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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets December 31 Betting Preview
Despite the best intentions, the Columbus Blue Jackets lost their seventh game in a row, losing 2-1 to the New York Islanders on December 29.
The Blue Jackets will attempt to end their seven-game losing streak, turning their focus to the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Blue Jackets hold a two-point lead over the Blackhawks for the worst team in the NHL, Chicago won the first matchup between these two teams 5-2 on December 23.
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Columbus Blue Jackets Preview
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter Saturday’s New Year’s Eve matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks with a 10-22-2 record, losing seven games in a row and eight of the last ten games. In the previous five games, the Blue Jackets have hit the over of 6.5 goals twice, while three games have ended in at least a 1.5-goal spread.
We know the Blue Jackets struggle offensively, averaging 1.8 goals in the last five games. CBJ is ranked 27th overall, averaging 2.6 goals per game. The Blue Jackets are ranked 30th overall, converting on 15.2 percent of their chances.
Defensively, Columbus is among the worst five-on-five in the NHL, ranked 31st and averaging 4.0 goals against per game. However, when the Blue Jackets are short-handed, they have been performing near the league average, currently ranked 17th and operating at 77.6 percent efficiency.
According to ESPN, Patrik Laine and Elvis Merzlikins are listed as out. With Merzlikins (4-8-0, 4.68 GAA) out but still on the active roster, we expect Joonas Korpisalo (4-6-1, 3.31 GAA) to make his second start in a row since returning to the lineup. While Johnny Gaudreau is the offensive center of Columbus’ world and MVP, our low-key CBJ MVP Daniil Tarasov (2-8-1, 3.40 GAA) is the likely backup.
Chicago Blackhawks Preview
The Chicago Blackhawks enter Saturday’s matchup with an 8-22-4 record, ranked last in the Central Division. The Blackhawks have lost four of the last five games, with the one win being the 5-2 win over CBJ on December 23 and nine of their last ten games.
In the last five games, the Blackhawks have hit the over of 6.5 goals once and had one game ended with six total goals, while all five games ended in at least a 1.5-goal spread. Chicago is averaging 1.8 goals per game across the last five games.
Chicago has the worst offense in the NHL, averaging 2.2 goals per game. However, the Blackhawks are fairly good on the powerplay, ranked 17th overall and averaging 21.7 percent of their chances.
The Blackhawks struggle defensively, and are ranked 29th in the NHL, and give up 3.7 goals per game. Chicago’s powerplay is ranked 26th and operating at 72.6 percent efficiency.
The Blackhawks have been swapping goalies each game for the last nine games. If this rotation continues, we expect Petr Mrazek (2-9-1, 4.13 GAA) to get the start over Alex Stalock (4-3-1, 2.69 GAA), who made 27 saves in Chicago’s win over CBJ.
With CBJ being the moneyline favorite, Columbus will be listed at -1.5 goals on the puck line spread and have a 15-19 record against the spread. Chicago is listed at +1.5 on the puck line spread and have a 14-20 against the spread record.
CBJ and Chicago have 18-16 over/under records for your total goals betting needs.
Our pick is simple: we’re taking CBJ on the moneyline to end this seven-game losing streak. Streaks are meant to be broken, and there is no better team to attempt to break a losing streak against than the worst team in the NHL, even if you are the second-worst team in the league.
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