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Despite McDavid Injury, Oilers’ Pacific Division Odds Improve from +350 to +325

Connor McDavid at practice.
Connor McDavid is now out for at least a couple of weeks. Their odds to win the Pacific Division are now at +325. Photo by Connor Mah (Flickr).
  • The Edmonton Oilers are expected to be without Connor McDavid for two to three weeks
  • The Oilers’ odds to win the Pacific Division have shortened from +350 to +325
  • Who is the best bet to win the Pacific based on the injury news?

The Edmonton Oilers have been on a bit of a roll of late with nine wins in their last 13 games, but now they’ll have to live without star Connor McDavid for at least the next two weeks.

In a bizarre twist, the Oilers’ Pacific Division odds have actually shortened after the injury news, going from +350 a couple of days ago to +325 thanks to a win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Are they a good bet to win the Pacific?

2020 Pacific Division Odds

Team Pacific Division Odds
Vancouver Canucks +200
Vegas Golden Knights +250
Edmonton Oilers +325
Calgary Flames +425
Arizona Coyotes +700
San Jose Sharks +4000
Anaheim Ducks +10000

Odds as of Feb. 12

McDavid Out For Two-To-Three Weeks

McDavid was injured in Saturday’s game versus Nashville and is now expected to miss two to three weeks with a quad injury. There are rumors that he tore a muscle – possibly the quad – and that it could be more serious than the Oilers are letting on.

At the same time, we were originally told this was just a charley horse, so the reports are all over the spectrum.

What’s clear is that the Oilers will miss him. Edmonton is not a balanced team. McDavid and NHL-scoring leader Leon Draisaitl have 81 and 89 points, respectively; n other player on the roster has more than 41.

The offense has been on fire, though, scoring 4.11 goals per game in January (second-best) and 3.80 in February (third-best), so maybe they are able to stay afloat for a short period of time.

Smith Has Been On A Roll

A big key to the Oilers recent success has been the play of goaltender Mike Smith. The Oilers have been flipping back and forth between Smith and Mikko Koskinen, but Smith has recently taken control of the No. 1 job and performed admirably. The Oilers have won eight of Smith’s last nine starts.

Edmonton is actually giving up 3.11 goals per game this season, which is the 12th-worst mark in the NHL. However, Smith is allowing just 2.56 goals per game over his last nine outings, which is a big improvement for the team. His save percentage is still hovering just above .900, which isn’t great, but he’s giving Edmonton a better chance to win than Koskinen, which is all that matters.

The Oilers have dropped eight of the last 13 games in which Koskinen was between the pipes, and he’s allowed a whopping 3.15 goals per game over that span. That’s why he’s riding the pine, Smith is starting, and the Oilers are competitive these days.

What’s The Best Bet?

The Pacific Division has been a crap-shoot all season long as the Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and Vegas Golden Knights have all played musical chairs in the top few spots. Even now, all five are separated by just three points.

At this point, I would take a shot with Vegas as they’re the most experienced squad. The Canucks are playing with the house money and weren’t a serious threat for the division until a big January run (8-3-0). Calgary has issues in net and Arizona is in the midst of a massive slump.

Edmonton has played well of late, going 9-3-1 in their last 13, but this is a very streaky team. Also, of this group of five, I’m mostly likely to trust Vegas to make a move at the trade deadline. They’re not going to be shy to pull the trigger.

As for the others, I see them all as less likely to get reinforcements. With that in mind, I’ll take a shot with Vegas to win the Pacific at +250.

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