NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 8/5/20

Connor McDavid has the Oilers offence firing on all cylinders early this postseason. What type of game should we expect when puck drops on Game 3?

We have six more games on tap today, as the NHL's Play-In round continues with games sprinkled throughout the day. In today's betting guide, we take a look at a couple of plays from this evening's contests.

This is what we're looking at!

Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers

Under 6.5 (-110): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

One would have to surmise that the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks goal scoring would have to regress at some point. And there are two indicators which suggest that might be true.

First, both teams are substantially below their season-long averages in save percentage. Edmonton had a respectable 90.6% save percentage, while Chicago goalies posted a 91.3% mark throughout the regular season. Through two games this postseason, those percentages are 86.8% and 84.8%, respectively. Easily the worst among all teams who have played more than one game. Expect Mikko Koskinen and Corey Crawford to progress towards season and career marks in the coming games.

What goes hand in hand with save percentage in a series, is shooting percentage. Across all-strengths, the Oilers have the best shooting percentage among bubble teams at 15.6%. Chicago isn't far behind scoring on 13.2% of shots. Both teams have easily surpassed their respective season-long averages of 10.6% and 9.3%. When save percentages go up, shooting percentages come down, ultimately leading to more low scoring games.

The other indicator worth considering is the Oilers' ability to stay under as the away team this season. Granted, these aren't normal circumstances and technically the Oilers are at home but Edmonton played a particularly defensive brand of hockey on the road this season. As the visiting team, Edmonton gave up fewer shots against, scoring chances against and high danger chances against per game, compared to their home numbers. The end result, only 14 of 37 road games went over the total this season.

Save percentages should start creeping up, which will result in decreased shooting percentages. The Oilers also have some pronounced low scoring trends as the away team. These low scoring trends align with our projections, which suggest that Wednesday's contest should be a low scoring affair. Under 6.5 is a 2-star play.

Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Canadiens moneyline (+150): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

People were right to be afraid of facing Carey Price in the playoffs. Throughout his career Price has excelled in crunch time, showing across World Junior Championships, Olympics, Calder Cup Playoffs, and now the NHL Playoffs, that he can single-handedly win playoff series. Thanks in large part to his stellar play, the 24th seeded Montreal Canadiens are all-square through two games with the 5th seeded Pittsburgh Penguins.

Price has stopped 93.7% of shots faced from a potent Pens lineup that features four 20 goal scorers, which doesn't include Sidney Crosby or Patric Hornqvist -- both of whom missed time due to injuries.

Montreal's metrics were substantially improved on home ice compared to their road numbers. At home, the Habs limited opponents to 10.1 high-danger chances and 24.3 scoring chances on 30.0 shots per game. As the road team, those numbers inflated to 11.8, 26.9, and 32.3, respectively. Montreal will look to use last change to their advantage tonight and limit the Penguins' chances.

Consider also that Pittsburgh has had difficulties as the road team this season. In their friendly confines, the Pens finished 15 games above .500 averaging 3.5 goals per game with a +29 goal differential. In stark contrast, Pittsburgh was only 2 games above .500 averaging 2.9 goals per game with a -4 goal differential on the road. The dichotomy is clear, Pittsburgh was much better on home ice than on the road.

Only time will tell how teams adjust to life inside the bubble, but Montreal and Pittsburgh both have clear home/road splits, which clearly favor the Habs tonight. Our algorithm gives the Canadiens a 47.5% chance of winning tonight. This is in excess of what the betting market implies as the Habs are currently listed as +150 underdogs. On that basis, the Habs' moneyline is a 2-star play.