Last spring the Nashville Predators were the favorite to repeat as Western Conference champions and understandably so. The Predators were actually a better team last year than the Western Conference championship team of 2017. But the Preds were eliminated on home ice in a seven-game series by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round last May because goaltender Pekka Rinne was out of sorts. Rinne is getting back into form as are the Preds, who lead the Central Division. Tuesday night the Predators will host another team with contrasting expectations. The Vegas Golden Knights have slipped noticeably compared to last year’s story book run.
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
NHL Odds at Bookmaker.eu: Check Back Later
Golden Knights vs. Predators TV Coverage: NBCSN
The Predators will be a solid betting favorite for this one. Hockey is less of a “public” betting sport compared to the NFL and NBA and has more knowledgeable handicappers as a result. Everyone can see the Golden Knights are struggling while Nashville is surging. It will take a lot of enhanced betting value to convince NHL gamblers to take a flier on the Golden Knights.
Not So Golden Knights Limp into Music City
Vegas is 4-5-0-1 so far on the season and ahead of only the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Seven of their ten games have gone under the total. The Golden Knights are 2-3 on the road and have gone under the total in three of their five away matchups.
Vegas lacks the luxury of last season when they were a lightly regarded first year expansion team that snuck up on the NHL and ended up as Western Conference champions. Not only does there seem to be a hangover affect from last season but opponents are now taking the Golden Knights much more seriously as the defending conference titlist.
Preds Prepare for Cup Run
Last year the Stanley Cup was the only goal for Nashville and that has not changed for this new season. In fact, the Preds are even more committed after last year’s playoff flop. Nashville leads the Central Division with a record of 8-3 with just four of their games going under the total. The Preds have gone 3-3 on home ice with just two of their home games going under the total. Center Filip Forsberg is raging with 10 goals, four assists and a plus ten.
Nashville is showing good balance with NHL ranks of ninth for goal scoring and sixth for goals against. Special teams are a concern for the Predators as they rank 25th for the power play and 23rd for penalty killing.
Vegas has downright ugly offensive numbers as they rank 30th in the NHL for both goal scoring and the power play. Defensively the Golden Knights rank a respectable eighth for goals against.
Vegas certainly misses top defenseman Nate Schmidt who is serving a suspension until November 18. Schmidt’s value is now coming to the fore as he was a complete 200-foot player that also contributed on offense.
Between the Pipes
Pekka Rinne took responsibility for the Predators painful defeat to the Jets last spring. Rinne has shown good form with a .929 save percentage and 2.10 goals against average. However, he is questionable with an undisclosed issue. Backup Juuse Saros has a .912 save percentage with a 2.73 goals against average on the season.
For Vegas Marc Andre Fleury has not been nearly as dominant compared to last year. Fleury has a .900 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. While Schmidt’s absence hurts the fact is Fleury has been sluggish.
Free NHL Live Betting Odds Pick
Vegas is not in good enough form to rate the call. Nashville is also the better team.
NHL Live Betting Odds Picks: Nashville Predators
NHL Score Prediction: Predators 4, Golden Knights 1
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