NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Oilers vs. Blues (Dec. 29)
Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid
- The Blues are short home favorites on Wednesday night against the Oilers.
- With both teams playing with depleted rosters, Nicholas Martin still has found value in this game.
- Check out his analysis and best bet below.
Oilers vs. Blues Odds
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Two heavily depleted rosters will get together for an important Western Conference clash in St. Louis Wednesday night. Edmonton has bounced back with two straight wins after a six-game losing streak, while St. Louis has scraped its way to a 6-2-2 record its last 10 while skating without a number of key offensive pieces.
Edmonton has shown some notably suspect defensive play for several weeks now and holds a number of absences here, but could we possibly see Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl post massive performances against a Blues team offering some lesser defensive play themselves?
Oilers Should Get Boost From Smith
After a spectacular start to the season, the cracks many expected to show during the offseason have become a reality for the Edmonton Oilers, as they offered some notably poor play in front of some shaky goaltending of late, with a 2.55 GA/60 to go alongside a 3.33 goals against average.
Edmonton did clean up the play in its own zone in the last two games prior to the break, however, posting 10 goals for and just five against over two contests. The Oilers could receive a boost in goal as well as Mike Smith is likely to make his return.
I do not imagine Smith can continue to post as spectacular of results as we saw last season for the entirety of this year, but he quite possibly could go as a notable upgrade over the play of Mikko Koskinen.
Smith holds a .920 save % and a -0.5 goals saved above expected rating so far this season through three games, and will likely start for the first time since October 19th.
Similar to St. Louis and most of the league, Edmonton are featuring a lengthy list of absences
Blues Outperforming Analytics
St. Louis has continued to stay afloat amid some rough play-driving numbers of late, including a notably poor 45.13 xGF% over its last 10 contests. The Blues’ 6-2-2 record during that span is impressive, especially considering the talent missing from the lineup.
The Blues have consistently outperformed what common analytics suggest under Craig Berube, and do have some notably potent playmakers, but this recent stretch has appeared notably unsustainable to the eye, particularly considering the pieces posting big performances both in goal and offensively.
Life won’t get any easier against Edmonton, as St. Louis will feature a lengthy list of absences, including three top forwards in David Perron, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn, which also pull a lot of weight on the Blues’ stellar power play.
Jordan Binnington will draw the start again here, and will need to bounce-back after having a tough return to the lineup in Winnipeg last time out in a 4-2 loss. Binnington has put together a .910 save % altogether this season, but has struggled of late with an .886 save % over his last eight, and the pressure will be on to find his form as both Ville Husso and Charlie Lindgren were notably strong in his absence, and helped carry the team to some strong results.
Oilers vs. Blues Pick
So much talent will remain sidelined for both sides in this contest, but two of the league’s very best in McDavid and Draisaitl will be ready to go, and I think this sets up as a great spot for them to feast.
I expect some sloppy play here off of the long layoffs, and that will likely lead to a lot of high quality scoring chances. I certainly don’t mind the over specifically considering the defensive play these club’s offer.
But at +110 I see more value lying with the Oilers. I think that they will have a good chance to expose Binnington, who has been in an awful run of form of late, posting an .886 save % over his last eight contests after a hot start to the season. Edmonton should also carry more of the play at 5-on-5, a luxury it is not often afforded.
The absences of Schenn, Perron, Thomas, among others leave the Blues’ forwards skating considerably short, and I think that Edmonton has a better chance of getting by with its shaky defensive play here than the Blues.
St. Louis has continued to get by behind some unsustainably high save percentages and strong shooting rates of late, but that could be less sustainable than ever given the talent on hand, and that Binnington is set to return here and is likely below league average big picture.
As with all games right now, be sure to check back often to see changes to the COVID list, specifically as you can often beat sites to the punch on pulling your money (for sites that offer cashout value).
Pick: Edmonton Oilers +110; Play to -105