NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Rangers vs. Jets (October 14)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor Hellebuyck.
- Winnipeg hosts New York on Friday night.
- The Rangers are playing their third game in four nights and may be a bit sluggish, but can the Jets take advantage?
- Tony Sartori shares his best bet below.
Rangers vs. Jets Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Central Division's Winnipeg Jets open their season hosting the Metropolitan Division's New York Rangers, who have started the season 2-0. New York won each of the two meetings between these clubs last year.
Will the Rangers take care of business once again, or can the Jets walk away with a victory as a short home favorite?
New York Rangers
New York started the season in great form, going 2-0 with big wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild. The over/under went 1-1 in those two contests.
Last season, the Rangers were one of the better under bets in hockey (32-47). The main reason for that was the outstanding goaltending of Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin, but the blue line was also outstanding.
At 5v5, New York finished in the top half of the league in both goals against (GA) and xGA last season. Their top-four defensemen — Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba and K'Andre Miller — make up one of the best defensive units in the league.
However, the offense was much more troubling last season. While the Rangers were dynamite on special teams, their 5v5 play was a big part of the under consistently being a strong bet.
Last season, the Rangers finished 21st in the league in goals for (GF) and 28th in xGF at 5v5. Additionally, we could see some quick shifts and a slower pace of play as the Rangers are on the second half of a back-to-back and playing their third game in four nights.
Since New York is in that situation, we can expect to see backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak take the crease. As a backup for Vancouver last season, Halak posted a .903 SV% and 2.94 GAA.
However, he ended the season on a very positive note as he produced a .949 SV% and 1.65 GAA over his final five games.
On the other side of the ice, we can expect Connor Hellebuyck to take the crease for the Jets. Last season, he ranked 11th among starting goaltenders in 5v5 goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60).
For the year, he went 29-27-10 with a .910 SV% and 2.97 GAA. While he often had to bail his team out, Winnipeg should be a lot more defensively sound this season thanks to the coaching change.
Rick Bowness, who came over from Dallas during the offseason, is looking to change the identity of this team. Bowness is a defensive-minded coach and was a big part of Dallas' success last year.
At 5v5, the Stars ranked in the top half of the league in both GA and xGA. Bowness' defensive-orientated systems led to a lot of low-scoring games as the O/U went 34-44 for Dallas last year.
While Winnipeg boasts some talent in the top six of their forward group, their depth should be a major concern. Like last year, the bulk of the scoring will likely come from the top six guys, which is problematic against strong defensive teams.
Rangers vs. Jets Pick
Both games between these two teams last year went under the total and we should expect that trend to continue in this matchup. In fact, there have been five or fewer goals scored in six of the past nine meetings between these clubs.
We are getting a generous total due to the fact that Shesterkin likely won't be in net for New York. However, Halak should be good enough considering the defense in front of him. Meanwhile, Hellebuyck has consistently been a top goaltender for years.
I am playing the total at 6.5 with a little extra juice because I think it is worth the squeeze, but playing the under at six would also be a strong play.
Pick: Under 6.5 (-130)