NHL Best Bets: Blue Jackets vs. Flames Game Picks


January 23

Two teams headed in opposite directions are set to collide tonight, with the Columbus Blue Jackets visiting the Calgary Flames.

All Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Columbus Blue Jackets (+290) vs. Calgary Flames (-375) Total: 6.5 (O-105, U-115)

Even after making a big splash in free agency, the Columbus Blue Jackets have not seen that translate into more victories, and they’ve still found themselves near the bottom of the NHL. On the other hand, the Flames entered the season with high expectations, and they’ve been unable to fully deliver on those yet. However, they still find themselves hovering around a playoff position in the Western Conference. 

Things are starting to balance out with these teams, which has seen the Blue Jackets post a 3-7 record over their past ten games, while the Flames are sitting at 5-3-2 over that sample size. What’s interesting here is that the Blue Jackets already upset the Flames 3-1 back in December, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily expect a similar result tonight. 

Looking toward the projected goalie matchup tonight, the visiting Blue Jackets should continue riding Elvis Merzlikins, while the Flames are expected to do the same with Jacob Markstrom. The Blue Jackets netminder has posted a 5-13 record, paired with a .868 save percentage, while Markstrom is sitting at 13-12-5, along with a .895 save percentage. Neither goalie has posted strong numbers, but Markstrom should still have the edge in goal tonight. 

There’s no real incentive here to look at the Flames on the moneyline at -375, and it’s hard to see the Blue Jackets stringing together consecutive victories against this Flames team. Calgary needs the points in a tight Western Conference, and there’s some value in backing the home side on the puck line at -152. 

Best Bet: Flames puck line -1.5 (-152) 

In what will be Johnny Gaudreau’s return to Calgary, should we expect goals to be scored at a high rate tonight? If the first matchup was any indication, it appears that goals could be hard to come by. The teams combined for just four goals earlier in the campaign. Both teams sit in the bottom half of the NHL in goals scored per game. The Blue Jackets have seen seven or more goals scored in three of their past five games, while the Flames have seen that transpire in two of their previous five. Neither of these teams boasts a ton of offensive firepower, and that theme should continue to play out here tonight, meaning siding with the under is the direction bettors should lean. 

Best Bet: Under 6.5 (-115) 

Even with the Flames not scoring at a high clip this year in a Darryl Sutter-coached system, that doesn’t mean there aren’t players on this roster who can contribute. There’s certainly been more expected offensively from Nazem Kadri in his first year with the Flames, but you can see that he’s slowly starting to figure things out in his new uniform. Kadri has recorded 18 goals and 18 assists this year, and tonight should feature a matchup for him where he can get on the board once again. The Flames center is listed at +152 to score tonight, and there’s good value in that price point. 

Best Prop: Nazem Kadri to Record Over 0.5 Goals (+152) 

Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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