NHL Predictions: Blackhawks at Blues Odds and Picks
by George Monroy - 10/9/2013
The offseason conference realignment may have sent the Chicago Blackhawks’ biggest division rival to the East. However, that does not mean that the team will lack challengers for supremacy over the Central division this season. The Blackhawks, who are expected to be the premier team in the West, will face a stiff test on Wednesday night when they go on the road to play a 2-0 St. Louis Blues team that, at the very least, is expected to be a playoff contender and possible rival to the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Blues are starting the season with a small gift from the NHL schedulemakers, and have five-straight home games to open up the year before they finally go on the road during the middle of October to face the Blackhawks in Chicago. St. Louis will be starting the season with the same core players from last year and are hoping to make the leap from playoff fodder to legitimate contender. The team is still feeling the effects of two first-round playoff losses at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings, which is nothing to be ashamed of since Los Angeles won a title and made the conference finals during that span. However, the Blues believe that they have a group of players that are talented enough to compete for a Stanley Cup title.
The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are in the same position they have been in over the last four or five seasons—a very talented team that is on the short list of legitimate title contenders. Chicago is again expected to be a dominant team in the West and is the favorite to win another championship. The team will have its work cut out for it as there has not been a repeat title winner in more than 14 years.
Blackhawks at Blues Betting Story Lines
The Blackhawks started the season with a 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals and a 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Opening the year with three points is a solid start, but the team will probably face the burden of its own success from last season when they produced the greatest start in NHL history. It would be unfair to hold Chicago, or any other team, to that standard, but there will be experts and fans that claim the sky is falling if the team does not match or come close to that remarkable 24-game run from last season.
The only area that Chicago seemed to struggle at last season was during power plays, where they ranked 19th in the league and averaged only 1.26 shots per play. Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville has already stated on several occasions that he likes the improvement on power plays over the first two games. That small sample size is nothing to get overly excited about. However, the team has shown a commitment to improving in that area. Chicago simply wants to shoot more when they are in those positions and not necessarily wait for the best shot.
The Blues have started the year on a dominant two-game pace. The team beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 during its opening game and then went on to destroy the Florida Panthers, 7-0. St. Louis has not played since Saturday and will be on three days of rest when they face Chicago on Wednesday. The team, which is expected to have one of the strongest defensive blue lines in the NHL, should be rested and ready to take on the offensive onslaught that will come from a very potent Blackhawks squad. Speaking of offensive, the Blues have been on a tear to start the year and have seen production from all areas of its roster. The team has scored 11 goals using 10 different players this season. St. Louis may be a defense-first squad, but its offensive production has not suffered because of it.
Blackhawks at Blues NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
St. Louis opened as a -125 favorite over Chicago for Wednesday’s matchup, according to BookMaker. The Blackhawks are a slight underdog and are receiving a +105 vig. The total on the matchup is 5.5, with the “over” being a slight underdog at +110 vig. The Blues and Blackhawks totals have gone over in three of the four games both teams have played. The Blackhawks have a 32-17-4 record against the Blues since 2005 and have not had a losing season against the team since 2000. The “under” has hit four times in the last five meetings between the teams, and the home team has a 14-5 record over the last 19 games. However, Chicago has won five of the last seven.
NHL Predictions: Blackhawks at Blues Betting Picks
The St. Louis Blues are well-rested and receiving a solid price at -125. The team is comfortable and in the middle of a five-game homestand to open the season and should come into Wednesday’s game with loads of energy, if nothing else. The trouble for the Blues in this matchup is that the Blackhawks’ are coming off of a loss, and after starting last season on such a remarkable run, going .500 during the first two games has to feel like a disappointment. Chicago might not have another record-breaking start to the year, but winning two out of three is well within reach for the team. There is simply too much value on the Blackhawks as a +105 underdog this early in the season. The total feels like a toss-up in this matchup since both squads are very good defensively but can also score goals in a hurry. The over is probably the best wager, especially with the added +110 payout.
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