The Columbus Blue Jackets (21-16-8) take on the Vegas Golden Knights (24-17-6) in a cross-conference battle at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 10 p.m. ET. We analyze the Blue Jackets-Golden Knights odds and lines, while providing NHL betting tips around this matchup.
Blue Jackets at Golden Knights: Projected starting goalies
Elvis Merzlikins vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Merzlikins has appeared in 16 games, logging a 2.89 goals against average and .910 save percentage. Of late, he’s been even better (.935 SV% since Dec. 31) in mitigating the loss of G Joonas Korpisalo. Merzlikins does well in defending the net on quality scoring chances from the slot. That area of the ice will be key against a Vegas offense that gets there frequently.
Fleury owns a 2.84 GAA and .908 SV% through 31 games (30 starts). The veteran netminder has struggled at home, especially of late. He has given up four or more goals in four of his last six home starts. Since Dec. 19, he’s registered a shaky .873 SV%.
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Blue Jackets at Golden Knights: Odds, picks and betting tips
Odds courtesy of BetMGM; access them at USA TODAY Sports for a full set of today’s betting odds. Odds last updated at 12 p.m. ET.
Vegas 4, Columbus 2
AVOID. The matchup and projected game flow are clouded with a few too many questions. There’s not enough value in the chalky -222 odds for the Golden Knights to win outright. A $10 bet on Vegas to win in regulation, overtime or a shootout would return a profit of just $4.50.
Puck Line/Against the Spread (ATS)
The one case for a small-to-moderate play is on the puck line. Columbus is 0-4 on the last day of multi-game road trips, and the Blue Jackets will close out a four-game West Coast swing Saturday. Columbus has yielded a lot of shots over recent games. The Jackets lost 3-1 against the San Jose Sharks Thursday. They are 2-7 (minus-5 units) after a two-goal loss in preceding games. They are just 6-12 (minus-7.8 units) against Western Conference opponents.
Vegas is looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss, but it has shown resilience in such games this season. Recent puck-possession figures paint a more promising picture than does a 4-3 record over the team’s last seven games. Back the GOLDEN KNIGHTS(-1.5, +125).
AVOID. The pressure is on the Over 5.5 (-125), but there’s too much gray area with some crossing trends and matchup advantages.
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