Arizona Coyotes at St. Louis Blues Betting Preview
Two teams at opposites ends of the West Division standings will square off Thursday night as the St. Louis Blues (7-2-1) host the Arizona Coyotes (3-5-1).
This will be the second meeting of the season between the two clubs. St. Louis won the first game 4-3 on Tuesday.
The Blues are heavy favorites at -171, while the Coyotes check in at +142. Puck drop is at 8 pm ET.
Arizona Coyotes Preview
Arizona is a team that has struggled to put together quality performances in all phases this season. The Coyotes slightly outshoot their opponents on a nightly basis (28.9 shots for to 28.1 shots against).
However, the shot count hasn’t always translated into goals, as the Coyotes score 2.56 goals per game, the eighth-lowest total in the league.
Where they are finding some success is in their goaltending, in particular Darcy Kuemper, who is the expected starter on Thursday. Kuemper has a 2-5-1 record this season with a 2.65 GAA and a .904 save percentage. While those numbers may not look impressive, only 10 other goalies have seen more shots against than Kuemper this season.
Kuemper has also seen the fourth-most power-play shots, yet still has allowed only four power-play goals this season. He’s playing very well in net, but the team as a whole needs to provide more support. In Kuemper’s eight starts, the Coyotes have scored more than three goals just once this year.
One way they can provide Kuemper that goal support Thursday is to strike on the power play. St. Louis’ penalty kill is at 69.8% this year, the fourth-lowest total in the league.
Arizona’s power play ranks in the middle of the pack at 20.6%. This is a golden opportunity for Christian Dvorak, Phil Kessel, and Nick Schmaltz, who are the top three goal scorers on the team, to put the puck in the net.
St. Louis Blues Preview
St. Louis has picked up the points early on this season, but how much of that is due to its easier schedule out of the gate? Five of the Blues’ seven wins have come against teams with losing records.
When they beat the Golden Knights, all of Vegas’ coaching staff was unavailable under COVID-19 protocol, forcing the general manager and AHL staffs to patchwork a gameplan. The Blues have also split the season series with Colorado.
One other odd facet to St. Louis’ success is that it doesn’t put many pucks on net, but it has been remarkably efficient when it does. The Blues average the sixth-fewest shots per game (27.7); however, they average the sixth-most goals per game leaguewide (3.50 per game). That level of discrepancy between shots and goals isn’t sustainable over the long term.
Jordan Binnington is the expected starter in net for the Blues Thursday. Binnington has a 6-1-1 record this year with a 2.55 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
On To the Pick
On Thursday night, I think Arizona strikes while the iron is hot. With Kuemper in net, the Blues will struggle to score.
Arizona adds a score or two on the power play and wins a low-scoring affair. I’m taking Arizona on the upset, especially at +142.
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