NHL Odds, Prediction: Sharks vs. Predators Betting Preview (Friday, Oct. 7)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: San Jose Sharks forward William Eklund
- The NHL regular season kicks off on Friday afternoon with the Sharks vs. Predators in Prague.
- The two-game set is part of the NHL's Global Series and features a pair of teams with very different preseason expectations.
- Michael Leboff makes his pick for the overseas game below.
Sharks vs. Predators Odds
|Time||2 p.m. ET|
The 2022-23 NHL Season kicks off on Friday with a matinee between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
These two teams check into this two-game set (they'll play again on Saturday in Prague as part of the NHL's Global Series) with very different expectations for the upcoming season.
The Sharks are being priced like a lock for the Draft Lottery while the market sentiment around the Preds is that they'll be a playoff team. Nashville is odds-on to make the postseason this spring and has an Over/Under of 96.5 points.
With such a gap in preseason expectations, it's not surprising to see Nashville sitting as a robust -195 favorite in the curtain-raiser.
And while the NHL has a reputation for parity and being an underdog sport, we're coming off the chalkiest season in recent memory.
Not only did the clear preseason favorites — the ColoradoAvalanche — win the Stanley Cup, but NHL favorites had their best regular season in the Salary Cap Era (2005-present) with an 849-462 record and a 64.8% win rate.
And it continued into the postseason.
The Chalk would follow up a record regular season with a near-record postseason. Favorites went 59-30 (66.2%) during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is the second-highest win rate (2013) for faves since 2005-06.
Is the market too high on Nashville?
The Preds were not projected for much success in 2021-22, but they cleared those expectations with a 97-point season. Nashville would end up getting swept by the Avs in Round 1 of the playoffs, but they had just lost stalwart goaltender Juuse Saros to injury before that series.
The betting market is expecting the Preds to get right back up there again in 2021-22, but it does seem like that may be asking a bit much of a roster that basically played at its ceiling last year.
That isn't to say Nashville won't be a good team over the next six months. The Preds have a high floor thanks to Saros, who posted a .917 save percentage and +12.6 GSAx in a league-high 67 starts in '21-22, and Roman Josi, who put up the most points by a defenseman in 30 years last season. But they also got suspiciously strong seasons from other players.
Matt Duchene (43 goals, 43 assists) and Ryan Johansen (63 points) each had resurgent seasons, Tanner Jeannot came out of nowhere to be a Calder Trophy candidate at age 24, and Filip Forsberg notched 42 goals himself.
Maybe those players get back up there this season (Forsberg is probably the best bet of the lot to do so), but that's really asking a lot. And remember, the Preds were the last team into the playoffs even with everyone performing at their peak.
Saros, Josi, Forsberg, Duchene and Johansen form a pretty strong nucleus, and you could also throw Mattias Ekholm, Ryan McDonagh, Nino Niederreiter and maybe Jeannot into that mix, as well. But it does start to get worryingly average after that group.
Betting on the Sharks will be painful
The San Jose Sharks are heading toward another tough season. Such is the price for being one of the best teams for the better part of a decade in the NHL.
That said, there will be glimmers of hope on this roster from game to game.
The top of San Jose’s roster has more talent on it than your typical bottom-dweller with Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Logan Couture, Alexander Barabanov, Kevin Labanc and Oskar Lindblom, plus the ceiling could go up a little more if rookies William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau are able to bring the goods (Eklund is +1400 to win the Calder Trophy; Bordeleau is +2200).
But even if the two youngsters leap forward and Meier continues his upward trajectory playing alongside Hertl and/or Couture, the rest of the roster will have a lot of work to do to keep the Sharks relevant.
On the blueline, the Sharks will lean too heavily on 32-year-old Karlsson, who is the de facto No. 1 defenseman just because nobody else really comes close to being able to fulfill that role for this team. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s salad days are way behind him, Mario Ferraro would be fine in the right role but he’s likely going to be asked to play top-pair minutes, and the rest of the group is pedestrian at best.
And it’s not like they’re going to be playing in front of a dynamite goaltending tandem, either. James Reimer was quite solid for San Jose in 48 games last season, but the veteran goaltender has basically alternated between strong and poor campaigns over his career. And we’re not talking crazy floors or ceilings with Reimer, either. He’ll be hovering just below, at, or just above average.
Sharks vs. Predators Pick
The Sharks are very likely to be a bottom-10 team in the NHL, but everything in betting comes down to price and this number is good enough to get involved on San Jose. While the market has completely soured on the Sharks, it seems too high on the Predators after a season in which everything went right.
There is a noticeable difference between the talent levels of these two teams, but it isn't as wide as these odds project, especially on Day 1 of the season when funkiness and variance will reign supreme.
Pick: San Jose Sharks (+165)