Predators at Blackhawks Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 4/19/2013
The Nashville Predators will try and snap a seven-game skid in one of the hardest places to win a game this season when they face the Chicago Blackhawks this Friday night at the United Center. This Central Division matchup is slated to get underway at 8:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Nashville’s current slide reached seven games with a 5-2 loss to Vancouver this past Monday night as a +162 home underdog with the total going “over” the five-goal line after staying “under” in five of its last seven games. The Predators now head on the road where they are 5-12-4 this season.
The Blackhawks will also be well-rested for this contest after beating Dallas 5-2 as -190 home favorites on Monday night as well. It was their sixth-straight victory, and it improved their record at home this season to a NHL-best 16-3-2 this season.
Predators at Blackhawks Betting Storylines
This recent downturn has ended any chance of Nashville heading back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season as it is now nine points out of the eighth and final spot in the West with just four games left on its schedule. This team has struggled all season long, especially on offense, where it is ranked dead last in the league in scoring with an average of 2.2 goals a game. The Predators have tallied less than three goals in eight of their last 10 games and have only scored more than three goals once in their last 12 outings.
Defensively, things have been a bit better with a goals-against average of 2.7, which is ranked 18th in the NHL. Pekka Rinne has done his best in goal to keep this team in as many games as possible with a GAA of 2.35 and a .914 save percentage, but this admirable performance has been pretty much wasted due to a total lack support on the other end of the ice.
The Blackhawks are back on cruise control and have clinched the top seed in the conference and are now going for the home-ice advantage for as long as they remain in the playoffs. They have a 10-point lead over Anaheim in the West with 70 points and lead Pittsburgh by four points for the most overall points in the NHL. Balance has been the key for Chicago from Day 1 with an offense that is pumping out an average of 3.2 goals to complement a shut-down defense that is ranked first in the league with a GAA of 2.0.
The only major injury for concern heading into this contest is Patrick Sharp, who missed the last two games nursing an upper-body injury. He is currently listed as “questionable” for Friday night. Patrick Kane remains the team’s top point scorer with 20 goals and 27 assists, and Jonathan Toews is a close second with a team-high 21 goals and 23 assists. Chicago has the luxury of having two quality goaltenders on the roster in Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Each has a GAA of less than two and save percentage of better than .920, so it really does not matter which one is between the pipes against Nashville.
Predators at Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds and Trends
Nashville comes into this divisional clash listed as a +260 road underdog on BetOnline’s opening money line with the Blackhawks listed as 290 home favorites. The over/under for this contest has been set at 5.5.
The Predators are 7-19 in their last 26 road games and 5-17 in their last 22 games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed under in four of their last six games against the division.
The Blackhawks are 40-11 in their last 51 Central Division games and 38-15 in their last 53 games following a win. The total has gone over in three of their last five games at home.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Nashville has lost the last five meetings overall, including all four this season and is 2-5 in its last road seven games against the Blackhawks. The total has gone over in four of the last six meetings in Chicago.
Predators at Blackhawks Picks and Betting Predictions
This matchup presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the more favorable odds on the puck line as opposed to a straight up money line wager. Lay the 1.5 goals and take the -120 odds that the Blackhawks win this game by two or more goals.
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