NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Jets vs. Blue Jackets (November 24)
Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor Hellebuyck.
Jets vs. Blue Jackets Odds
|Blue Jackets Odds||+105|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Winnipeg Jets will look to fare better on the road as they head into Nationwide Arena to take on a very scrappy Blue Jackets group, which has a surprising 10-6-0 record.
Dubois will return to Columbus for the first time since his blockbuster trade, which netted the Blue Jackets Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.
The Blue Jackets have done very well at claiming wins against lesser competition, with their victories coming against opponents averaging 24.4th place in league standings. They’ll have an opportunity here to prove they can hang in with top competition to skating against the Jets.
Dubois Making Positive Impact
Dubois has been a revelation skating as the Jets’ top center this season, bouncing back after a tough season last year. He never found his form after a rough stint with COVID in the summer, which led into training camp and ultimately his worst run of play at the NHL level leading to the mid-season trade.
Dubois’ play with Kyle Connor has been spectacular, and the duo has helped the Jets offense stay more than afloat as Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler settle in after respective Covid protocol absences themselves.
The Jets have posted a strong 53.2 xGF% in November, and considering the kind of offensive talent the team offers, as well as an elite netminder in Connor Hellebuyck, it’s not surprising the wins have piled up.
One crucial concern for Winnipeg so far has been the penalty kill, with the Jets owning the league’s second-worst mark at just 65.3%.
That area of weakness burned the Jets yet again Monday against Pittsburgh, as Jason Zucker’s crucial game-tying goal came just as time expired on a Pittsburgh power play. It’s hard to imagine the team can’t clean up that area at least a bit as the season wears on since it was very respectable under Paul Maurice last season, ranking 13th wide at 80.5% and still hold a number of the same penalty killers.
Hellebuyck should draw the start here and has been very strong again this season in posting a .920 save percentage and +8.5 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx).
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets continued to take advantage of their favorable early schedule Monday night, skating past Buffalo 7-4 in a sloppy contest.
Jack Roslovic posted two goals and an assist and could be trending into form at the right time as he looks to show well against his former squad after a slow start to the season.
The early results for Columbus have been positive, and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen looks again to be very sharp for his offseason transactions.
Avoiding locking in Seth Jones long-term and being paid a handsome fee in two first-round picks, and Adam Boqvist to do so, looks to be a very good piece of business.
As well, selecting Cole Sillinger 12th overall looks to be the steal of last summer’s draft and flipping Cam Atkinson for Jakub Voracek has paid off handsomely, with Voracek posting a 15 points in 16 contests.
Even still, it’s hard to argue that this roster stands to compete long-term for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan division this season, and I believe we will see them slowly drop out of the race, and finish around the 18-21 mark league wide this season.
With Elvis Merzlikins having rested Monday, we should all but certainly see him draw the start here. Merzlikins has been very strong so far this season, stopping .918 percent of shots faced with a 3.6 GSAx rating.
Jets vs. Blue Jackets Pick
From the very get-go this season I have endorsed the Blue Jackets as likely to be a very underrated bunch and have only played them to win in article selections-which has been effective, as the scrappy bunch have gone 3-1 as a side on those plays, and I do feel comfortable with my understanding of where this group is at.
Columbus have altogether faced teams averaging 18.5 in the NHL’s overall standings however, and wins have come against teams averaging a shockingly low 24.4 in the league, and in turn I believe they enter with some inflated numbers.
The Jets roster is altogether a level beyond the Blue Jackets, and I feel that we will see them finish considerably beyond Columbus come the end of the season.
To get Winnipeg priced closely here at -120 makes a lot of sense to me, and I think it’s a good spot to back it to get back in the win column.
At 5-on-5 we should see Winnipeg carry more of the play here, and should they manage to limit the damage coming from Columbus’ power play opportunities, it should be considerably more likely to win than the 54% implied odds needed here.
I don’t mind the under at 5.5, but for me the most value lies on the Jets as a side. I think this line will worsen closer to game-time.
Pick: Jets -120 (play to -130)
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