The Chicago Blackhawks' superior postseason experience has served them well en route to a 2-1 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers, who are in a must-win situation in Friday's Game 4.
This playoff qualifier has surpassed the hype, as the 12th-seeded Blackhawks are going full NCAA-tournament-style in pulling off multiple upset victories so far over No. 5 Edmonton. Will the Oilers recover from a 4-3 gut-punch loss in Game 3, or will they be sent packing early?
Read on for abe Insights' betting preview, featuring analysis of probable wagers trends, advanced stats and the best odds around for this exciting face-off.
Date: Friday, August 7
Time: 6:45 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Oilers 55%; Blackhawks 47%
Spread: EDM -1.5 (+200); CHI +1.5 (-220)
Moneyline: EDM -120 CHI +115
Although Corey Crawford has been absolutely brilliant in the playoffs for the Blackhawks before, he needs a little more help from Chicago's defenders against Edmonton's high-octane offense. Crawford is likely to start in Game 4 despite sporting a shaky 4.33 GAA.
Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen fell victim to two late goals off of deflections in Game 3, but he was otherwise pretty solid between the pipes. It stands to reason he'll continue to guard the crease, since Mike Smith got rocked in his only appearance as the series-opening starter.
.902 vs. .852: Koskinen ranked sixth in the NHL this season in save percentage on power plays (Smith was actually a bit better at .915). Crawford's total in the category is the second number here, as he ranked only 31st. Edmonton is 5-for-12 converting man advantages in the past three outings.
.511 vs. .357: These stats reflect the games in which each club registered a point after one day of rest in 2019-20. The Oilers have the clear leg up here, as the Blackhawks posted a woeful 10-20-5 record in such instances.
29.5 vs. 15.2: Taking the season as a whole, there's no question Edmonton is far superior on the power play, with the first number here being its NHL-leading success percentage. Those latter digits are Chicago's paltry power play rate, which ranked ahead of only three teams.
The stars have come out to play in this series. Game 2 hat-trick scorer Connor McDavid has five goals, adding another one in Game 3 on the power play. League MVP candidate Leon Draisaitl has three goals and assists apiece, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has dished out six assists to go with one goal.
But longtime Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews showed why he wears that "C", which frankly, could've just stood for "clutch" on Wednesday. Toews tallied a Game 3 goal with seconds remaining in the opening period, and created traffic in front for the winner with just over a minute left in regulation.
Toews has helped lead Chicago to three Stanley Cup victories during his storied career. He and holdover teammates from those clubs like Patrick Kane know what it takes to get it done in the postseason. Despite a seemingly lost 2019-20 campaign, the Blackhawks seem eager to make some noise — and potentially, a deep playoff run.
Given how much of an edge being there before seems to have given Chicago through the first three contests, it seems like the deck is all the more stacked against Edmonton.
This may be a hard lesson the Oilers need to learn before taking a big step forward. On the other hand, if they can recover from blowing a 3-2 lead with under six minutes to play in Game 3, that'd be quite the catalyst to spark their own Stanley Cup hopes.
The goal total has hit the Over in each of the opening three games, so there's no reason to doubt that. Edmonton is going to be as aggressive as ever in attacking the Blackhawks as they seek to force a Game 5 decider, so look for Over wagers to be super popular.
Regarding the puck line and moneyline, oddsmakers seem to think the Oilers can recover. After all, they were a bad six-minute stretch away from winning the last one anyway, so Edmonton's -1.5 spread is the way to go, and you might as well double down on the Oilers moneyline since the payout is comparable to that of Chicago's.
Note: Odds current as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday, August 7.
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