Wild vs. Blues Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back St. Louis’ Improved Defense and Superior Game Breakers at Home (April 16)
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ville Husso
- The Blues host the wild on Saturday afternoon in what is expected to be a competitive game.
- In what will likely be a first round playoff matchup, which side has the edge as both teams have surged recently?
- Nick Martin breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Wild vs. Blues Odds
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Each of these teams enters in the midst of some tremendous play. The Wild are 7-1-2 over their last 10 while the Blues are 9-0-1 as these teams have now pulled away from the pack for second and third in the Central Division. Both teams enter tied for second in the division with 98 points.
Therefore, Saturday night’s battle will offer an exciting preview of what will almost certainly be a first round playoff matchup this spring. This sets up for a fun matchup with how these teams have been playing of late.
Which side holds the upper hand in this spot?
Pesky Wild Surging of Late
The Wild have put together a dominant surge of late and enter this critical contest with a 51.28 Expected Goals rate over the last 10 outings and an excellent record of 7-1-2 over that span.
They have been dominant and could arguably be more of a nuisance to play against than their opposition here in the Blues. However, they don’t have as much elite scoring talent up front as the Blues do.
The Wild will likely be without Matt Dumba and Jordan Greenway, who are both key pieces of this team.
It seems to be a close battle between Cam Talbot and the newly acquired Marc-Andre Fleury for the first start of the postseason, as both have been tremendous in the time since Fleury arrived at the deadline.
Fleury holds a -14.1 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .910 Save Percentage in 51 games played this season. Talbot enters with a -4.1 GSAx rating and a .912 Save Percentage in 45 games played.
Blues Driving More Play and Dominating
The Blues have shown great progress defensively over their 9-0-1 tear and are looking much more like a Stanley Cup contender out of the West.
The Blues hold a +21 Goal Differential over the 10-game span and have played to an Expected Goals rate of 54.17% during that time. A 3.59 xGF/60 rate is even more of a positive when we consider the sorts of chances the Blues are capable of creating, and that they have consistently outscored their Expected Goals this season.
With Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas both taking massive steps forward this season in their point per game averages, the Blues hold one of the deepest forward corps in hockey and will be a very tough out come the postseason.
The Blues are among the league leaders in slot passes created this season. They do a great job of making life tough for opposing goaltenders, similar to the Wild, which has been a big part of their +41.45 rating.
The defensive play always figured to be the Blues’ biggest concern this season, but we have seen them show far better in that regard of late, and most of those contests still came without the services of Torey Krug.
With Krug back in tow and Nick Leddy’s addition at the deadline, the top four looks way better, and the Blues are in turn controlling far more of the run of play than we saw earlier in the season.
The Blues initially appeared to be faring favorably with regards to the actual results at times this season, but they are now driving far more of the play, so we shouldn’t expect any of the once expected regression in future results.
Ville Husso has been tremendous for St. Louis this season and should draw this massive start and the start in game one of the playoffs. Husso holds a +18.0 GSAx rating, with a .925 Save Percentage in 36 games played.
Wild vs. Blues Pick
With how tremendously each of these teams have been playing, led by some excellent offensive play, this series should quietly be one of round one’s best.
I can’t wait to watch these two battle it out in a few weeks in the postseason and am starting to come around on St. Louis’ chances of taking that series.
The Blues hold more offensive game breakers in the top nine, and with the defensive play led by Husso looking far better of late, they can pay off that advantage with a win.
The Blues’ dominance in all areas has them sitting with a +63 Goal Differential, which is +17 better than the Wild’s current rating. These teams are very close, and there certainly isn’t much dictating a big edge between these two clubs, but the Blues hold a few more true offensive game breakers.
Backing this series to go 6-7 games should be safe come the postseason, but with how dominant the Blues have played of late, there’s an edge on them with this game priced as a pick ’em. I like St. Louis to take this contest enough of the time to warrant a bet on the moneyline at -108 at BetRivers, with value down to -115.
Pick: St. Louis Blues -108 (BetRivers) | Bet down to -115
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