NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Predators vs. Blue Jackets (October 20)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Predators vs. Blue Jackets (October 20) article feature image

Juuse Saros led the NHL in Goals Saved Above Expectations after Jan. 1. Credit: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

  • The Blue Jackets have positive momentum after a comeback victory against Vancouver, but will it have enough to beat Nashville?
  • The Predators are clearly the better side in this contest, but the betting value lies on the total.
  • Grant White previews the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Predators vs. Blue Jackets Odds

Predators Odds-150
Blue Jackets Odds+125
Over/Under6.5 (-110/-110)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Hot on the heels of a triumphant 4-3 comeback victory against the Vancouver Canucks, the Columbus Blue Jackets look to make it two wins in a row against the Nashville Predators. However, as the betting line implies, the Jackets have been one of the worst analytics teams in the league and could be outmatched by a tenacious Predators squad.

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Nashville Predators

Analytically, the Predators have been one of the best teams in the NHL to start the season, and it begins with their stellar play on the backend. As a team, Nashville has posted the eighth-best Corsi rating at five-on-five, skating around with a 53.9% rating. The Roman Josi-led group features four players who rank above the team average, led by Mark Borowiecki at 58.8%, who has started just 33.3% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

Solid play by the defensemen has solidified the Predators' underlying metrics. The team has posted positive relative metrics in shots, scoring chances and high-danger opportunities, elevating their expected goals-for percentage above the league average. Still, defense remains the priority for a Nashville team that allows an average of 18.4 scoring and 7.2 high-danger chances per game.

That shutdown style is required to offset some of the team's offensive shortcomings. Nashville has a laughable 8.3% shooting percentage, which ranks as the sixth-worst in the league. However, the team doesn't need much more than that with stalwart Juuse Saros locking things down in net.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets can't brag about the same successes as they've struggled early on this campaign. Columbus has been out-possessed in three of four outings, culminating with the 28th-ranked Corsi rating. We're not anticipating any growth against a Predators team that drives the play with the puck and will have the advantage Thursday.

Moreover, Columbus' ineffective play isn't limited to its possession metrics as the Blue Jackets have posted disappointing scoring stats in the attacking zone. As a unit, the Blue Jackets have attempted eight or fewer high-danger chances in three games this year and needed overtime against the Canucks to hit double digits. Among skaters who have played more than one game, only Gustav Nyquist has created more chances than he's given up, and he's skating around at an untenable 11-10 ratio.

Collectively, ineffective play has sunk the Blue Jackets to a 44.9% expected goals-for rating. Although growth may be on the horizon as they play four of their next five at home, they need to have more robust metrics before we can expect a substantive increase in scoring.

Predators vs. Blue Jackets Pick

Columbus is chasing the puck and putting up unreliable offensive metrics. That plays into a low-scoring game against a Predators team that prioritizes defensive responsibility and plays a blanketing style in their own end. We're not sure where the goals are coming from in this one and we're betting it stays under the total.

Pick: Under 6.5 (+105)

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