Sharks at Oilers Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 1/22/2013
There isn’t a team in the NHL with more young talent than the Oilers — Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Schultz are all destined to be stars. The key, though, is that they are incredibly young. Last year they started strong but weren’t yet ready for prime time, and they got to add another top pick in Yakupov to the already loaded cupboards. Now they are that much more experienced, and expectations are that much higher. As they make their home debut in this one in front of what will be a rabid crowd, the question is whether they are ready to make a huge step forward this year or if they are still in a building phase.
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For the Sharks, the key is carrying forward the momentum they displayed in their opener three hours down the highway in Calgary. The Flames have shown in their two games, though, that beating them isn’t much of an accomplishment, so we can’t read too much into that convincing win.
Sharks at Oilers Betting storylines
Home ice is typically an advantage in the NHL. On this day my gut tells me that it will be an even bigger advantage. Edmonton fans are rabid, and they are going to be fired up for this one given the expectations and the season-opening win over the Canucks. The team will be happy to be playing at home, and new head coach Ralph Krueger will be looking to make a splash in his first chance to impress the faithful as the head man. San Jose is on an awkward road trip to start the season given the circumstances of the lockout, and it’s not going to help them be at their most comfortable here.
Edmonton also rides into this one with tremendous confidence off of their opener. Vancouver has long owned the division. Edmonton fell behind early and it looked like it could totally get away from them. They didn’t quit, though, and they were able to fight back to tie it up and then win in a shootout. It wasn’t a perfect effort, but to see that kind of composure and determination from a team with a core this young is impressive. Rookies Yakupov and Schultz both looked particularly solid given their lack of experience and preparation time.
The Sharks did not have the services of defensive stalwart Brent Burns in the opener, and he isn’t expected to be ready in this one, either. He’s a big loss for the Sharks because he’s a key on defense, and the defense is likely to be tested in this one. His injury is suspicious, too. He faced offseason hernia surgery but was cleared to practice. Now he has an undisclosed lower-body injury that has kept him off the ice, and the team isn’t talking about it. The Sharks have defensive depth, but Burns brings a unique skill set and will be missed. Another defenseman, Jason Demers, is likely to miss this one as well.
Patrick Marleau was the star of the opener for San Jose with two goals. His game has been on decline the last two seasons, so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his fast start into this one. He should have the opportunity to make some plays against an Edmonton defensive unit that isn’t their strength. However, until Marleau can show some consistency, I’ll have a hard time believing in him.
Sharks at Oilers NHL Odds and Betting Trends
The Sharks are slight favorites in this one, with prices ranging from -110 to -120. The bargain price for the Oilers sits at -105, and they can be found as high as -120 as well. The total sits at 5.5.
The Sharks are 4-0 in their last four as favorites, but 0-4 in their last four against teams with winning records. San Jose is 7-2 in their last nine trips to Edmonton.
Sharks at Oilers Picks and Betting Predictions
I like the Oilers. I like them in this spot, and I expect to like them quite a bit early in this season. The young core is very confident because much of it has been playing together all fall in the AHL. The home crowd will be a big boost, and some key injuries and lineup issues with the Sharks are going to be an issue as well. The Oilers as slight underdogs are very attractive. Grab the best price you can find and enjoy.
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