NHL Odds & Picks For Blues vs. Wild: Bet on Minnesota’s Long-Term Form
Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Minnesota Wild Center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) celebrates his third period goal with Minnesota Wild Left Wing Jordan Greenway (18) and Minnesota Wild Defenceman Jared Spurgeon (46) during an NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche on April 7, 2021, at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN.
- The Wild are favored over the Blues on Monday night despite St. Louis picking up two victories against Minnesota last week, including a 9-1 drubbing.
- The Wild have been the better team all year, though, by pretty much any way you slice it.
- Get Nicholas Martin's full betting preview and Wild vs. Blues pick below.
Blues at Wild Odds
|Time||Monday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday morning and via PointsBet.|
The Blues will come in to the Xcel Energy Center winners of three straight games, including two against the Wild on the weekend in St. Louis. The Blues pummeled the Wild 9-1 Friday night, and managed to scrape out a 3-2 overtime win after tying the game in the final minute Saturday.
The winning streak has vaulted the Blues back into the fourth playoff position in the West, one point ahead of Arizona with a game in hand. The Sharks sit four points back with a game in hand as well, and St. Louis face a tough remaining schedule.
Two big questions for me — how talented is this Blues group really, and will it get anywhere close to the form that led them to their 2018-19 Stanley Cup? I think many people locked them in to a top three spot in the division without much consideration, but this Blues team has not controlled much of the play this year and are very low on most play-driving numbers, a direct contrast from two years ago.
Even over this three-game winning streak, the Blues have an expected goals total of 7.11 for and 9.16 against, but certainly there were some positives for the team over the stretch, with winnings being the most important.
Colton Parayko is back from injury, and I felt in Saturday’s game vs. the Wild he looked to be finding his game. If he can find some good form it would be a massive addition to the Blues playoff push. Vlad Tarasenko has shown flashes of the player he was before multiple surgeries, but not often enough yet for a Blues team that likely has no realistic chance come playoff time unless he is playing at an elite level again.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
xG numbers cited from Evolving Hockey.
The Minnesota Wild have not lost three games in a row yet this year, and while I certainly do not think that makes it more likely they win tomorrow’s game, it is a good comment on how strong this Wild team has been.
Minnesota have quietly assembled an excellent defence core, with the top pair of Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon controlling play to an xGF% of 55.9 over 492 minutes of play together. The 1-B pairing of Jonas Brodin and Matthew Dumba has also been very strong, with a xGF% of 52.4 in 453 minutes together.
Offensively Kirill Kaprizov has given the Wild a massive boost, and the young phenom has sparked a resurgence from Mats Zuccarello as well as a new energy around the entire organization. Joel Eriksson Ek, and Jordan Greenway have both shown excellent development for Minnesota this season and are strong two-way players who have chipped in a lot of additional scoring offensively.
This is an underrated roster, and I do not see much reason that Minnesota will falter down the stretch and slip below the third spot in the division. They will certainly be far from favoured against Colorado or Vegas in round one, but should offer them a legitimate test.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Wild showed better than the Blues Saturday, and took a tough 3-on-3 overtime loss after an unlucky game tying goal ricocheted in off of Matt Dumba in the final minute. Overall this season however Minnesota has been considerably better than the Blues, whether you want to look at standings or the play driving numbers, and I believe that we will see them put together consistent results as they have done all year.
Minnesota are very worthy favourites here, and I like their chances to get a better result against a Blues team that simply has not shown to be what they were in the past so far this season.
Pick: Minnesota Wild -140 (PointsBet)
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