For today’s daily NHL picks, we’re going to look at a team that has had a bit of a roller-coaster season so far, with wild betting lines to prove it.
Heading into the season, a lot of people were really down on the Winnipeg Jets. And rightly so. Not only did they trade away arguably their best defenceman in Jacob Trouba, they also saw Dustin Byfuglien take a leave of absence from the team from which he is yet to return. That all contributed to serious doubts about how the team would manage in its own zone.
Those doubts proved well-founded as the team struggled, possession-wise. What a lot of people didn’t see coming was a major resurgence from goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. With a save percentage in the high .920s, he was able to help the Jets get off to a strong start and steal some games as a pretty big underdog. Markets adjusted just as Hellebuyck came back down to earth, which burned some bettors and pushed the Jets back to big underdog status.
The overheated Blue Jackets
Which brings us to tonight’s game in Columbus. Similarly, the hype around the Blue Jackets is due in large part to goaltending. Elvis Merzlikins and his .928 save percentage have come out of nowhere and helped push the Jackets back into the playoff picture.
The result of these turns of fortune for the Jets and Jackets? An insane +181 price on the Jets, who for all their faults, have a lot of premium scorers. Yes, it’s a concern that Laurent Brossoit is starting, but you’d have to expect a correction to his .885 save percentage. Meanwhile, Columbus is a crappy possession team – they’re near the bottom in all-situations Corsi – that’s had a nice little run but that ultimately won’t be a playoff team. Take Winnipeg at that price.