Oilers vs. Coyotes Odds, Pick, Prediction: Arizona Struggling on Defense

Oilers vs. Coyotes Odds, Pick, Prediction: Arizona Struggling on Defense article feature image

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images. PIctured: Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse

  • The Oilers are a big road favorite over the Coyotes on Thursday night.
  • The Coyotes' are one of the league's worst teams, but their underlying metrics haven't been terrible on offense. Defense is a different story.
  • See how we're betting Oilers vs. Coyotes below.

Oilers vs. Coyotes Odds

Oilers Odds-210
Coyotes Odds+170
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

The Edmonton Oilers are 3-0-0 to start the season after three impressive offensive showings on home ice. For the first time since the 2019-20 season, they travel south of the border for the first night of a back-to-back, with tonight's game coming against the Arizona Coyotes.

Oilers' Offense Hitting the Ground Running

Goaltending usage is critical for the Oilers over the coming weeks, as primary goalie Mike Smith was transferred to the injured reserve. Smith was his usual stalwart self over the first three starts, stopping 92.0% of shots, including 84.6% of high-danger chances at even strength. Mikko Koskinen is the projected starter for the first night of the back-to-back, with Stuart Skinner potentially coming in on Friday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

It might not matter who starts between the pipes, though, as the Oilers' offense has hit the ground running to kick off the 2021-22 NHL season. For the first time in a long time, the Oilers have balanced production throughout their lineup. Nine players have recorded two or more points through the club's first three games, including seven different goal scorers.

Head coach Dave Tippett is getting the most out of his lineup, with 15 players posting an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0%. That net effect is felt throughout the team, as the Oilers sit sixth in the NHL with an expected goals-for percentage of 57.9.

Those metrics could improve against a winless Coyotes squad.

Coyotes Not as Bad as Scores Have Shown

The Coyotes' tough start isn't reflected in their advanced metrics. Arizona has posted an expected goals-for percentage above 50.0% in two of their three games, for a cumulative 52.7% rating, placing them in the top half of the league.

Although the Coyotes have strong relative metrics, there are concerning trends emerging in their own end. Arizona has given up double-digit high-danger chances in each of their past two games. Opponents have attempted 21 high-danger chances at five-on-five and 27 opportunities across all strengths. Shots and scoring chances are also abundant, with the Coyotes giving up 66 shots and 54 scoring chances over the same two-game sample.

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Karel Vajmelka is confirmed as the starter tonight after Carter Hutton disappointed in his first two starts. Vajmelka is 89 minutes into his NHL tenure and has stopped 66.7% of powerplay shots and 75.0% of high-danger chances at even-strength.

The Oilers' offense thrives under both circumstances and will knock Vajmelka's overall 95.2% save percentage down towards average.

Coyotes vs. Oilers Pick

The Coyotes' defensive structure lends itself to a high-scoring affair, aligning with the Oilers playing style.

At the time of writing, some sportsbooks have the total at 6, while a few are sitting at 6.5. I'd do my best to shop around and play the over, so long as you can get a 6.

Pick: Over 6 or better

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