NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Jets vs. Predators (Jan. 20)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
Jets vs. Predators Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
After a torrid 11-1-1 stretch, the Nashville Predators have fallen into a four-game lull, most recently suffering a 3-1 home loss against Vancouver on Tuesday. The Predators will look to snap back into stronger form Thursday when they host the in-form Winnipeg Jets.
Winnipeg took a tough loss Tuesday in Washington, but converting more of its Grade A chances won’t get any easier here against goaltender Jussi Saros and the Predators. Will the Jets be able to find a way as road underdogs?
Tuesday’s overtime loss in Washington moved the Jets to 4-1-1 over their last 6 contests, in which they’ve yielded a 51.99 xGF% with a markedly high xGF/60 rate of 2.92 in the process.
That’s a strong run of play from a Jets team which has often succeeded with well below average even-strength analytics with this current group, icing some deadly finishers and an elite goaltender in Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets were probably never destined to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, rostering a less-than-stellar defensive unit, but no doubt were underachieving in the time leading up to head coach Paul Maurice giving his surprising resignation. However, they’ve responded well in the time since.
With Mark Scheifele producing more effectively of late with eight points in his last six contests, Pierre-Luc Dubois offering a notable bounce-back season and Adam Lowry posting some very irritating two-way play on the third line, the Jets are notably strong down the middle at the crucial center ice position, even more so should Paul Stastny return in form.
Nikolaj Ehlers will be sidelined, having been injured by a Dmitri Orlov knee on Tuesday, and that’s a massive loss, but I think enough pieces are still there to step up in his absence.
Top prospect Cole Perfetti skated well alongside Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois in Washington, posting a 74.7 xGF% and combining for five points including Perfetti’s first NHL marker, and continued strong play from the wildly skilled young winger would be a massive boost.
Hellebuyck is one of only a handful of goaltenders to find consistently excellent form season after season over the last several years, and has done so yet again, posting a +12.9 goals saved above expected rating with a .915 save percentage.
Nashville has been one the league’s most enjoyable stories, led by a trio of veterans offering surprising bounce-back seasons, a traditionally excellent top-two defensive pairings, a number of gritty depth forwards and the dominant play of Juuse Saros.
The result has been some really balanced play, leading to a strong 24-14-3 record.
However, with the excellent play of Mattias Ekholm and Dante Fabbro sidelined against Vancouver, Nashville posted less dominant play than usual, with both stellar defensemen notably absent from the top four on a defense who are normally a massive plus to this team.
The Predators really haven’t given a ton of indication for possible regression, but it does seem like a lot of things have gone as well as can be, and that counting on the trio of veteran forwards in Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund to post this strong of play all season could be tough.
That said, I really do like the play of this Nashville team, but I would still argue it will see their .622 points % trend downward to an extent moving forward. Saros will start, looking to snap the team’s four-game skid.
Jets vs. Predators Pick
After the Predators snuck out a victory over the Avalanche last Tuesday with some favorable luck for their 12th win in 14 contests, I suspected that could be somewhat of a high-water mark in their season and they have followed with four consecutive defeats.
Surely, they’re somewhere in the middle between how poor things have been since then and the excellent results seen before, but with Ekholm and Fabbro missing from their defense, I think this game is closer than the current line indicates between teams I expect to post more comparable winning percentages going forward.
The Jets were notably dangerous again Tuesday in Washington, and ultimately an overtime loss was somewhat of a tough result, but the team has continued to trend into better form of late.
To me, this looks closer to a Pick’em contest, in what figures to be a very tight, hard-fought game featuring two of the league’s very best netminders battling it out in Saros and Hellebuyck.
This is certainly a spot where I would prefer to have the much longer price in a game where I see both teams trending considerably closer results-wise down the stretch, so I like backing the Jets moneyline here at +122 odds.
Pick: Winnipeg ML (+122 — Play to +110)
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