NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Flames vs. Oilers (Saturday, October 15)
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid.
Flames vs. Oilers Odds
|10 p.m. ET
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.
We have this year's first Battle of Alberta as the Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames on Saturday. Including the playoffs, the over hit in six of the nine meetings between these two clubs last season.
Will we get another high-scoring affair in this storied rivalry, or can the goaltending step up this time around?
It was no surprise that the over hit more often than the under (40-35) in Calgary Flames games last season, considering how talented the roster was. At 5v5, they ranked seventh in the league in goals for (GF) and fourth in xGF.
While they lost their two most talented players in the off-season (Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk), they re-upped with the acquisitions of Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and MacKenzie Weegar.
Despite the roster turnover, this team did not miss a beat in their season opener against the defending Stanley Cup champions. In their 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche, all three of the new guys recorded at least one point as they impressed in their new jerseys.
Meanwhile, goaltender Jacob Markstrom did not look as sharp as we are accustomed to seeing. Allowing three goals on just 25 shots, he produced a mere .880 SV%. While Markstrom will certainly have better performances, that might not come in this matchup against a high-powered Edmonton offense.
Across his nine starts against the Oilers last season, Markstrom went 3-6 with a .866 SV% and 4.40 GAA. As alluded to in the intro, the over hit in six of those nine games.
Like Calgary, the Edmonton Oilers saw the over hit more frequently than not last season (42-37). This trend was not surprising in the slightest given the fact that they boast two of the most talented offensive players in hockey while throwing out a below-average defense.
At 5v5, the Oilers ranked 10th in the league in GF and sixth in xGF. However, they also ranked 19th in goals against (GA) and 23rd in xGA at 5v5.
So what happened over the offseason? Well, they did absolutely nothing to address the blue line while arguably making a downgrade at goaltender with the acquisition of Jack Campbell.
Among starting goaltenders last year, Campbell ranked just 25th in 5v5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60). Across his two starts against the Flames last season, Campbell went 1-1 with a .895 SV% and 2.94 GAA.
Both of those two starts were as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had an even better defensive unit than Edmonton (though probably not by much). Although Campbell saved 33 of 36 shot attempts (.917 SV%) in the Oilers' 5-3 season-opening win over the Vancouver Canucks, his underlying metrics were more concerning.
In that game, he produced a -0.28 GSAx/60 at 5v5.
Flames vs. Oilers Pick
We have two powerhouse offenses going against each other, which has already been reflected in the betting market as the over was quickly shaded up to -125 at 6.5. I would wager that this total lands at seven by puck drop on Saturday, though I would still play it at that number if the juice gets too large at 6.5.
Markstrom is a very good goaltender and is likely the only reason this number is not at seven already. However, he struggled mightily against Edmonton last year. Calgary also throws out a good defense in front of him, but you can only do so much against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Meanwhile, I do not trust Edmonton's defense or Jack Campbell at all. Both teams cashed on the over in their opening games and went 6-3 to the over against each other last season, a trend we should expect to continue in this contest.
Pick: Over 6.5 (-125) | Play up to (-135)