In Game 2 played on Friday night, we expected Edmonton would bounce back and even the series at 1-1. Instead, the Oilers offensive slump continued and the feisty Jets won a thriller in overtime, 1-0. For the second straight game as heavy road underdogs, Winnipeg rewarded their backers handsomely, paying off winning tickets priced at +165.
Apparently, oddmakers and the betting public still don't believe in Winnipeg. The consensus view is the Oilers will bounce back this time (no really – this time they're due) and make this playoff matchup into a competitive series again. Right now, Winnipeg is solidly in command with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven-games series. The Jets are also back on their home ice. The clock on Edmonton's 2021 season is ticking fast.
Tonight, Edmonton is -135 which comes back on the other side at Winnipeg +115. Here are the current numbers at SPREADS.CA:
One factor that bears noting is the Edmonton Oilers' impressive road record. In fact, the Oilers are 19-7-2 on hostile ice and have returned +6.3 units overall this season, one of the best ROIs in the NHL in that category. The road team has also won 5 in a row between these two teams. So Winnipeg playing back on home ice might not be an advantage.
However, at least two other factors should be of concern to those considering a wager on the Oilers. Edmonton's dynamic duo of superstars, Conor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, have been neutralized for the most part in this series. The #1- and #2-ranked points accummulators in the league this season were pretty much silent in Games 1 and 2. That better change tonight, or the Jets will likely win again.
Winnipeg owes much of its success thus far to Connor Hellebuyck blocking the net who – if he continues performing at this level – is more than capable of carrying his Cinderella Jets into the Stanley Cup finals. The Oilers must do something to crack the Jets' defense and interrupt Hellebuyck's terrific play.
Prediction: Edmonton looked sluggish in both previous games. They were clearly frustrated with the lack of scoring opportunities and lackluster 1-goal output in 125 minutes of hockey (two full games plus OT). Installing them as favourites tonight in Game 3 seems overly optimistic given they've shown no apparent superiority in any phase of the game to the Jets in this series. Add the terrific play of Winnipeg's defense and goaltending which have shut down the Oilers two main scoring weapons, and the Jets appear to be good value here as underdogs. Forecast....Winnipeg 3, Edmonton 2
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