Friday NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Edmonton Oilers vs. New Jersey Devils Betting Preview
Ben Green/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: P.K. Subban and the Devils celebrate a goal.
- The Oilers are favored in a New Year's Eve matinee against the Devils in New Jersey.
- The total has opened at 6 at some books, but 6.5 at most others.
- Continue reading below for a full breakdown of this matchup, which includes why and how you should target the total.
Oilers vs. Devils Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Oilers have free-fallen from the top of the Pacific standings all the way down to the second wild-card spot, but will look to close out the calendar year on a positive note in a Friday afternoon matinee in New Jersey against the Devils.
New Jersey’s recent 2-7-1 slide has the club essentially playing just for pride at this point in a year that once featured great promise.
These teams have battled through similar defensive woes of late and the total is set at 6.5. Will the offenses prevail once again?
Oilers Struggling Defensively
The Oilers’ back-end was expected to be their biggest flaw entering the season, and it’s certainly shown through during this current 2-7-0 stretch that has seen the club allow an average of 3.66 goals per game.
Darnell Nurse did practice Thursday, and should return for this contestalong with William Lagesson. With that said, the struggles began prior to the recent roster shortages, with the Oilers holding the 12th-worst 2.52 xGA/60 over their last 13 games.
The hopes that Duncan Keith could rekindle his old form in a new environment have certainly proven to be foolish, and the Oilers; second pairing of him and Cody Ceci is proving to be the problem many suspected it would be.
Ultimately, this club is more or less the same as we have seen in recent years, with possibly a little more offensive depth. They will have a tough time on the nights Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl don’t post gaudy offensive numbers, but regardless of concerns going forward, they do match up well against the Devils.
Mike Smith made his long awaited return Wednesday, allowing four goals on 33 shots against the Blues. Smith holds a -1.1 goals saved above expected rating with a .900 save % this season in a tiny four-game sample size, but he is likely to regress compared to last year’s success.
Devils Hope For More From Hughes
Lindy Ruff’s Devils have to be viewed as one of the season’s bigger underachievers, holding an 11-15-5 record and already essentially eliminated from the playoff race.
Jack Hughes missing time certainly hasn’t helped, and he has yet to fully find the kind of elite form many thought we may see this season.
Hughes did manage a four-point night Wednesday in Buffalo, and the possibility of him posting some big numbers this season skating on a line with with Jasper Bratt still seems very reasonable. Bratt holds one of the more underrated offensive skillsets in the whole league, with some incredible edge-work allowing him to find space.
Behind that top duo the Devils do conceivably hold more offensive punch than we have seen, but the problem has been that too many of those young pieces being counted on for better seasons haven’t produced in the early going.
Skating a patchwork of five different goalies, all with sub-par results, certainly hasn’t helped. Expected No. 1 Mackenzie Blackwood has struggled to an extent himself throughout the 17 contests he has played.
Blackwood holds a -2.9 goals saved above expected rating with a .900 save %, and although I do feel the Devils’ defensive play has been worse than the data suggests, it would be fair to say his season has gone as a let down altogether.
Devils vs. Oilers Pick
The Devils’ games have averaged 6.57 combined goals over their last 14, and this one comes against an Oilers team that produces well above-average totals themselves.
Edmonton could receive somewhat of a boost on the back end with Nurse and Lagesson likely to return, but at this point we have seen that even at full health the Oilers’ personnel does not allow them to defend overly well.
The Devils may be able to control a reasonable share of the play at 5-on-5, but as they have consistently shown dating back to all of last season, that will likely not mean preventing Edmonton a high offensive output.
A few shops opened this total at 6, and I see value backing the over at that key number. Get in early, though, as we may see 6.5 closer to puck-drop.
Pick: Over 6 (Play to -140)