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Betting tips: Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators 1/20

One of Saturday’s afternoon games stars two teams fighting for the same playoff positions. The Predators are a better team with some hidden potential and enter the game as favorites.

Coyotes weak on offense

It’s been a disappointing week for the Arizona Coyotes with two close games and two losses. On Tuesday, the Coyotes had a two-goal lead erased by the Calgary Flames, one of their main rivals this season. Two days later, the Vancouver Canucks scored only twice against the ‘Yotes but that was enough to book a win. Arizona is now 21-19-3 for the season and sitting five points behind Los Angeles for the last Wild Card position in the West.

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Lack of top individuals is the main reason why the Coyotes are struggling to build enough momentum to climb the standings. Sure, Clayton Keller is a top forward, but he’s the only guy even close to PPG pace with 39 points in 43 games. The gap between him and Matias Maccelli, the team’s second-best scorer, is ten points. There are some nice depth pieces like Nick Bjugstad and Logan Cooley, but this is simply a weak team on offense. Adding to those problems is Nick Schmaltz’s injury, which may keep the playmaker out of the lineup for the second straight game.

Preds have hidden potential

The Nashville Predators picked up a huge win in L.A. on Thursday, boosting their away record to 12-8-1. Overall, the Preds are standing at 25-19-1. Currently, that is good enough for the first Wild Card position. This pace would result in a 93-point regular season. That could just be enough to make the playoffs since the other bubble teams in the West do not look very strong this season.

For almost as long as this franchise has existed, its success has been built on elite goaltending. Now, the interesting thing about this season is that Juuse Saros has only been okay and the Preds are still in the playoff hunt. Saros has a modest SV% of .903 with -1.04 GSAA. Five on five, those numbers do jump up to .916 SV% and +1.77 GSAA.

Is it possible that we haven’t seen the best of Preds yet? Imagine if this team had had the Vezina-level goaltending that Saros typically delivers. They would not only be fighting for the playoffs but possibly even challenging for the Central title, as crazy as that may sound. Keep an eye on this team and particularly its top line, where Ryan O’Reilly and Gustav Nyquist are playing as if it’s 2019 all over again.

It’s Preds for the matinee

This is one of those huge matches that carry a special importance to both teams. It’s very likely that Arizona will have to move past Nashville to make it to playoffs. That won’t be easy, given that Nashville holds the edge not just in points but also with their better top line and elite goaltender, who has underperformed so far.

There is enough of a difference between these two that the Preds deserve to be favorites even away from home. Unibet agrees but not quite to the extent of my faith in the Preds. They’re listed as only -113 favorites, while I like anything better than -127. This makes for a solid four-unit tip to enjoy some Saturday afternoon NHL hockey.  

Tip: Nashville Predators Moneyline @ -113
Units: 4/10

The match will start on 1/20/2024 at 3:00 PM EST.
The odds are from the time of publication of the article and are subject to change.

Esa Kostet
X: @konekostet

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Register and Bet $25 on any match (min odds +100). Win or lose, you’ll get $100 in bonus bets!

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