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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Predators vs. Capitals (Dec. 29)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Predators vs. Capitals (Dec. 29) article feature image

Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Samsonov

  • NHL odds for Predators vs. Capitals are holding steady in the final hours before puck drop, with Washington listed as a -150 favorite.
  • So where's the betting value on Wednesday night? Our analyst previews the matchup below, complete with their moneyline pick.

Predators vs. Capitals Odds

Predators Odds+130
Capitals Odds-150
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The NHL’s pause couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Nashville Predators. Despite having some lineup issues due to Covid-19, the Preds were running red hot in December and went into the break on a seven-game winning streak. The Predators posted a 61.5% expected goals rate in that span, so the strong results were no fluke.

Now the question becomes whether or not Nashville can maintain its form as it travels to Washington as underdogs against a team that dropped three in a row leading into the break.

Can the Preds Pick Up Where They Left Off?

Nashville’s seven-game winning streak moved the Predators all the way up to second place in the Central Division, only one point behind the pace-setting Minnesota Wild.

Like every other team in the NHL, the Preds have been impacted by Covid-19 and will be without their best player, Roman Josi, for the next few games. In addition to Josi, the Preds will need to make do without Matt Duchene and Colton Sissons.

Nashville is built from the back to the front and goaltender Juuse Saros has been superb all season and was especially hot over his last four games, allowing six goals on 108 shots. The 26-year-old Finn has a .924 save percentage (SV%) and a +9.2 Goals Saved Above Expected this season. After entering the season as a 40/1 outsider to win the Vezina, Saros’ odds have shortened to +1800 and could be a contender if he keeps up his form.

While Saros has been superb, the defense has done its part as well. The Predators are the second-best team at preventing high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 and rank third in expected goals against.

David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Juuse Saros

The Caps Looking To Right the Ship

Washington’s three-game skid is a blip on an otherwise sparkling start to the season. The Caps are tied for first in the Metropolitan Division and have the second-most points in the NHL as of Tuesday night.

The Capitals have been led by Alex Ovechkin, who is putting together one of the all-time impressive seasons at age 36. The Great Eight has 22 goals and 25 assists in 47 games and is looking like an MVP candidate to this point. Ovechkin is +600 to win the Hart Trophy at the moment.

The Capitals will also be without a handful of players on Wednesday: T.J. Oshie, Daniel Sprong, Justin Schultz, Dennis Cholowski, Martin Fehervary and Vitek Vanacek are in protocol, while Anthony Mantha will also be missing due to injury.

The Capitals rank fifth in the NHL with an average of 3.42 goals per game, but they’re middle of the pack in terms of generating chances at 5-on-5. That’s not a big deal for a team with elite finishers like Ovechkin.

While the offense has been fine this season, the Capitals defense has been the story. Washington ranks seventh in goals and expected goals allowed at 5-on-5, which is taking some pressure off the offense.

Ilya Samsonov is the likely starter and the Russian has been solid enough for Washington this season with an 11-2-2 record to go along with a .910 SV% and a -0.1 GSAx.

Capitals vs. Predators Pick

The timing of the break was tough for the Predators and they will have their work cut out for them on Wednesday night with Josi and Duchene out of the lineup.

On the other hand, the pause could end up being a positive for the Capitals after a three-game skid.

Nashville has the edge in goaltending with Saros, but Washington hasn’t had trouble finding the back of the net this season, so I don’t mind laying the juice on the Capitals in what is a good buy low/sell high spot on Wednesday night.

Pick: Washington Capitals -150

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