NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Rangers vs. Sharks (Jan. 13)
Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Karlsson
- The San Jose Sharks are home underdogs on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers.
- The Rangers are looking to bounce back after a poor showing on Monday while the Sharks hope to stay in the projected playoff field.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his best bet below.
Sharks vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Three straight wins have the San Jose Sharks clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is not something many people thought would be the case coming into the season. But the Sharks did a great job over the last week notching wins over beatable teams and now will look to continue to climb against the Rangers, who are coming off a poor showing in a 3-1 loss on Monday.
Despite playing in the tougher Eastern Conference, the Rangers are nine points ahead of San Jose in the league table. That said, the Blueshirts are being tabbed by many in the betting community as a potential regression candidate as their actual results are much better than their predictive metrics.
The Inconsistent Sharks
The Sharks have done well to steady the ship with wins over Detroit, Buffalo and Philadelphia, but those victories came on the heels of a 2-4 stretch that saw San Jose post a -10 goal differential. And the two wins in that downturn came in overtime against poor teams (Arizona, Philadelphia).
The NHL features plenty of parity and no game is truly a “gimme,” but the Sharks have played a very weak schedule over the past nine games. The average standing position of their opponents in that span is 23rd place. San Jose has skated to a 50.04% expected goals rate in that timeframe, which is fine, but not as solid as you’d like to see when you consider the opposition.
San Jose’s top defensive pairing featuring Brent Burns and Mario Ferraro still appears vulnerable both when forced in transition and playing in-zone, and the duo’s 47.6% xG rate backs up that notion.
With James Reimer out, the Sharks will play their No. 2 goalie, Adin Hill, in this game. Hill has been subpar this season with a .903 save percentage and a -5.3 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Will Regression Come for the Rangers?
Contrary to the Sharks recent stretch, the Rangers have played a ton of games against the league’s elite over their last 11 contests, so their 41.9% expected goals rate does need some context. No team is going to come out smelling of roses after a stretch against Tampa Bay, Florida, Vegas and Colorado.
That said, the Rangers have struggled to drive play at 5-on-5 all season, but I do think we’ll see their numbers trend upwards and this is a good opportunity to start against a team that is not as good as even their modest record suggests.
Even though their scoring chance numbers aren’t great, New York boasts a deep forward group that should have its way with a San Jose defense that is not all that sharp in its own end.
It’s likely we see Alexandar Georgiev start again on Thursday with Igor Shesterkin’s status unclear. The star goaltender has been on the Covid-19 list for seven days, but there still is no word if he’s cleared. Shesterkin is one of the league’s best goalies, so if he gets a surprise nod this line will shoot up. As for Georgiev, he’s posted a -2.6 GSAx with a .906 save % throughout 17 games played this season.
Sharks vs. Rangers Pick
The Rangers may be somewhat due for regression, but they are one of the top teams in the league skating out of the much tougher Eastern Conference, and I see this as a much tougher test than for the Sharks compared to what they have seen over the last month.
Coming from someone who truly does like this Sharks core and has always considered Erik Karlsson to be a personal favorite, I would love to see them make a surprise postseason berth, but to me I still question whether they are quite at the level of this Rangers team.
I’m sure a lot of bettors who solely trust the numbers won’t see this as a sharp play, but I think the Rangers hold some value as a road favorite on Thursday night.
I’m going to play the Rangers moneyline at -125 and I would play it down to -135.
Pick: Rangers -135 or better