play has helped netminder Jacob Markstrom to stabilize, which has been a big part of the Flames’ recent tear up the standings.

Markstrom has played to a +2.4 goals saved above expected rating and .894 save % this season, but it is worth noting that those marks have both improved significantly since a poor start to the year.


Deceiving Success for St. Louis Blues

St. Louis’ defensive play never featured to be an area of strength this season, and now that it is missing a number of key skaters, it is no surprise the opposition has been able to generate a wealth of scoring chances.

The Blues have allowed 3.46 xGA/60 over its last 10 matchups, and that problem does not seem likely to be shored up anytime soon with Torey Krug, Ryan O’Reilly, Vlad Tarasenko and several other NHL regulars for this contest.  It has fought through some poor defensive play and shaky goaltending to a 5-3-2 record, but replicating those results moving forward seems unlikely analyzing the gameplay.

St. Louis’ 13.89 shooting % over the last 10 games is the highest mark league-wide and has covered up for its other flaws. Its roster should allow it to finish odd scoring chances at a higher-than-average rate this season, but even for St. Louis, that mark is highly unsustainable. Particularly with some scoring punch currently missing from the lineup.

Jordan Binnington has been confirmed as the Blues’ starting netminder for this contest. Binnington has played to a -5.4 GSAx and .892 save % throughout 31 appearances.


Flames vs. Blues Pick

These teams’ recent play has been at polar opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to the actual process of how games have been won.

Calgary looks very sharp in every facet of the game outside of the ability to finish while St. Louis has effectively covered up a number of other issues by finishing chances off at an elite level.

While finishing is a gigantic part of the game, the gap between these teams in all other areas of the ice is enough for me to believe Calgary can find a way to record a win in this matchup.

Even putting some weight on the fact that perhaps Calgary is not generating as many truly high-quality chances as the analytics suggest, it is still abundantly clear that the Flames are due for better luck in front of goal moving forward.

A date with Jordan Binnington could be the perfect chance to turn more scoring chances into actual goals as well, as Binnington has been one of the league’s leakiest netminders this season.

Backing the Flames to cover -1.5 at +152 is a strong play given the way this matchup is likely to play out, and I would play the puck line down to +140.

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