NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues

NHL Hockey Betting:  Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The 2017 NHL Winter Classic is being played on what is essentially the ‘Saskatchewan of the United States’–the American midwest. The Chicago Blackhawks make the short trip across the state of Illinois to take on the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium–a venue more typically associated with the Major League Baseball St. Louis Cardinals. The Blackhawks are leading the Central Division heading into this contest with 51 points giving them a one point lead over the Minnesota Wild and an 8 point lead over the third place Blues. The Blackhawks lost 3-2 at Carolina last time out and have lost 4 of 5 but are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They’ll be waiting to see how the Minnesota Wild respond to the end of their 12 game winning streak–they’re just one point behind now but teams have a tendency to struggle for awhile after a long streak like this ends.

The Blues have been playing well at home this year (14-3-4) but have struggled on the road (5-10-1) and are just 4-5-1 in their last ten games. They’re 4 points up on fourth place Dallas, 5 points up on fifth place Nashville and six up on sixth place Winnipeg. The Blues have been very mediocre 5 on 5 this year with the #12 goals per game ranking (2.8 goal per game) and #22 in goals against per game (2.9 goals against). They’ve been very solid on special teams, however, with the #8 power play (21.6%) and the #4 penalty kill (86%). The Blackhawks are just #14 in goals scored per game (2.7) but are #7 in goals against per game (2.4). Their special teams leave much to be desired–they’re #15 on the power play (19.0%) and #28 on the penalty kill (75%).

Historically, these outdoor games have been ‘advantage road team’. Not really sure why this is the case–it could be that oddsmakers overvalue the ‘fan support’ while not giving adequate credit to the fact that the ice surface is unfamiliar to both teams. The Blues looked miserable against Nashville last time out and have lost the last two to the Blackhawks this season. We’ll go with the superior defense and the overall better form of the Blackhawks though the Blues’ special teams could be a factor.


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