Blackhawks vs. Red Wings NHL Odds & Pick: Grab Detroit as Home Underdogs (Monday, Feb. 15)

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Thomas Greiss.

Blackhawks vs. Red Wings Odds

Blackhawks -135
Red Wings +115
Over/Under 5.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NHL.tv
Odds as of Sunday night and via PointsBet.

A pair of original six teams meet on Monday night at a place the legends of each team never would have imagined — Little Caesars Arena.

Joe Louis Arena was replaced, a couple decades after the Chicago Stadium was deemed antiquated. The Red Wings can only hope to build a home-ice atmosphere like the Blackhawks had been able to create in the 21st century. 

Is it time for the absent faithful of the “Madhouse on Madison” to get excited in their man caves? Like every other arena in North America, the Blackhawks’ cavernous home isn’t rocking this season and fans in Chicago likely have “Chelsea Dagger” at the ready, from the speakers next to the couch.

It actually hasn’t been particularly intimidating for awhile at United Center, with the decided downturn in the Blackhawks’ fortunes over the past few seasons.

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Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have won five of their last seven games, and their best players have been at their best. Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat have been racking up the points, both having scored well over one point per game this season. Kane has 11 points over his last five games, and Debrincat has eight, including an overtime winner to defeat the Blue Jackets.

The Hawks secured the dramatic win after losing in devastating fashion in the first of the two matchups with Columbus and though they could have won both games, the underlying metrics suggest that they probably shouldn’t have won either.

The Blue Jackets were good enough at even-strength to beat the Blackhawks in Expected Goals For (xGF) by more than one goal in each game (2.95-1.77 in the first, 2.33-1.21 in the second). In fact, in four of the five recent wins for Chicago, the Blackhawks have been on the lower end of the Expected Goal Share 5-on-5.

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Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings had a satisfying victory as a +150 underdog in Nashville on Saturday, and they now return home after getting a second road win on their trip south. The Wings had struggled on the road this season, losing their first six games away from home, including a pair in Chicago in the season’s first week and a half. 

In the first of those two matchups, the Wings had the better xG% at 56% but fell to Chicago, with two power-play goals and a short-handed goal were the difference in a 4-1 Blackhawks’ win. That game set Detroit off on an eight-game losing streak that really hurt the betting market’s evaluation of the team.

After playing every bit as well as their opponents on the road trip, I’ve got them rated right at the average in the Central Division at even-strength. 

The Red Wings are tasked with improving their special teams, which are in the bottom-third of both power play and penalty killing efficiency. When they have won games, it has been because they avoid getting outscored in these situations, and they’ve been short-handed just 11 times in their last five games.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Given the Red Wings’ ability to play games close to the vest (they’ve given up more than 1.75 xGF just once since the third game of the season) and that they’ve played with more discipline the last two weeks, I’m willing to bet that they don’t get outscored on special teams in this one. 

I have the Blackhawks as a subpar 5-on-5 team, at a full 12% below average this season. But the market has the opening up as the favourite in this game, presumably due to the recent 5-2 stretch and the two wins over Detroit earlier in the season. Throw all those games in an analytics blender, though, and I think the most likely result of those nine games is something closer to 4-5.

The Red Wings as an underdog have been good to us when we’re able to find a spot where they’re playing an overrated team, and I think that’s what we have here. This line should be close to a pick’em, so I’m happy to grab Detroit at better than even odds.

Pick: Red Wings +115 (+105 or better)

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