NHL Saturday best bets: Expect fireworks between Blue Jackets, Blues
We have a busy nine-game slate on the docket tonight.
There are plenty of injuries to monitor and backups in action, but there's value to be had. Let's get into it with our best bets.
You normally target two things when playing overs: High pace and poor goaltending. This contest will likely feature both.
The Blue Jackets are one of the most high-event teams in the NHL. At five-on-five, they rank eighth in expected goals for per 60 and 29th in expected goals against per 60 over the last 10 games. Columbus knows how to generate and allow quality chances in bulk.
What about the Blues, you might ask? Well, they're in a similar boat as the Blue Jackets. St. Louis' revamped offense has been very potent and, surprisingly, ranks 23rd in xGA per 60 over the last 10 contests. The Blues also have it in them to play high-scoring affairs.
So we're set with pace, and we're set with quality offenses facing exploitable defenses. Now to the crease.
Joonas Korpisalo posted a woeful .894 save percentage a year ago, and that's exactly where he sits thus far. Korpisalo has conceded more goals than expected based on the workload. While Ville Husso has been solid in the early going, three games is three games. Husso was one of the league's worst backups last season, so we can't act as if he's immortal.
Simply put, there should be plenty of dangerous opportunities for both teams in this game, and I don't have faith in either netminder to mask mistakes made in front of them.
Bet: Over 6 (+100)
There's a lot to like about the Red Wings tonight. Detroit has quietly been playing its best hockey lately, controlling more than 53% of the expected goals (7th) at five-on-five over the last 10 games. That rate stems from the squad's ability to consistently generate quality chances - no team has produced more high-danger chances in that time.
Things are not going as well for the Sabres. Buffalo owns a 45.45 xGF% over the last 10 matchups, and their share of the high-danger chances slots them 28th. The Red Wings look to have a big edge at full strength.
Detroit is also rested and at home while the Sabres are in the latter half of a back-to-back.
This is a tough spot where Buffalo will likely have to rely heavily on goaltending - something the team's unlikely to get. The club's options: Start Dustin Tokarski, who has allowed 2.2 more goals than expected this campaign, in a back-to-back ... or go to Aaron Dell. The latter has conceded six more goals than expected through just five starts and is arguably the NHL's worst goaltender right now.
Regardless of which option the Sabres go with, the Red Wings figure to have a big advantage with Alex Nedeljkovic and his .917 save percentage.
Bet: Red Wings in regulation (-125)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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