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NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Islanders vs. Blue Jackets (March 29)

NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Islanders vs. Blue Jackets (March 29) article feature image
Credit:

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Islanders standout Josh Bailey.

  • The Blue Jackets host the Islanders as short home underdogs.
  • The young Blue Jackets have been struggling lately, but is this a good buy-low spot for them?
  • Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Odds

Islanders Odds -135
Blue Jackets Odds +110
Over/Under 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Two Metropolitan Division rivals will get together with the Blue Jackets set to play host to the Islanders at Nationwide Arena Tuesday with each looking to snap its respective losing streak.

The Islanders have struggled to a poor road record and will head in to an arena where the Blue Jackets have posted a strong 18-13-3 record. Is it warranted for New York to be favored at -140?

Young Blue Jackets Looking for Momentum

Columbus managed a pair of overtime losses on the weekend in a tough road back-to-back in Winnipeg and Minnesota. For a developing young group skating out a rebuilding season, it is encouraging that they are competing hard. However, the Blue Jackets seemed to again overachieve the expected results.

Columbus lost the Expected Goals battle 8.44-6.03 in the two games and was notably outplayed at times, with the club’s lesser run of play notably visible in Minnesota.

This is consistent with Columbus’ play throughout most of 2022 and over the last 10 games. Over the last 10, the Blue Jackets have played to a 39.83 Expected Goals Rate, with a league-worst Expected Goals Against per 60 rate of 3.32.

Top defender Zach Werenski is listed as day-to-day and would be a massive loss for a Columbus group already struggling to control the overall run of play.

Elvis Merzlikins will likely get the start in goal for the Blue Jackets. Merzlikins has struggled behind the Blue Jackets’ shaky defensive play, entering this one with a -4.0 Goals Saved Above Expected rating and a .903 Save Percentage in 44 games played this season.

Islanders Playing Winning Hockey Recently

The Islanders ran into two of the league’s best over the weekend and saw their red-hot run of results momentarily put on hold in losses to the Bruins and Lightning.

Before that, New York had been in the midst of a strong run of play, posting a 7-1-1 record in its last nine contests, a tear which started with a 6-0 domination of Columbus.

A 49.9% Expected Goals rate in those contests suggests the Islanders were lucky to play to such a tremendous record, however it has been clear the Islanders’ traditional attention to detail in front of goal has been prominent of late.

With Ilya Sorokin listed as day-to-day, we should see Semyon Varlamov get the start here. Varlamov holds a -2.0 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .913 Save Percentage in 23 games played this season.

Islanders vs. Blue Jackets Pick

The Islanders have quietly been in considerably better form than the Blue Jackets, who have arguably been running with some favorable puck-luck to be at 4-4-2 over the last 10 games.

The Islanders’ defensive play is considerably sharper, and both net-minding options have been in better form than either of the Blue Jackets’ options.

In the second half of the season, we have seen the Islanders find their game while managing a playoff worthy record. On the other hand, the Blue Jackets have slowly dropped off even while appearing to be one of the luckier teams in the NHL.

Even Sunday’s defeat against the Lightning seemed like a very solid outing from the Isles to my eyes, in what was a well played contest with the cup champions posting a big effort.

This looks like a good spot for the Islanders to keep playing out a lost season effectively and find two points against a Blue Jackets team that has regularly allowed a ton of quality chances to the opposition.

Pick: New York Islanders Moneyline -135 (Play to -150)

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