Golden Knights vs. Wild Game 6 Odds & Prediction: Where Is Wednesday’s Betting Value? (May 26)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Marc-Andre Fleury
- The Wild return home to the Xcel Energy Center trying to stave off elimination by Vegas in Game 6.
- Marc-Andre Fleury played phenomenal for Vegas in the first four games, before dropping a dud in Game 5.
- Michael Leboff explains why he thinks Fleury will bounce back and the Knights will close out the series.
Golden Knights vs. Wild Game 6 Odds
|Golden Knights Odds||-143|
|Over/Under||5.5 (+105 / -127)|
|Time||Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET|
In some respects the Minnesota Wild are unlucky to be down 3-2 in their Round 1 best-of-7 series against the Vegas Golden Knights. In other ways, the Wild are quite fortunate that they are not doing exit interviews and planning their season-end golf outing.
Through the first four games of the series the Wild did a good job of executing their game-plan. Minnesota excels at executing a defensive system to keep games predictable and, in turn, level the playing field against opposition with more scoring talent.
Nobody would argue that the Knights have the deeper, more prolific team in this contest, but Minnesota’s defense is stingy enough to wipe out that advantage by keeping Vegas to the outside and limiting their high-danger scoring chances. No team in the NHL allowed fewer high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 than the Wild this season, and only three allowed fewer expected goals per 60 compared to Dean Evason’s crew.
Through four games in this series, it looked like the Wild were generally sticking to their script. The Wild had a 7.47 to 6.95 edge in 5-on-5 expected goals and were +11 in terms of high-danger scoring chances at even strength. Minnesota was only allowing 1.74 xG and seven high-danger chances per game.
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.
Unfortunately, the Hockey Gods did not side with Minnesota through the first four contests. Not only did the Wild end up on the wrong side of a couple of pivotal (and 50/50) video reviews, but they also ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Marc-Andre Fleury. It seemed like no matter how many good scoring opportunities the Wild created, Fleury would have the answer.
The tale of the series flipped in Game 5, as the Knights dominated play but lost, 4-2. Vegas held a +38 edge in 5-on-5 shot attempts, won the expected goals battle, 2.6 to 1.47 at even strength and had a 12-5 edge in high-danger chances. Hockey is a weird sport, though, and Fleury ended up having a dud, allowing three goals on 13 shots.
That sets the stage for Game 6 at the Xcel Energy Center, which had been a house of horrors for the Knights up until Game 3.
Golden Knights vs. Wild Game 6 Best Bet
I am very interested to see where this number goes. The Wild have been a betting-darling all season and seemingly always attract money when they are underdogs.
Here’s where these lines closed for Minnesota’s two previous home games (via DraftKings):
- Game 3: Vegas -114, Minnesota -103
- Game 4: Vegas -122, Minnesota +106
Even though Vegas looked terrific in Game 5, I’d expect money to come in on the Wild and push the price on Game 6 closer to where it closed for Games 3 and 4. While I am hopeful this number gets down to -125 or better, I do think there’s a shred of value on Vegas at -130.
While Minnesota is excellent at turning games into coin flips, I think Vegas’ edge in between the pipes is wide enough to make the Knights viable as a short road favorite. Fleury may be coming off his worst game of the series, but he was talismanic in the regular season and has carried that form over to the postseason with a .944 save percentage and a +4.53 Goals Saved Above Expectation (GSAx) in five games.
The Wild have treated bettors very well all season, but I’m happy to back Vegas if this number comes down as I expect it will.