NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Golden Knights vs. Oilers
Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.
- The Vegas Golden Knights take on the Edmonton Oilers in Saturday night NHL action.
- The Oilers enter as big favorites, which may be surprising to some — but Nick Martin thinks it's warranted.
- Martin breaks down his top bet for Holden Knights vs. Oilers below.
Golden Knights vs. Oilers Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||+158|
|Over/Under||6.5 (-152 / +124)|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Despite being on top of the NHL’s Western Conference, Vegas is priced as a relatively heavy underdog at +170 as it takes on the Oilers in an important Pacific Division battle on Saturday.
Vegas Golden Knights
Many bettors were surprised to see the Knights close as +120 underdogs in Calgary Thursday against a Flames team that has achieved significantly worse results on paper.
Many will have a similar reaction looking at the Knights as a +170 underdog in this matchup despite being six points up on the Oilers in the standings and on an 8-2-0 tear.
However, Vegas has been allowing a ton of chances against in what has become a large sample of play.
Over its last 10 games, Vegas has allowed 4.04 xGA/60, which is the second-worst mark in the league and a good margin below any team that’s not San Jose.
The Knights have played to a 45.3 xGF% and are generating far fewer chances than their opponents. However, they’ve found a way to hide that flaw with a run of surprisingly strong goaltending and finishing at a 12.96% shooting percentage.
The Calgary game was another example of Vegas’ excellent recent fortune. The Flames clearly held more of the play and were generating chances of equal quality compared to the Knights. Calgary outshot Vegas, 44-32, and spent far more time in the defensive, leading to a whopping 32 shot blocks for the Knights.
With Logan Thompson injured late in that game, the Knights will likely turn to Jonathan Quick, who has had a strong start to his Knights career after a dismal season with L.A.
Quick has played to a -15.7 GSAx rating this season and an .882 save percentage in 38 games played. However, he has a save percentage of .908 and a goals against average of 2.93 in his seven games with the Knights.
Reilly Smith has also joined Vegas’ IR and will miss tonight’s contest. He’s a significant loss to the Knights’ second line and top power-play unit.
The Oilers have been in the midst of an extremely impressive run itself, playing to a 9-2-0 record with wins over elite sides such as Boston, Toronto and Dallas in the month of March.
They own a league-leading 60.17 xGF% in that span and have converted that elite run of play into a strong +13 goal differential.
Mattias Ekholm has been a very effective fit since coming over from Nashville and is making a meaningful difference in helping the Oilers shore up their defense.
The only significant concern currently for Oilers fans is the play of Jack Campbell, who has struggled mightily to a -21.7 GSAx and .882 save percentage in 33 appearances this season.
Given the significance of this matchup for the Oilers, it’s safe to assume Stuart Skinner will get the start, as he has a stranglehold on the No. 1 job.
Skinner has played to a -1.2 GSAx and .910 save percentage in 43 appearances.
Golden Knights vs. Oilers Pick
For what has become a relatively large sample, Edmonton has been playing exceptionally well as a team and has become far less reliant on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl stealing the show.
On the nights when Campbell has struggled, that point has shined through with some strong results. With Skinner in goal, I believe Edmonton deserves to be rated as the second-best team in the West.
Vegas has been allowing an alarming amount of chances against in a large sample, and its team reputation under Bruce Cassidy is likely hiding how poorly it’s been playing
So, while it might look surprising to many that Edmonton is favored like this, I actually believe it’s entirely warranted.
This is a huge game for the Oilers standings-wise, so I would be shocked to see Skinner not get the nod. As long as Skinner is in, I would play the Oilers down to -125 to win in regulation.
If Campbell were to have a surprise start, I would then hop on the over as quickly as possible and look to play anything better than 6.5 at -150.
Pick: Oilers 3-Way ML -110
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