Blues vs. Wild (May 10)

Blues vs. Wild Game 5 Odds

Blues Odds +115
Wild Odds -140
Over / Under 6.5
Time 9:30 pm ET
TV ESPN
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We might not have seen as many close contests as expected so far this series, but the fact we’re now guaranteed to go six or more seems very fitting.

St. Louis pushed back with a 5-2 victory in Game 4, which was actually the smallest margin of victory so far in this battle of Central Division contenders.

So, will we finally see a tightly contested affair as the series shifts to Minnesota for a pivotal Game 5 affair?

St. Louis Blues

It has been somewhat of a Jekyll-and-Hyde series from St. Louis, whose offensive excellence has at times shown through beyond what Minnesota can handle. Yet, the club has also delivered poor defensive play seen throughout stretches of the regular season as well.

The losses Torey Krug, Nick Leddy, Robert Bortuzzo and Marco Scandella certainly haven’t helped things. And at best, St. Louis will remain without the most important piece of that bunch in Krug for this meeting.

St. Louis has controlled play to just a 44.11 xGF%, allowing a high-rate of 3.64 goals against per game in the series. It hasn’t been overly surprising to see the Blues control a little less of the run of play, especially short key defenders.

Offensively, the Blues have looked steady and saw Jordan Kyrou come alive with two big goals in Game 4. We witnessed St. Louis manage +54.48 goals above its expected mark in the regular season and it’s clear as to why looking at the talent on board.

St. Louis is always going to be led by its offensive strengths with the current roster makeup, and I believe will likely need to score more three or more to have a chance in Game 5.

In an interesting swing of events, Jordan Binnington drew the start in Game 4 for St. Louis after losing the starter’s role down the stretch to Ville Husso. Binnington managed to stop 28 of 30 shots faced with a +1.0 GSAx rating in Game 4, making it likely that earns him the Game 5 start.

We saw Binnington dominate on route to the 2019 Stanley Cup, but it has been a lot of downhill play since that time. And this season, Binnington played to a -8.2 GSAx rating with a .901 save% in 37 games.

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota leads on high-danger chances, 47-36, in the series, and has controlled more of the play altogether with a 55.89 xGF%. That’s far from shocking with what we saw from the team down the stretch, but it’s also far from surprising to see St. Louis has still found a way to tie the series.

Minnesota played to a +51.17 GSAx rating in the regular season and was among the slot-passes completed leaders, just like its series opponent.

Kirill Kaprizov has paid off his excellent regular season with a fantastic start, recording five goals and six points so far. That elite top-line production has been crucial since the second line of Matt Boldy, Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau has been far less dominant than we saw down the stretch.

An area where the Blues do have a clear advantage, which is likely helping to mask the disparity in depth up-front, is on the blue line. Both top-four units, featuring Jake Middleton and Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba have played quite well. They have helped slow down the Blues, which I really believe in from generating as much as we saw down the stretch.

Marc-Andre Fleury will likely get the start in goal and has managed a .914 save% and +0.1 goals saved above expected rating through four games. He’s facing some tough competition, but we have seen Fleury at times lose his goal and has offered relatively middling play altogether.

Blues vs. Wild Pick

As we have seen with several of these matchups, this series has offered wildly different results game to game. A lot of us anticipated something like 2-2 after four games and that the series could potentially go the distancebut likely no one expected zero close contests up to this point.

If there’s an angle between these teams that has been most consistent, and to an extent in this series, it’s the potency of each team on offense.

Each side finished in the top 5 with regard to offensive production and I think this is the game we see both shine there. These teams were first and second in goals scored above expected rating in the regular season. And even in a tightly contested playoff affair, they have the firepower to generate a lot of goals.

To see St. Louis find some crucial power-play goals or generating an output in some fashion off Fleury seems logical to me, but it’s also hard to imagine Binnington and the Blues stymying this potent group in Minnesota again.

I see value backing the total clearing 6.5 goals at -105 and would play it down to -115 odds as my top pick.

Pick: Total Over 6.5 Goals (-105 | Play to -115)

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